I got mail today asking about the Night Lords story in Fear the Alien, regarding why “it’s so weird”. That’s a quote, like. Hence the quotation marks.
Allow me to explain.
The story, called ‘The Core’, was sort of part-experiment, part-risk, part-gimmick. It was a gimmick in the sense that it links to another story in the anthology, and it was a gimmick in the sense that it’s set after Blood Reaver, meaning it has spoilers for what happens in the next Night Lords novel. Apparently, and I’m quoting, “This is a bit too weird.”
I’m not going to argue that point. It is pretty weird. I also wanted to try to write a short story tied into another story’s plot (which was a struggle, actually) and I wanted to do a story that – for once – wasn’t clever or twisty, and was just a solid A to B situation, showing familiar characters and basically helping people get to know them a little better. But what matters here are the spoilers, so let’s deal with those.
Blood Reaver will have some pretty massive and story-changing revelations. Soul Hunter set First Claw and co. up, and in true, classic second-act style, everything is going to go to Hell in Blood Reaver. The opening trilogy is essentially about the Night Lords doing all they can to get back to the Eye of Terror, and survive well enough to make existence, and vengeance, worthwhile. Soul Hunter showed that they were in pretty dire straits where that was concerned. In Blood Reaver, everything gets worse. They have to fight harder, take a long look at just how corrupt they may or may not be, consider the Legion’s future, and weigh up the merits of betraying before they are betrayed.
Add to that, the fact that it’s based around the Fall of Vilamus – when the Red Corsairs and Night Lords lay siege to the fortress-monastery of the Marines Errant – and you can probably guess that things are going to get a bit nasty.
Now, seeing as I knew all of this beforehand, I was careful with the stuff I showed in ‘The Core’. The “spoilers” that were “too weird” in the Fear the Alien story are all basically things I would (and will) say when it comes time to discuss the novel, anyway. Reading ‘The Core’ will show some pretty significant changes have occurred, but none of the major revelations from Blood Reaver are spoiled. I’m not that mental.
Incidentally, ‘The Core’ won’t be in any future Night Lord anthology. It was a very fun gimmick, but I’d rather the anthology stories answered the really tricky questions, like the kind of training Talos went through (as in ‘Shadow Knight’); what happened to Secondus; or how Talos stole the Blade of Angels. In short, the really inspired stuff. For the rumoured Favourite Recipes of the Space Marines, I’m thinking of doing something that I get a lot of mail about – like the aforementioned Blade of Angels scenario.
I have the Blood Reaver cover, by the way. It’s even better than Soul Hunter.