Thursday, 22 December 2022

Bubbles of Corposant

Ahhhh the Trailing Corposant series, in which I attempt to review and describe the Horus Heresy series from both a diegetic point of view and also as works of literature and ALSO as a giant cultural meta-project, with deep-dives on the personalities and peccadilloes of the characters and writers.

Was there ever a greater example of the sunk-cost fallacy? Apart from the Horus Heresy series itself? Will I ever vomit forth the Cursed Snake of this idea from tip to tail?

No, because I have outright decided that there will be some parts of it which I am just not going to write! However, I will summarise my reasons for not writing them by section below, along with a brief precis of what I would have said

My main overriding reason is that it has been progressively longer and longer since I actually read any of this stuff and my analysis of it are increasingly failed explorations of memory pasted over with excavated research.

Anyway, what follows are BUBBLES OF CORPOSANT, a breakdown of the series yet to be written with a list of all the things I am NOT DOING and my reasons for not doing them, then at the end some things I might actually do.


#11 BETRAYER;  the works of Aaron Dembski Bowden

The First Heretic, Betrayer,  Master of Mankind and  Echoes of Eternity.

For someone who wrote very few books ADB may have had the greatest effect on the moral tone of Heresy of anyone other than Abnett. He did good books about Lorgar and Angron, a book I hated about E-Dawg and a book I liked, Echoes of Eternity, about.. well a lot of people but probably largely Sanguinius and Angron.

I will not write this one. I can't really talk about ABD without taking about the Great Awokening, for I take him as its herald, and about his BPD, which is discomforting to reference. I am old now and I can't stand the culture war HEAT and I can't really criticise ADB's arguments about his own work and opinions without either tacitly or directly bringing up his mental health and stuff about him I vaguely remember from the pre-First Heretic days but which seems to have been wiped from the internet, was it even real? It's an emotive moral SWAMP and I am not stepping into it. You win this round!

#12 VULKAN SHIVS - Vulkan and Nick Kyme

Nick Kyme, editor of much of the Horus Heresy, wrote a bunch of books about Vulkan! They were;  Vulkan Lives, Deathfire, Old Earth and Born of Flame.

I will not write about these books. They were simply bad. When I start thinking about them all I can do is produce deeper and more analytical descriptions of how they were bad. If I were still a man in his 20s no doubt I would go for it but I am now 40 and I can't stop imagining Nick Kymes innocent face as he somehow reads my words. He seems like a nice guy so this is all I will say about that.

#13 REEEEEEE - Pertuabo

Taking in all the Pertuabo books and appearances. 

Is there anything more I could really write about this guy? Like a lot of low-self-esteem quasi-autists, I see a lot of myself in his horrible personality. I think I wrote about that here. 10 out of 10 most competent Traitor. Could probably have won the thing if he were in charge. Thats all I have to say on this guy.

#14 CROW-MAN OF CROW-TOWN - Corax and Gav Thorpe

I will precis this one

Making up Deliverance Lost and Corax. These were OK! The fun part is Corax working his way through a super-dungeon made by the Emperor to access magic gene-tech. If people see the Emperor physically as an aspect which resonates with their own soul, then Corax is a super-good guy as he sees E-bro as simply a tired and reasonable man who wants the best for everyone. E-Dawg clearly also holds Corax in high regard as he tells him about Chaos and gives him super-gene-tech. Corax is an idealist to the point of stupidity and can't really process that he is working for a probably-deranged authoritarian, or that he is made of pasteurised demon-sauce, but this only really comes across best in his Guy Haley book. Like Vulkan there is a potentially excellent story to be told about an essentially 'good' character and what happens when the scales fall from their eyes and they awaken to how desperately morally compromised they are, and like with Vulkan, we get it only by inference.


The 'Siege of Terra has begun! Only the MIGHTIEST of writers will clash against each other to resentfully EDIT parts of the Heresy they personally thought were rubbish! Last chance guys! Get yer oar in!

