IVAN MARTYNOW: I’ve almost finished reading “Fulgrim” and I’ve got a question: the corruption of Emperor’s Children’s primarch was caused primarily by his own weaknesses, or is it that in the universe of Warhammer 40k, Chaos is so strong that it’s able to taint even such perfect creatures as the Phoenix? Would Vespasian or Solomon Demeter be also corrupted if they walked into the temple on Laer?
Graham: Like most of the Primarchs who fell, they were undone by a fatal flaw in themselves that they were blind to, the very definition of tragedy. Fulgrim’s flaw (demanding perfection, when such a state of being is impossible…) made him highly susceptible to the touch of Chaos. Chaos is an equal opportunity corruptor, if you’ve a weakness, it’ll find it. What happens then is up to you. Let it in and it’s got you forever, resist it and it’ll just find another way to come at you. You’re never immune to Chaos (except in very specific circumstances), and the battle for your soul is an ongoing one. Would Solomon or Vespasian have been corrupted? Who knows? I like to think that the real sadness in their cases is that they probably could have resisted the touch of Chaos. When Vespasian saw the corrupt picture of Fulgrim he was revolted, and when Solomon saw what he’d done to his fellows, he was utterly broken inside.
AARON SPULER: When and where can I purchase Dweller? It’s not even listed on Amazon yet.
Graham: My best guess is January 2014. That’s what it says on the FFG website, but I’ll believe it when I hold a copy in my hand.
REDS8N: Is there any chance of seeing you write anything else in the old world/WFB setting anytime soon? I appreciate that the 40k books and especially the HH ones sell more and therefore must be a priority but it does seem that the fantasy side of things has been getting short shrift for a while now. I appreciate there may be other issues — a new edition, new army books etc. that we don’t know about but I think there’s a lot of interest in something like a short series akin to your Ambassador series.
Graham: I have a plan to venture back to the Old World in the spring of next year to write a novella, but beyond a vague plan to return to the Legend of Sigmar at some point, you’re right, it’s 30k and 40k that are getting the lion’s share of my attention. And I had such grand plans to do more Wood Elves, some Dark Elves and The Great Empire Novel. We’ll see…
FORKMASTER: 1) The Iron Warrior command structure…how are their Legion built up as? Is it that a battalion equals roughly like a large Chapter (when comparing in post-Heresy terms) and is made up out of Grand-Companies? Or is it the other way around? And is then a Warsmith the leader of a battalion and captains commands the companies? But how come Berossus changes from being a captain in “The Crimson Fist” to a Warsmith in “Angel Exterminatus”? 2) Will we see more of Magnus post ransacking of Prospero btw and in what way? Same question applies for Fulgrim post ascension.
Graham: The way I’ve always imagined it is that a legion’s companies are (very) roughly equivalent to a 40k Chapter. That’s not absolute and lots of the Legions have much larger/smaller companies as operational need dictates. A Grand Company is an Iron Warrior term for a Company, and the Warsmith is the equivalent of a Captain in 40k – though in practice he’d command a great many more warriors. Back in the Rogue Trader days, such a rank was often called a Lieutenant Commander, and that’s more like the kind of level of seniority a Warsmith would have. As to Berossus changing rank…well, I’d need to go back and read The Crimson Fist, but I’m guessing that might be one of them mistooks… 2) You will indeed. One of my next projects is likely to be The Crimson King, so make of that title what you will. Fulgrim makes an appearance in Vengeful Spirit, but it’s a passing thing rather than a full-blown appearance.
CHRIS: In your long and storied career, are there any pieces of writing that you regret, or would’ve written differently in hindsight? Or anything you felt you could have done better?
Graham: Regret? No, I’m proud and pleased with everything I’ve had published. I’d never submit anything to the editors I wasn’t happy to see in print. Done differently or better? Sure. I look back on virtually everything I’ve written and think I could improve it, rework it to make it just that little bit better. But then that’s part of being a writer, you always think the things you did earlier could have been better. You need to always be looking at ways to be better, of improving, but knowing that what you’ve done was written in its time and by the writer you were then is a way of seeing where you’ve come from. To paraphrase David Gemmell when he was asked (many years after Legend’s publication) if would ever consider going back to rewrite his first novel in light of his subsequent growth as a writer: “Yes, I could make it a technically better book, but I don’t think I could improve the heart of it.”
