Without Fear

QUICK REVIEW : Without Fear – Aaron Dembski-Bowden

The Ultramarines show up for day twenty-one of the Black Library 2015 Advent Calendar, in Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s micro short Without Fear. Brother Aeneas joins his squad in an aerial insertion to break the back of a Chaos force and reclaim a defaced relic, and we watch as he prepares himself for battle before (literally) throwing himself into the fray. With his weapons sanctified and his brothers around him, nothing is going to stand in the way of their victory.

As with most micro shorts this is a typically stripped-down, concise story, focused on a single character over a single action. With little in the way of actual narrative it’s essentially an opportunity to illustrate Dembski-Bowden’s personal take on the Ultramarines, their character and idiosyncrasies. He goes far beyond their usual portrayal as being rigid and precise, the ‘perfect Marines’, delving into their linguistics, their pre-battle rituals, and the devastating power that they (and all Marines) possess, and his Ultramarines are at once powerfully human and terrifyingly alien. It’s characteristic of his writing, full of careful little touches that build up a beautifully detailed picture for the reader, and a far more thoughtful and considered tale than most Black Library stories.

Click here to go to the main Black Library Advent Calendar post and see the other reviews.

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