Thursday, 16 February 2023

Corposant 13 – REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEssentiment

 Entries #1 to #10 can be found by hitting 'Trailing Corposant' in the tags

Corposant #11 - BETRAYER

ADB, Lorgar, Angron, Emperor, Sanguinius, Precis; ADB good, least satirical Warhammer writer, herald of the awokening, found a way to have a black man shot by space cops, helped 'black box' the Emperor, (systemic issue), ship girls, edgy protags, BPD, shifting backstory, wrote Lorgar as being a bit BPD as well?, Echoes of Eternity like a Marvel director suffering under endless Fiege-notes, Sangunius finally good. Peace! 


Corposant #12 - VULKAN SHIVS 

Nick Kyme. Vulkan. Precis; boring bad books, seems like nice guy, good editor? hard to tell, vulkan gets tortured like black men in genre, he is guaranteed to survive this science fiction movie, not a blessing.




Corposant 13 – REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEssentiment


Is there anything more to say about Perturabo? 

I already discussed him here 

With this evergreen quote from Wikipedia; 

"Ressentiment is a sense of hostility directed at that which one identifies as the cause of one's frustration, that is, an assignment of blame to ones frustration. 

The sense of weakness or inferiority and perhaps jealousy in the face of the "cause" generates a rejecting/justifying value system, or morality, which attacks or denies the perceived source of one's frustration. 

This value system is then used as a means of justifying one's own weaknesses by identifying the source of envy as objectively inferior, serving as a defence mechanism that prevents the resentful individual from addressing and overcoming their insecurities and flaws. 

The ego creates an enemy in order to insulate itself from culpability." 

Is there anything more to say? 


(The Eye And Schtizophrenia) 

The only real reference to schitzoidal thinking in Pertys story; a common theme in the art of Schizophrenics is the observing eye;




Iain McGilchrist think this is due to some failure in brain lateralisation, that one part of the mind becomes directly aware of the other, but *as* an *other*, an alien observing presence, capable of reading thoughts, which no-one else can sense. 

Well Perty got an eye too, a malignant star that no-one else can see; 


and which never goes away. actually kind of useful in a few acts of navigation but just generally deeply upsetting the rest of the time.





**Chapter One - Birth of an Asshole** 

(19whatever to 2007) Pops up as a reference in a lot of Horus Heresy metafiction. 

(2007) - 'Fulgrim' by Graham McNeil 

I don't remember him doing much in this! 

(2012)  'Angel Exterminatus' by Graham McNeil 

Centre stage baby! We leap into Perturabos' story mid-heresy, after Istvaan and go right into a cooked-up meta plot about Fulgrim trying to become a god, or at least a demon. Oddly this bizarre pairing actually work as a story engine. Sometimes the goddess of story  logistics delivers inspiration. 

This is our first look inside Perturabos' head and it sets the tone for everything that comes after. 

The story ends with Perturabo badly wounded and the Iron Warriors trapped in the Eye of Terror, the same eye which has been watching him his entire life. Perturabo is (fictionally) born! And born angry! 


**Chapter Two - Metafiction** 

(2012) - 'Codex : Chaos Space Marines, 6th Edition' by Phil Kelly 

(2014)  -'The Horus Heresy, Book Three; Extermination' by Alan Bligh 

From 2012 to 2015 not much happens. Perty gets some current-year 40k lore about what he is up to post great-rift. He is conquering the segmentum obscurus and fighting Morty for relics. 

This is somewhat interesting for future 40k as Perty is (probably still) one of the more sane and better organised Primarchs, one of the few who actually has the aptitude and personality to organise a stellar empire at scale and keep it running. Will the Empire of Iron pop up again in the Imperium Nihilus? 


**Chapter Three – “I hate sand..”** 

(2015)  - 'Black Oculus' by John French 

(2017)  - 'Tallarn' by John French 

(2017)  -'Pertuabo: The Hammer of Olympia' by Guy Haley 

Perturabo escapes from the Eye in a short story and the goddess of logistics swoops him off to Tallarn to fill in that planets backstory. After getting a suppurating hole in his soul from Fulgrim, this marks Pertuabos 'Wunderwaffen' obsession; if he gets a big enough super-weapon he will feel better about himself. 

Perturabo fails in his war on Tallarn by just *this* much and is dragged back into the main Heresy line by a summons from Horus. 

At about the same time (in publishing history) he gets his second personal deep-dive, this time from Guy Haley, giving us his backstory, his discovery on Olympus, youth, meeting the Emperor, and gradual slow decay into bitterness and ressentiment. Then his total breakdown after one campaign too many followed by a revolt on his homeland finally drives him into a violent purge of his own planet which culminates in him choking his adoptive sister to death. 