MARC WACHTFELS: After reading Angel Exterminatus a year ago during my military service I’ve really started to look at the Iron Warriors from an other perspective. I was wondering if you’re going to explore the background, Olympia and the culture of it at some point in the future? It would be awesome to read something with some Olympian Despots in it.
Graham: Funnily enough, that’s an idea I’ve been mulling over for the past few months. It’s a subject I didn’t feel was appropriate for Angel Exterminatus, as I wanted that novel to always be going forward, but is an integral part of their history. I don’t think it warrants a full novel, but, yeah, doing a novella around the razing of Olympia…that’d be great.
MORTEMER: Iron Warriors home world Olympia and the names of the people there have an Ancient Greek feel (like ancient Sparta, Thebes etc), from what we’ve seen so far, mainly from you. How come the iron Warriors do not have similar names? After their initiation/induction to the legion they get “new” names instead, that sound more warlike?
Graham: Yeah, I think a lot of Legions, as part of the severing of ties with their old lives, rename their recruits. A lot of the names for the Iron Warriors came from Storm of Iron, back when I wasn’t giving much thought of extending the existences of characters much beyond that initial novel. Looking back, maybe I’d maybe have put a bit more thought into their naming conventions, but I like the names I came up with, and with a whole planet to chose its recruits from, there’s likely to be all kinds of different kinds of names, not just one ‘style’ of names.
CHARLES BROWN: Have you thought of ever writing novels on the Eldar? Also can we expect more Sigmar novels?
Graham: I enjoy using the Eldar as antagonists, but Gav’s done such a bang-up job with his ‘Path of the…’ books, that I’m kind of disinclined to go down that road. And if the opportunity presents itself to do more Sigmar books, I’ve got the next trilogy already roughed out.
MATT SMITH: There’s a bit of love going on for the Dragon of Mars, but what actually happened to the Book of Mars? Will you be making a return to the Thousand Sons, as there are still a few of them scattered about? Magnus still seems a pretty understanding chap and quite accepting considering… so something must finally twist his arm to throw in his lot with Horus, vindication, absolution, redemption, he just seems above petty squabbling so would be a shame to see his character lowered in such a way.
Graham: Yeah, there is (see some of the previous questions…) but as to the Book of Mars, yeah, that’s a dangling plot thread I’m sure we’ll see more of. And, yeah, I’m writing a book next year called The Crimson King, so all the things you’re asking about Magnus…? Tune in next year…
THE ANGRY TEMPLAR: How much do we have to pay you to write another Codex: Black Templars?
Graham: It’s not me you need to pay. Are the new rules for Templars not to your liking? I haven’t had a chance to look at the new Space Marine codex.
DAVID SOPONSKI: As a W40k fan I love the idea of deep space exploration into the unknown, to whit, Rogue Traders. I love the idea of ‘Exploration Books’ within the universe, and after Priests/Lords of Mars, I want to see more books along these lines. Thing is, for it to work as a W40k book it would have to include War and Conquest to fit the bill. Have you enjoyed writing the Priest of Mars books, and if so would you be up for writing more stories along those lines centred around a Rogue Trader and his crew? And is there any call for this type of book with Black Library (I probably should have asked that last bit first)?
Graham: I’d argue that an ‘Exploration Book’ needs to have War and Conquest, as none of the ‘…of Mars’ books has vast amounts of carnage in them. Yes, there’s some fighting and bolter action, but it’s not the character of the book to include to much of that. And there’s pretty much none of the elements of 40k I wouldn’t be up for writing, so long as there’s a cool story and good characters involved, but whether there’s a market for Rogue Trader stories is another matter…
TYRYT: What is the name of the planet which the Warhammer 40,000 Eternal Crusade will take place?
Graham: Ah, now that’d be telling. Ant and I have come up with a name and the folk at Behaviour and Games Workshop like it. But it’s not up to me to release that information just yet, but as soon as they give us the go-ahead to release stuff, I’ll let you know.
WILL POLLARD: Who would win in a fight. A Medieval Knight, or a Samurai Warrior? This may seem like a nonsense question, but it’s actually very serious, honest. It’s been bouncing around my family for years and my opinion is in the minority. So what side of the fantasy fight do you fall on?
Graham: In a ‘Deadliest Warrior’ style one-on-one fight, my money would be on the Samurai Warrior. He’s faster, more nimble and can get behind the knight to cut his hamstrings etc with his razor sharp Katana (so long as he stays away from the crushing weight and edge of the Knight’s broadsword). But put a bunch of knights charging towards a Samurai line, I’d have to go with the Knights.