126: a backstab (if you are accurate enough) is heartbreak

Hullo.

I woke up on Thursday morning the day after WicDiv and thought “I am so fucking tired. I need a holiday.” So we booked one! Problem solved.

(Note to prod – please check if booking holiday far in the future actually counts as solving present problem, thank you.)

Future Soon
Future DIE
Links
Books
Byyyyeeee!!!

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I don’t think I’ve got anything new-new this week. I’m told that the fourth printing of Once & Future 4 drops, which will I suspect be hard to get hold of. However, also out this this week is the above Forbidden Planet variant cover which is drawn by David Lafuente and (er) glows in the dark. What a world we live in, friends.

The sixth printing is incoming, and accepting orders, so talk if you want to get hold of that. I suspect this is the one which be easiest to get hold of. Speak to your retail, ASAP.

Issue 2 is out next week, which will be a time.

(And FP are doing another Lafuente cover for it too, which is lovely)

Cripes. What a lot of covers.

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In all the chaos I missed that the solicits for November were out.

Coo at Stephanie’s cover! Coo at Emma Rios and Miquel Muerto’s cover! Coo!

There’s also some text, where I’m totes being pointlessly enigmatic.

DIE #9

WRITER: Kieron Gillen
ARTIST / COVER A: Stephanie Hans
COVER B: Miquel Muerto, Emma Ríos
NOVEMBER 06 / 32 pages / FC/ M / $3.99

“SPLIT THE PARTY,” Part Four Forget escaping DIE. You can’t do that without escaping the prison, with your worst enemy and the first woman who ever gazed upon this plane with human eyes.

This one was a bunch of work, shall we say. Stephanie also decided to ink a section in it, which means it was extra work for her too. Basically, we’re not very good at being chill, Team Die.

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I read a couple of novellas this week.

I’ve always loved the epistolary novel as a form. Its sensuousness, its intimacy, its confession, its playfulness. I recall a game designer telling me what he thought Youtube streamer’s strength was –“you will never trust anything as much as you trust someone looking you in the eyes”. I find myself thinking that an epistolary novel is the literary equivalent of that – and, of course, that your instinct is to trust a confessional letter is what should make you doubt it. You are rarely more vulnerable than when you receive a letter from someone you’re interested in. They get to choose their pose exactly as they wish.

It’s also, in the most practical terms, a useful form for a collaborative novel. You get to do what your characters are doing. You don’t want to let the side down. Anything but that.

Amal El-Mothar and Max Gladstone’s This Is How You Lose The Time War doesn’t either let the side down. It isn’t just in the a epistolary form – it bounces between letters and short chapters of the characters actions as they bounce up and down the threads of a timestream – but it harnesses a lot of those strengths and applies them precisely. The characters are flamboyant like warring Culture agents, showing off in everything. It is intensely poetic, like the Master and the Doctor sending loaded, painful missives to one another as they consider their backstabs – and a backstab (if you are accurate enough) is heartbreak. At its best, it is weird, like love is weird. Find time for this.

The Armoured Saint by Myke Cole was recommended by various Warhammer-y friends, who said it was basically a more serious, less miniature-soldier-tie-in take on the core Warhammer motifs of corruption, religious persecution, psychic pollution, a not-that-saintly saintly Emperor, lots of ultra-violence, heavily armoured battle suits and teenage lesbianism. One of the above may not be a traditional part of the Warhammer axis. This is driven, superior fantasy fiction and most authors would stretch this material to a longer book instead of hitting as hard as Cole does. It’s the start of a series, but I’m intrigued by returning to this length after decades of ever-ballooning fantasy epics.

Both books are available now.

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Links!

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This week has mainly been about the fallout of the end of WicDiv. The circle of knowledge slowly expanding from the inside of my head to the WicDiv readers, one by one. Thanks to everyone who’s been respectful with tweeting spoilers and images – the trade is a month away, and it’s a book whose images are loaded with meaning.

The crashing exhaustion I opened with. A series of adventures – seeing friends in Brighton, Eurogamer’s 20th anniversary, lots about time and space. The weirdness for the first time in five years of having a micro-obsession over the Love Affair’s Everlasting Love, thinking it’s a perfect WicDiv tonal song and moving to put it on the playlist and realising that would be cheating.

But work’s been Once & Future with a side order of PROJECT MILLIONAIRE SWEEPER. That my schedule is a little freer than it has been means that I can actually concentrate on it, and do two issues back to back. This means rather than writing an issue to completion, I’m writing the first draft of each, and then seeing if there’s anything I want to move between the two. This is a luxury I rarely have, but for the end of a first arc which I’m turning into an ongoing series, it’s a useful luxury.

I suspect I won’t move anything, but the option to do big tweaks in framing is nice to have. Also, it lets me put off actually polishing something a little longer, as Procrastination Is My God And I Must Sacrifice My Hours Unto It.

My RSI is also playing up. Compared to many people in the industry (especially artists) what I’ve had is mild and something I’ve managed to deal with since I was 21. It’s set off primarily by mouse-work, excess screen scrolling and various things with console controllers – if I keep proper posture, typing is a relatively small problem. As I know it, I can mostly avoid aggravating it. When I do, I can moderate my behaviour until it calms down. You can imagine that in my previous life as a games journalist, this was somewhat trickier. I’ve been using my mouse with my left hand for everyday purposes for over twenty years, saving right-hand mouse use for when I have to play a mouse-based game. Even then, it’s games which lean heavily on the mouse-wheel which makes it scream.

While that I admit this is a boring, too much information and also depressing end to a newsletter, at least it justifies why I’m stopping, right?

Speak anon.

Kieron Gillen
London
11.9.2019