This is where Pertuabo "falls", and it has relatively little to do with Chaos, at least explicitly. There are no cackling demons popping out to offer Faustian bargains, no Truman-show theatrics, mind-worms, obvious abusive behaviour or strange invitations to the realm of dream. Curze fell likewise but he at least had very serious and undeniable mental problems, whether you see his sadism as inborn or a partial choice. 

After murdering and enslaving a substantial chunk of his homeworld, Pertuabo is convinced that 'The Emperor will never forgive this" and turns fully to Horus, who is willing to offer the obvious lie of "you did the right thing". Almost the entirety of the rest of their relationship is Horus consistently pressing this button with Pertuabo until it finally wears out. 

Probably, actually, the Emperor would actually have “forgiven this”, its just one world and Primarchs have done worse, plus they did technically rebel, plus the Emperor really needs Primarchs at that precise moment. 


Turbos family fortunes; 

Adopted Father – rebelled against him while absent and was killed.

Adopted Brother – drove Perty mad by being actually better than him despite being only human, culminated in spastic statue-smashing by Perturabo, but the guy aged naturally and died well.

Adopted Sister – choked to death in a rage.

Father-Creator – slavish obedience followed by (unusually effectual) rebellion.

Primarch Brothers – either betrayed, betrayed by or just generally fuck those guys.

Gene-Sons – orders Legion to decimate itself via random selection and bare hands, things generally get worse from there. 


Chapter Four - Backstage Competence Baby! 

(2018)  - 'Slaves to Darkness' by John French 

(2019)  - 'The Solar War' John French 

(2019) - 'The Lost and the Damned' Guy Haley 

(2020)  - 'The First Wall' Gav Thorpe 

(2020)  - Saturnine by Dan Abnett 

(2021)  - Mortis by John French 

From 2018 on Perty is pulled into the final phase of Horus' war and, though he gets no single books to himself, does Pretty Fucking Well Actually, fully earning his Most Competent Traitor Primarch badge. (Its not a high bar but whatever). 

Tasked with bringing crazy-ass Angron to heel in 'Slaves to Darkness' he pulls it off neatly. It looks like he planned much of 'The Solar War', which ended in a raging success. I don't think he does much in 'The Lost and the Damned' and Horus won't let him just BLOW UP THE SUN, an ambition he shares with Mr Burns, but when finally allowed to get to work he brings down the Palaces shields with the pinpoint music of his lance weapons, outwits Dorn in 'The First Wall' and takes the Lions Gate, bringing Traitor heavy armour directly to the Palace, then, when stymied, he pulls off the rare feat of half-tricking, or at least manipulating Dorn and Abaddon into the Saturnine gambit, humiliating Fulgrim, blunting the power of Horus and giving the Loyalists a temporary win. In 'Mortis', a rather boring book by John French his plans bear fruit and the Palace is cracked open, leading to the beginning of the end. 

After being cucked out of the killing blow by Horus and effectively demoted after doing the hard work, instead of being manipulated again he just Fucks Right Off, getting the hell out of the Sol system with the bulk of his forces and goes off to his Empire of Iron to be a massive problem for the future Imperium. 

In a way, for Perturabo, the siege is a personal success. Even though the siege as a whole fails he succeeds at almost every challenge he is given, and ultimately just stops caring about how Horus and the rest view him. He doesn't need to be anyone’s special boy any more. This is largely due to him now regarding everyone else as being utter shit rather than any growth in his personality, but for our fake stoic that might be the best we could expect. If you can’t be Marcus Aurelius, be Steerpike. 

Peace out nerds! You won't have Pertuabo to kick around any more! 


Wait, did Peter Turbo WIN the Horus Heresy? On the Traitor side at least he comes the closest. 

Horus – dead.

Morty - stabbed in the head by the Khan.

Lorgar - beaten up like a nerd after a failed coup & made to go sit in his tower.

Curze - suicide-by-assassin.

Angron - tubes ripped out and banished by Sanguinius.

Alpharius - killed by Dorn and then again by Robute. How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?

Fulgrim - tabled by Dorn and flounces off (though does cut Robutes throat later)

Pertuabo - beats Angron, cracks open the palace, gets the Justarian killed ;-), takes the Lions Gate, leaves of his own accord, humiliates Dorn in the Iron Cage - how was he ever driven to the Eye?




It’s been stated in a few places, but I can't find confirmation that the Hazard Stripes are a form of Heraldry meaning "death to transgressors"  which is to me a pleasing idea of a post-apocalyptic human culture preserving and translating the basic concept of 'industrial heraldry' into something new. (Should be more red hexagonal shields in 40k tbh). 




What we know of Perty, and what he knows of himself, starts with him hanging from a cliff, half-way up. 

We learn from contextual information that he definitely was not just incarnated at this point. When he meets his to-be adopted father, they talk of stories of a hero wandering the hills, fighting monsters, a super-boy doing adventures. If this was Pertuabo, and no reason to think it wasn't, that’s quite a different personality to the one we see from this point on. 