I can actually summarise this here;

1. Wraight deletes Erda in Warhawk. 

Karen Took the Kids! Twice! Just like in Die Hard. Erda is a Perpetual character created by Dan Abnett in 'Saturnine' as a former ally of the Emperor involved with the Astartes project (she was their mother), wh turned against him and betrayed him and is now hanging out in Blood-Meridian-Siege-Terra. However, Chris Wraight had already created the character of Amar Astarte, a former ally of the Emperor involved with the Astartes project (they were named after her?), who turned against him and betrayed him. In 'Warhawk' Wraight says "no, we, and by we I mean I, have done that already" and has her packed away in a... vase?

2. Wraight rewrites Mortarians shitty character arc.

Mortarion is largely badly written, especially in 'The Buried Dagger' where he is basically Joey from 'Friends'. DUMB. However in 'Warhawk' a demon pops up to have a long talk with a Death Guard in which the demon explains that everything Morty did which seems utterly bewildering and fucking stupd, especially and specifically being surprised by the massive betrayal of Calas Typhon, was ACTUALLY psychological matryoshka and that really internally he knew this was happening and let it go on so actually its a dark and twisted tragedy and not an inadvertent boring comedy.

3. ADB 'Well actually's Graham McNeil.

In 'Fury of Magnus' Magnus confronts E-dawg who stuns Magnus with the offer of a return to his good graces and a whole new Legion; all he has to do is let his old Legion die. Magnus says no and flounces off to Chaos. This is either A; E-dude revealing his hidden narcissism, B - a deliberate shitty option designed to drive Magnus into the arms of Chaos on these specific terms in service to some ultra-long-term super-plan, or C - shitty writing. (Or any combination of the above).

Aaron-Dembski Bowden clearly thought 'C' and in 'Echoes of Eternity re-writes the entire scene so that actually Magnus heard something different? Or Vulkan heard something different? or the Emperor heard something different? with the customary ADB excuse for going deep on his obsessions "unreliable narrator universe!!!"

3. Anything Dan Abnett 

Dan is basically writing his own  Abnettverse mini-series in the middle of everything else - dark angels, perpetuals, multiple origins for the legend of 'Ollianus Pius', the Inquisition were originally Investigators? Cormac McCarthy planet earth, lots of wandering around, ENUNCIA the magic language of creation etc etc. How much of this will turn up in the god-help-me fractal mini-series at the end of this Siege series at the end of the Heresy series, who knows....

Anyway, if anyone spotted any other 'Siege of Re-Writes' drop a comment below.

#16 THORPE-HALL - Gav Thorpes other works

Lorgar: Bearer of the Word, The First Wall, and Luther: First of the Fallen.

These are actually pretty good or at least not-bad. I may do a small article about them.


Scars, Jaghatai Khan: Warhawk of Chogoris, The Path of Heaven, Warhawk, plus Leman Russ: The Great Wolf and Valdor: Birth of the Imperium.

The Wraight-verse! Has anyone done better out of the Heresy than old Chris. Ok, he and Jhagatai will get their own post, with a sub-post about Wraight and the Custodes.


Pharos, Perturabo: The Hammer of Olympia, Corax: Lord of Shadows, Konrad Curze: The Night Haunter, WolfsbaneTitandeathThe Lost and the Damned.

Haley probably should get his own post, not sure if I will make it but we will see. Also I need a silly name for this one.


Praetorian of Dorn, Tallarn, Slaves to Darkness, The Solar War, Mortis. He has written some pretty solid books! And Mortis.

Ok, I will try to make sure French will get his own post


This was going to be a post discussing the more interesting weapons from the Siege, buuuuuuut, though they are fun, none are that interesting, or at least not a posts worth, so I will summarise here what the post probably would have been;


aLPHARIUS; basically a primarch weapon that can be broken down and re-assembled PURELY so Alan pharius can do an arming montage in the spy movie running continuously in his head.

