Yesterday I posted the first of my Forgotten Texts reviews, for Jonathan Green’s classic Ultramarines vs Tyranids short story Salvation. As an extra treat, Jonathan has kindly agreed to talk a little about this 20 year old short story and the process of writing it! Without further ado, over to the author…
Was there a specific brief for this story, or were you given free reign to pick a subject and theme of your choice?
JG: As far as I can remember (and please bear in mind I wrote this story just over 20 years ago!) the only brief I was given was that they wanted a Space Marine story for Issue #1 of Inferno! magazine. Ultramarines were one of the most well-known Chapters at the time, and I had written colour text for Codex: Tyranids, so the two seemed the perfect fit.
How familiar were you with 40K in those days?
JG: Very. Like I say, I had written colour text for several Codices – Tyranids, Angels of Death, Chaos – as well as for the Epic 40,000 boxed game. Research involved reading pretty much anything 40K-related I could get my hands on, which included the old Slaves to Darkness book.
How much of the background detail (terminologies, technologies etc.) was available for you to use back then, and how much did you need to create for yourself?
JG: I don’t remember inventing anything myself (unlike Dan Abnett did later in his 40K fiction) so I would have used whatever was current in the game and various Codices at the time. Of course the Tyranids of the day were very different from the Tyranids of today. The Carnifex I was describing in the story was the one that had its head planted squarely on its shoulders, and was a lot smaller than the modern iteration.
Was it an enjoyable process, coming up with this story? How much can you remember of the process?
JG: Yes, it was. It always is. It’s the creative part of the creative process that I get the greatest buzz from. I don’t remember any specifics regarding how I came up with the plot itself, only that I wrote it over the course of a week in the October of 1996.
How have you found the fan reaction to this story over the years?
JG: It’s been amazing. I was unaware of precisely how popular it was until I saw Marc Gascoigne some years later, when he was head honcho of the Black Library. He commented that it was a story people still mentioned when they were discussing favourites and it probably found new audiences by dint of the fact that it was reprinted twice in two different anthologies.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
JG: I really consider Salvation to be my first proper published short story. Off the back of it I ended up being invited to write a Warhammer story for Issue #0 of Inferno! that appeared in White Dwarf magazine. The story I ended up writing was called The Hounds of Winter and featured the Kislevite mercenary Torben Badenov and his band. Five years down the line, the adventures of these hard-bitten veterans were the subject of in my first published novel The Dead and the Damned. Later this year I’m going to be writing my eighteenth novel! And it all started with Inferno! magazine.
I’m sure you’ll join me in thanking Jonathan for taking the time to chat about his story! If this and my review have piqued your interest in reading Salvation I would absolutely recommend checking it out if you can – as I said in my review, there’s no harm in getting in touch with Black Library to ask them to reprint it as a digital e-short…
In the meantime, do check out Jonathan’s website at www.JonathanGreenAuthor.com to read more about what he’s been up to recently.