While living at court on Olympia he is largely pictured indoors, arguing with his family, giving Dawkins speeches on  atheism, locked in his room doing 'research' and later leading brutal military campaigns. The earlier Perty seems to be cut much more in the mould of a classic wandering Greek hero. 

SO - what happened to his memory of those days? and why? I think no other Primarch had anything similar happen to them... 

Most likely option is that he somehow traded away, or was tricked out of them or they were somehow stolen from him by the Ruinous powers 

We know that Perturabo has access to something quite like the Akashic record, that he essentially 'knows' all material things, (though he doesn't know exactly how to combine or use them), but basically he has a perfect internal science wikipedia running continuously on everything he looks at. 

This seems to have had a detrimental effect on his character and personality - he loves research and science, but he is a scientist who can't really 'discover' much; he already knows the details, he can just confirm theories 

Consider the personality of a classical renaissance man, asking endless questions about nature, conducting experiments, exploring, finding things out, the kind of person that is and the effect they would have on those around them, both from the relative openness of  their personality but also that they are engaged in a process that others can also take part in and come along with. 

Compare that to someone who has all of Wikipedia in a low-tech society, and can theoretically *do* anything, but they do it alone, discover little or nothing, are just instantiating knowledge they already have and the main challenge is just getting it right. And consider the different societal effects of lets-discover-nature guy and I-know-everything guy. One shapes an entire culture in a possibly-positive way, the other is basically just a living data-bank, respected, sort of, but more of a resource than an inspiration. 

We can consider also the effect of losing those early memories. Early, likely original Perturabo was, a wanderer in the hills, a being with no particular status who encountered strangers, peasants, travellers, monsters, whoever, for himself and interacted with each as he would. (probably). Who was genuinely exploring and having an actual adventure. With no societal instruction book he simply set his own goals and went about them, adjusting with understanding. 

The Perturabo we actually get is 'born' on that cliff face. First they face the abyss of knowledge about themselves, then their perfect understanding of the material world, then their first social encounters are with guards and then late a manipulative court, which they enter without any contextual sense of self. A name and a strong will, but no story or sequence of experiences and decisions to tell them who they are. A powerful tool, ready to be manipulated and used. 

We can have some sympathy with Perty here as the internet has done a similar number on us. 

I'm imagining here, something like a classic 'unwise bequest' in which original Perturabo, for some reason we will never know, makes some kind of deal with the Ruinous Powers (in disguise, he doesn't know what they are), for knowledge. (Magnus did something similar for his own reasons). 

'Knowing everything' or being able to understand or construct anything, is the kind of thing an intelligent young boy might think they really want, with no understanding of what a personal disaster it might be. And the only price asked is "your memories up to this point" - and who knows how long that is? A few weeks? a few days? 

And perhaps the Emperor actually designed Perturabo with access to the Akashic record in mind, and the power that was 'given' to him in this deal is only power that was rightfully his already, but perhaps might have taken time to unlock. 

If it’s a gambit of chaos, it’s a beautifully elegant long-term move to cripple someone’s personality while seeming to aid them, and, most beautifully, removing any knowledge or evidence of the deal at the same time. 

(I mean never sign a contract were part of the deal is "you will lose any memory of signing this contract") 




The first thing I wrote about Perturabo was about Identification through Recognition, and I am far from the only one! This guy has a fair number of fans and or many of them a similar emotion seems to be at play; recognition of some of the best talents and worst traits shared by the nerd/autist personality type and a kind of distant sad sympathy. 

Pertuabo is one of a few projections of the Warhammer player into Warhammer itself, something he shares with Trazyn the Infinite (a compulsive collector with literal shelves of space marine helmets and interdimensional poke balls full of lore-accurate period armies which he arranges in actual dioramas in his planet-sized museum), and to some extent, Fabius Bile (a superior atheist who just loves to kitbash). 

Pertuabo collects and built figurines (something remarked on several times), trains his soldiers to fight in computerised and tabletop Kriespiel games, isolates himself when distressed (which is always), is ‘always-online’ via his weird cybernetics, and, as discussed everywhere, has the personality of an angry incel gamer boy. 

The blessed gifts of modernity; isolation, technology, FOMO, self-hatred when compared to an infinity of beauty and accomplishment we can never match. 

The fundamental battle with ressentiment, perhaps the most powerful of modern drives and the central moral cultural challenge of out generation. Whom amongst us is not Perturabo in our hearts?? Anyone who put their hand up to that one; FUCK YOU GUYS, FUCK YOU RIGHT IN THE ARSE. 

Some have said the world is shaped by men who set their hearts on toys. I will say that the world often shaped by the irresolvable desires which prompt relentless action. 