Angron; dropping his axes they are not important except they are

Conrad; Has twin lighting claws with spooooky names think he uses them throughout the Heresy

Corax; Has a whip! Mental, plus a pew pew gun plus lightning claws I think plus his anti-gravity 'wings'honeslty a surprisingly chaosy loudout

Ferrus' HAMMER ends up with Perty. Vulkan has a bunch of hammers I think

Fulgrim; coooming to his SWORDS - Fireblade and the Laer Blade, symbolic 

Jhagatai; Has a cool sword think thats about it,can move fast like the Flash but only does it once??

Horus; Has his 'worldbreaker' mace which e-dog gives to him and which he keeps I think all the way to the end Has a talon made for him by the dark mechanicum - which you can still see on Abadoon

Lion; Has TWO SWORDS, on for kicking ass and one for really kicking ass

Morty; Big scyythe called silence and a cool raygun called lantern still has both

Rogals meat and potatoes chainsword and bolter, very 'badass normal' and memorable for being just that

Robute Oddly nothing stands out about him during the heresy weapons wise think he has a nice sword and gun but thats about it being slightly boring seems appropriate

Russ has like an axe and sword honestly for primarchs they feel pretty generic he also fiddles with a psychic spear at one point

Sanguinius Spear of Telisto shoots SOOPA RAYS, has a nice sword also

Lorgars gay mace made by Ferrus he still has it I think

Magnus is slathered in so much warp bullshit that his weapons are basically spells which are weapons or weapons which are spells, nothing really stands out

Vulkans its also a Hammer hammer Plus his lost or destoryed treasures plus the Talisman of Seven Hammers - the golden throne dead-mans switch! HAMMERS!


The Athame which takes down Horus

The evil dagger which Oll ends up with a form of Athame? has its own entire story behind it by the time we get to the end will anyone give a shit?

Various sub-athames. Robute ends up with one in Fear to Tread i think and it acts as a kind of potential obsessional focus for him giving us a glimpse of what a nurgly Robute might look like; eternal calculation and stasis.

Numerous demon weapons of various kinds most hilariously the one which ends up eating Gendor Skraivok, the cartoon vilian night lord 'Painted Count' demon weapons and demons generally tend to be a bit non-causal ie they have read the story before they turned up on the page usually wielder goes ah ha I will wield you demon weapon and the weapon goes hoo hoo ha ha I have read the last chapter hee hee

Giant chaos gates. oddly these aren't used for porting in demons but instead for normies to go visit the deep courts of chaos and make deals there for power we know there was one on Moloch the Emperor used & emerged super-powered we know Horus went in the same one and spent relative maybe centuiries in there we suspect there was one on tallarn Perty was looking for.


Suggests a thread of DaoT tech which was largely about  containing/controlling the power of the Warp - possible anti-warp technology, is this the late-Terra 'Byzantine Empire' skunkworks in which the illuminati of that time start putting together a lot of bleeding-age, semi-impossible technology to fight demons or whatever? Lots of odd semi-magical stuff from this time.

The Lions slaved AI killer robots. We know the DA got a lot of the even more super secret Daot tech in paticular they have a bunch of sentient ai killer robots which they let out like living bombs with the batteries already 90% drained so hopefuly they just run out of juice.

The Twin Spears; One reveals the truth to whomever you stab (a bit late one would think), this becomes the 'spear of russ' and shows up pre-heresy publishing wise as part of the william king space wolf stories I think. The other shows you their truth, more useful it would seem. Valdor ends up with this one and spends much of the Siege running around murdering demons with it giving him a pretty deep knowledge and understanding of the deep structure of the Courts of Chaos which may well prove important in his possible yellow king development later, likely also requires a lot of mental mouthwash to walk off.

The Tabula Myriad; trans-dimensional hyper-dominating clockwork AI fiercely anti-chaos, also fiercely anti-life.

The Black Sword. Sigsmunds puritan sword where does this come from? Ultra-black, light-drinking, DaoT possibly, was this meant to be the Emperors sword?

