Hello and welcome to another instalment of Black Library Weekly, my regular look at what’s been happening in the world of Black Library. This week felt like a pretty quiet one for the most part, until Saturday arrived and Black Library dropped a veritable mountain of books for order! Let’s jump straight in and take a look…
Another brand new short story for this week’s Digital Monday, in the shape of Exodus by Steve Lyons – as always available for £2.49 in ebook. Nominally a Valhallan Ice Warriors story, it’s as much about the local troopers as their world is abandoned in the face of a tyranid invasion. Personally I’d say it’s not quite the same standard as the last few weeks’ stories, but even so it’s a powerful tale that’s about as bleak as you’re going to get and worth checking out all the same. Have a read of my review here, and then you can make up your own mind.
It was a pretty quiet midweek period, with little in the way of Black Library news. The one piece of information was an early confirmation of the return of Print on Demand titles, with all of the classic Necromunda books soon to be available to order in physical format once again. I’ll go into a bit more detail about this in the next section, but suffice to say that’s excellent news!
I’d also like to mention that it’s been a fair while since I last posted a Forgotten Texts article, but having reviewed Dan Abnett’s First and Only early in the week I wanted to take a longer look at the classic Gaunt’s Ghosts novel and think about how it holds up today. If you fancy having a read, you can find my review of the book here, and then my Forgotten Texts article about it here.
After a quiet week up to that point, Saturday then exploded with masses of releases, including two new titles, a limited edition boxed set, and a load of Necromunda reprints. Plenty to talk about! First up, the new stuff…
It was a good day for Age of Sigmar fans, with not just a brand new novel, but one providing the first fiction about the new Kharadron Overlords faction – Overlords of the Iron Dragon by CL Werner. No audiobook for this one, so it’s available in hardback (£18) and ebook (£9.99) formats – as usual you’ll have to wait until next weekend for the hardback, but the ebook can be downloaded now. For a bit more information on the book, check out by RAPID FIRE interview with the author here.
Plenty of 40k goodness too, beginning with The Geld by George Mann, a new 40k audio drama featuring – as usual, for Mann – the Raven Guard. You can pick this up in CD (£12) or MP3 (£9.99) formats. While not a ‘new’ release as such, Gav Thorpe’s Legacy of Caliban got the limited edition hardback boxed set treatment, and a lovely set it is too! £50 gets you the novels Ravenwing, Master of Sanctity and The Unforgiven – don’t be fooled by the £40 price tag on the website, if you add it to your basket it shows up at the full £50.
I mentioned Necromunda earlier – to coincide with the pre-orders for the brand new game from Games Workshop, Black Library are reissuing all of the old Necromunda fiction in paperback form. This is very good news! It’s worth noting, however, that while one of these reissues is a standard paperback release, the vast majority are being made available as Print on Demand titles, which mean they can be ordered for a limited period of time, and Black Library will print as many as are ordered. After that time, they’ll go back to being digital-only.
The one (so far, at least) full release is Kal Jerico: The Omnibus (£12.99 in either paperback or ebook), which collects together the novels Blood Royal, Cardinal Crimson and Lasgun Wedding by Will McDermott and Gordon Rennie. That’s a pretty good price for three novels, slightly cheaper than omnibuses usually are, and so if you’re a Necromunda fan this is pretty much a steal. The rest, then, are Print on Demand – here’s the lineup:
Six novels, each available for £7.99 (although they were already available in ebook for £6.99 each):
- Back from the Dead by Nick Kyme
- Fleshworks by Lucien Soulban
- Junktion by Matthew Farrer
- Outlander by Matt Keefe
- Salvation by CS Goto
- Survival Instincts by Andy Chambers
A short story anthology, also available for £7.99 in paperback:
Two graphic novels:
- Kal Jerico: Underhive Bounty Hunter by Gordon Rennie, with art by Karl Kopinski and Wayne Reynolds. This one is £8.99.
- The Redeemer by Pat Mills, with art by Debbie Gallagher and Wayne Reynolds. This one is £9.99.