So why can Perturabo not name or acknowledge his own desire for recognition? Even though he is utterly driven by it? 

It’s painful to look that deep. Its shameful. To look that deep into yourself and accept not only such a consuming need, or flaw, but also the deep sense of weakness that provokes it, to see yourself as weak, as low status, and such an overwhelming history of failure thereby.. Weakness must deny itself and so never be resolved.

I suppose that is what "set in your ways" really means. After all, just living life, day by day, becomes something of a sunk-cost fallacy, tearing out a part of yourself that late in the game only becomes more and more difficult as the years go by, an admission that deep cuts all the way to the core, does it basically invalidate everything that came before? It certainly feels like it does.




The horror of intelligence 

In a way we don't need the nightmare of Chat GPT to show us this, we just need the biographies of mildly autistic and very intelligent men. 

Intelligence; swiftness of comprehension, exactness of conception and clearness of memory, rapid and subtle manipulation of abstract values  - is a quality that can be cranked up pretty high, and it can gain you so much. 

Chat GPT doesn't know why it does what it does, but if you ask it, it can give you an pretty good answer, (that is entirely made up and not actually true). 

Likewise, if we ask ourselves why we do what we do probably the average person is only slightly better at working this out about themselves than a random stranger watching video footage of them would be. Nevertheless, press the button and words spill out; explanations, stories, declarations of principals, ideas, histories. 

Could all be complete bullshit - how are we supposed to know? Perhaps we just pressed the Chat GPT button in our own minds and what comes out is as free of real self knowledge as a digital neural network would be. 

Whenever we find out something meaningful about ourselves it often comes as a slightly uncomfortable surprise, and it often comes as a result of complex action in complex, rapidly moving and hard to predict environments, not the kind of thing you can just think through, and it often feels slightly unpleasant. 

The horror of a high IQ and the alienation that often goes along with it, and the lack of self-knowledge that can grow alongside that. 

Cracks are inevitable. They begin at single tiny points but once they start they propagate themselves with brutal speed, and in many cases, increasing the hardness of materials won't help much with stopping cracks, instead you need something softish or more flexible to even out the distribution of force. The hard is not much use without the soft. 

Oh Lord of Hosts, I beg ye keep my IQ roughly on a par with my intuitive systems, general instincts and broad life experience, not too high above or too low below, for to do otherwise is to become lost, and the worst kind of lost is to not know you are lost.




  1. I always took the hazard stripes on Iron Warriors (and everywhere else, upon a time) to merely be an extension of 'Danger Here!' - 'Danger Here - For You!'. Something absorbed by pre-Imperial humanity after millennia in built-up environments like hives and space stations, echoing the older lore / rumour that Imperial arms were once industrial gear or farming equipment. The change of a beneficent safety feature to a threat-marker is a neat little indicator of man's decay, though who knows if anyone at GW actually designed it that way.

    In the same vein, I have always assumed bodygloves to be an astronaut's base layer, suitably tight-fitting* to go under a spacesuit proper and with openings for implant plugs and what have you. Eventually this just becomes everyday wear, shirt and slacks equivalent on space stations.
    (*Star Trek: the Next Generation tight-fitting, not shrink-wrapped tight-fitting.)

    Anyway, good post.

  2. "Consider the personality of a classical renaissance man, asking endless questions about nature, conducting experiments, exploring, finding things out, the kind of person that is and the effect they would have on those around them, both from the relative openness of their personality but also that they are engaged in a process that others can also take part in and come along with.

    Compare that to someone who has all of Wikipedia in a low-tech society, and can theoretically *do* anything, but they do it alone, discover little or nothing, are just instantiating knowledge they already have and the main challenge is just getting it right. And consider the different societal effects of lets-discover-nature guy and I-know-everything guy. One shapes an entire culture in a possibly-positive way, the other is basically just a living data-bank, respected, sort of, but more of a resource than an inspiration. "

    This point really illuminates why I found Dr Stone so much more enjoyable than other isekai stuff.

    Once again, you're the only person who understands Pertuaburo--every other fallen Primarch is a great sin magnified, and so is Perty, it's just that his sin is the dull and grating bitterness us, the audience of 40k books, feel every day. He truly is just like us fr.

  3. Thank you for writing this, very much.
    Resentment could also originate from otherwise (somewhat) better emotionally balanced person who is mistreated and discarded over and over again. There was that story about Iron Warriors and Imperial Fists, where Iron Warriors did all the work and suffered all the losses and Imperial Fists got all the credit (including the painting of Dorn victorious over Iron Warrior face down in a mud). From what little I know Iron Warriors were always seen as sort of the most disposable legion, ordered to do more difficult but less glorious work that nobody wanted, and to do it at any cost. Even if Perturabo was well-adjusted men (which he wasn't), such treatment won't create a sound mind if done over millennia.