Malcadors swag. Has a burning staff which converts psychic force into atomic flame, also has some kind of bio-feedback immortality collar which keeps his body going.

THE EMPEROR??? Or perhaps whatever supercharged the Emperor before or after his excursion to Moloch? My personal headcanon is super-golden anti-chaos weapon exists but can't be used. Emperor already strongest psyker. E goes to Molech and gains chaos power to make Primarchs and demon-soldiers to conquer galaxy. E then cheats, goes home and with new power, pasteurises himself with golden anti-chaos thing, likely combining with it, and using demon sauce to make Primarchs and Space Marines intended to conquer Galaxy, weaken gods and then invade hell.


The Forgotten Ordinatus; Whole sub-plot for these, The Lion recovers these super-guns early in the Heresy and like a dingus, gives them to Pertuabo as a bribe for making him the next warmaster - thinking ah ha, we will see these guns again at the siege! Well we do not.

The Orouboros of Caliban; Is this chaosy or not? By the time of the story it definitely is but I think its suggested it was originally created as a kind of building tool for the Old Ones to make the webway? A hyperdimensional backhoe basically, thats in Caliban and plays a role in making that planet strange.

The Creepy Child Thing the Lion Hangs out with; The Lion comes across a possibly chaosy or just generally evil kind of aleph machine or a super navigation thing which has implanted itself into a childs body and is clearly creepy as fuck and the Lion 'uses' it to track and defeat Konrad though this is probably a long-term chaos plan as by extending the Thramas crusade they help keep the Lion away from Terra.

The duelling-assassins super weapons; Imperials have an evangelion-style mega-rifle built into a building Chaos guys have a warp-capacitor energy-eating super demon.

If anyone can think of any more fun or unusual ones, let me know in the comments!

#21 THE WARMASTER - Dan Abnett (the later works)

Know No Fear, The Unremembered Empire, Saturnine and whatever the end books are!

Obviously dib-dabs gotta get his own post, one of the few I can't write yet as he hasn't finished the series, but I will.


  1. Interesting slate of what may be to come.

    There's been damn near half a dozen female/feminine Emperor counterparts/companions....Erda, Amar Astarte, the Selenar Gene-Cults (Matriarchal, Witches, Lunar - in name and literally based on the Moon), Jenetia Krole as 'the Soulless Queen of the Imperium'...I vaguely recall some 'Bride of the Emperor' stuff in there with Keeler, and if I squint hard enough, maybe Morianna will fit as well.

    Either way, damn well pick one Black Library and stick with her!

    1. I forgot the Selenar Gene cults, they were also 'mothers to the Astartes' though more reluctant adoptive mothers rather than deadbeat mums who went out for a pack of cigarettes like Erda and Astarte.

  2. Lion seems to be the most involved with various obscure/occult strangeness that is going on; to me it looks like if he is glancing on DM notes when DM isn't looking and then 'by chance' runs into these.

    Perturabo and Corax are the most interesting Primarchs to me (followed by Curze, and Magnus, and probably Vulcan and Angron), so I highly hope (but not in any way to induce a pressure) for a separate Guy Haley's post because he wrote about least about three of these. Proposed title 'Much ado about everything'.

  3. Looking forward to the abnett breakdown, as well as wraight. I only discovered the wraight books this year, he was a very pleasant surprise.

    I have a friend who also has strong reactions to adb, and I think the difference between the two of you and me is that I don't have twitter? I heard he's very political but GOOD LORD, what does he say on there to get everyone so riled?

    1. ADB is a whole vibe. I think his psychiatrist made him stop tweeting and answering back on Reddit

  4. I use these posts to brush up on my ability to seem much more knowledgeable about 40k-lore to my nerdier friends than I actually am. I've only ever read the Fehervari- books - also thanks to you.

  5. There seems to be something about Jordan Peterson that inspires 40k memes.

    1. I think with both Petersen and Alex Jones they are already living in a kind of version of the Warhammer universe inside their own heads so may of their odder pronouncements seem to fit well.