The idea behind Print on Demand titles is that Black Library will literally only print the number ordered, which means they don’t yet have them in stock – the Black Library website states that they will be dispatched within 35 days of being ordered. It’s a bit of a wait, but at least you know you’re definitely going to get your copies. They’re available to order up until 5pm (GMT) 8th December 2017, so you’ve got a bit of time, but don’t leave it too late!
That’s a lot of Necromunda books, so if you’re fancying getting them all you can, as expected, pick up a couple of bundles. There’s a paperback bundle including all of the Print on Demand titles, but not Kal Jerico: The Omnibus, which is £74.91 – slightly disappointing actually, as that’s the same price as buying them separately. There’s also an ebook bundle, featuring the six Print on Demand novels, the short story anthology, and Kal Jerico: The Omnibus – but not either of the graphic novels – for £50.99. That’s a better price, saving a bit over a tenner.
Thoughts on the week
It’s been a bit of a weird one really, with (in my opinion) a slight dip in Digital Monday quality and midweek excitement, which was then more than made up for by a crazy Saturday. That’s not to say that I didn’t like Exodus, but it was one of those stories where as I was reading it I was thinking ‘hmm, not really sure about this’ and it was only when it finished, and I looked back at it as a whole, that I came to the conclusion I did actually enjoy it.
The main ‘new’ releases this weekend, especially Overlords of the Iron Dragon, are very cool. It’s been a while since the Kharadron models first saw the light of day, so it’s about time we got a novel featuring these guys – I’ve got high hopes for this one, although I’m a bit backed up with Age of Sigmar so it might be a while before I get round to reading it! The Geld sounds interesting, albeit not the sort of story that I’m likely to rush out and pick up.
The Necromunda reprints are the big news, of course, and in my opinion at least they make a very welcome return! Especially The Redeemer – I loved that guy back in the day! If I’m being entirely honest it would have been nice if the paperback bundle had offered a discount – almost £75 is a lot of money to fork out in one go. My first instinct was certainly that I REALLY wanted to pick up the bundle, but the price has made me stop and think about it, especially with the Weekender around the corner. Time will tell, I’m sure. It’s also worth pointing out that £7.99 is a pretty decent price for a paperback these days, so individually they’re priced quite well anyway.
I’m sure every Necromunda fan is hoping for new fiction – as with Blood Bowl, I wonder if maybe that will come, but in the form of short stories rather than novels. At least to start with. Until we know what’s happening along those lines, these reprints are the next best thing, and I’m very glad they’re available. I think Print on Demand is actually a really smart idea for these, as well. Even having seen the popularity of Blood Bowl, it’s inevitably going to be seen as a risk for Black Library to go ahead and reprint old titles, never mind commission new ones. This way, instead of making estimates for how popular these books are going to be, Black Library can simply look at the demand up front.
Considering the recent polls to determine which two classic novels to reprint (Brothers of the Snake and Drachenfels) and now these Necromunda reprints, I wonder if we’re going to see more Print on Demand titles in future? I remember a conversation at the latest Black Library Live! event where a member of Black Library staff – I forget exactly who – mentioned that they were considering getting the technology to do Print on Demand in-house, rather than outsourcing to an external publisher. That would be a pretty big investment, but could turn out to be a savvy one, too. Time will tell!
As usual, here’s the list of my posts this week if you’ve missed any of them:
- QUICK REVIEW: Exodus by Steve Lyons.
- First and Only by Dan Abnett.
- Forgotten Texts: First and Only by Dan Abnett.
- RAPID FIRE: CL Werner Talks Overlords of the Iron Dragon.
Next weekend is the Black Library Weekender, so expect to see a fair bit of news circulating from bloggers, forums and the Warhammer Community team over the weekend. I may even contribute to that! In terms of new releases, the first Space Marine Conquests novel looks like it’s going to be up to order on Saturday – The Devastation of Baal by Guy Haley. That one promises to be a cracker!