Black Library Weekly – W/C 08/01/18

Hello and welcome to the latest instalment of Black Library Weekly, my regular look at what’s been happening in the world of Black Library. While it hasn’t been the busiest week for brand new releases, it’s been an exciting one for other reasons – let’s get straight to it…

This week’s Digital Monday short story was Four Thousand Days by David Guymer (£2.49 in ebook), a Fyreslayers story for Age of Sigmar that – like Guy Haley’s The Volturung Road last year – was previously available in anthologies but now has a standalone e-short release as well. I think it’s always worth pointing this out, as it’s often good value to look for the anthology rather than the short on its own – in this case you can pick it up in either Legends of the Age of Sigmar: Fyreslayers, or Legends of the Age of Sigmar: Omnibus 1 if you fancy reading it alongside a load of other cool stories.

As for this one in particular, it’s perhaps a bit unfocused in places and suffers a bit for detailing a brand new faction and all its new toys, but it’s a fun story nonetheless. You can read my review here.

Given that last week had brought with it another month’s worth of upcoming releases, I was pretty much resigned to this week being a bit slower on the Black Library news front during the week. I was so wrong, but happily so! In case you’ve been living under a rock all week, you’ve probably spotted that the latest Black Library open submissions window has been announced, which is excellent news! Not only that, but it’s linked to the 20th anniversary of Black Library, and the rebirth of an old classic – Inferno!

Earlier in the week I wrote an article all about the submissions window and what I’m hoping to see from its output – you can read that here. I don’t want to repeat too much of that so I won’t say a lot more, other than to reiterate just how exciting I think this opportunity is, both for readers and hopeful writers. From a reader’s perspective I think it’s always great to see new names coming through – just look at the great work of late by newer authors like Robbie MacNiven, Ian St. Martin and Andy Clark – and I’m sure I’m not the only person to be permanently greedy for more content! If this submissions window results in even one new author who goes on to become a regular Black Library contributor, then I know I’ll be happy.

From a writer’s perspective, I’m pretty sure it’s always welcome to have the opportunity to submit to Black Library. From what I hear it’s a pretty tough process, and BL have really high standards, but to me that can only be a good thing. While I write non-fiction rather than fiction, both for Track of Words and in my day job, I firmly believe that I always do my best work when pushed and challenged to be doing better – so I think Black Library should absolutely have high standards, and anyone successful in submitting to them should be very proud!

After all, the harder it is to be successful, the better the final output should be for us readers, right? I’d like to wish everyone submitting the best of luck, and I’m really looking forward to reading the short stories that are published as a result!

Just quickly, if you watched the Warhammer TV stream on Twitch on Thursday to catch submissions editor Lottie and author John French talk about the submissions window, you may also have seen Nick Kyme showing off physical copies of loads of the new BL titles due for release over the coming weeks and months. The stream is still available to watch if you’re a Twitch subscriber, so do check it out – from what I remember, almost everything Nick showed us (except Blackshields: Red Fief by Josh Reynolds) is already visible on the BL website’s Coming Soon page, but it was still cool to see the actual items in the flesh, so to speak. I’m now looking forward to Dan Abnett’s The Magos even more, after seeing the size and production values of that epic tome!

No brand new books this weekend, but don’t worry – there were still some cool titles released that are worth checking out if you’ve not already got hold of them in other formats. First up was Rogue Trader: The Omnibus by Andy Hoare, which you can pick up for £15 in paperback or £14.99 in ebook. It collects together Andy’s three Black Library novels, so that’s Rogue Star, Star of Damocles and Savage Scars, along with the mysteriously vague ‘two short stories’. These are all pretty old books now, with the latest – Savage Scars – being published back in 2011, so if you fancy some Rogue Trader (and White Scars) action then this looks like a great way to get hold of these books.

That was the main release, but we also got two paperback editions of books first published in 2017 – Warden of the Blade by David Annandale and Dark Imperium by Guy Haley. Both are available for £8.99, and you can order them online right now or presumably pick them up in stores as of next weekend. Happily for audio fans, Dark Imperium is also now available as an audiobook (£29.99), which is excellent news! If you haven’t yet read either of these, now’s an excellent time – click on the titles here for links to my reviews – Warden of the Blade and Dark Imperium.

Thoughts on the week
From a pure releases perspective, it’s been a fun but arguably slightly underwhelming week. Everything was cool, and definitely worth releasing – especially Rogue Trader: The Omnibus as those books have been out of print (physically, at least) for ages – but perhaps not super exciting. That being said, paperback releases are always welcome, and hopefully all three of these books will prove popular with anyone who’s been holding off getting them in other formats.

The big news of the week, however, was of course the submissions window, and that really changed the complexion of the week. What I’ve really loved about this piece of news is how fired up people are getting about it, and how the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I’m sure there will have been a bit of the usual knee-jerk negativity from certain quarters, but I’ve really not seen it. What I’ve seen has been lots of people getting excited and sharing their enthusiasm, along with a surprising number of people who have already submitted stories! I hope that positivity continues, and shines through in some fantastic stories released once the window has closed.

You can find a link to my review just below, but I want to quickly mention Titans’ Bane by Chris Dows here, as a highlight of the week for me. It’s not out on general release until March, but I was lucky enough to pick up a copy at the Warhammer World New Year’s Open Day recently. I had high hopes for this one, but hadn’t expected to be as genuinely, powerfully amazing as it was – read the review for more details, but in short I think it was possibly the best Black Library audio drama I’ve ever listened to, and it really sets the standard for new audios. It’s so, so good!

As usual, here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve posted so far this week:

Coming up…
Next week it looks like we’ll have two weekend releases – Sons of the Hydra (full physical release, after the Christmas digital premiere) by Rob Sanders and Corsair: The Face of the Void by James Swallow. You can read my review of Sons of the Hydra here, and I’ll try to make sure I get a review of Corsair up as soon as possible!

As always, if you’ve got any thoughts or comments on the week’s news and releases please do get in touch via the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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