Yes, I know, we all shudder when we hear that and think back to certain novels we may have loved in our teens, but we look back on them now and cringe. * cough Shadowrun, Nigel Findley cough* But hey, we loved them at the time and they served a purpose. Ok, a couple of purposes, 1. To get teenagers reading and 2. To expand on the world building that could only go so far in color text in the game books.
To be fair, I inhaled those books in the late 80s/early 90s when they came out. I’ve always been a bigger fan of the fiction of Shadowrun than the system. I loved the mixture of tech and magic. I loved the elves and ogres and everything else the Shadowrun guys came up with. So, I read all of those books I could get my hands on. And honestly, if I still had any of them, I’d probably read them again as comfort reading. (Yes, I’m one of those. I have several books/series of books I keep on hand in spite of having read them multiple times, because reading them makes me happy and requires very little braining. The Cat Who books by Lilian Jackson Braun and Anne McCafferey’s Dragonsinger books are two of these.)
My love of Nigel Findley’s Shadowrun books and a brief teenage infatuation with a series of books that rhyme with “FlagonDance”, notwithstanding, they’re really not that great. I’m ok with admitting that I like stuff that’s kind of crap. Sometimes that’s what you need. But in the 2000s, the folks at Games Workshop started up the Black Library imprint.
*cue choir of angels*
The Black Library books are GOOD. Seriously good. I started out reading the Jack Yeovil (pen name for Kim Newman) stuff, about Genevieve much of which had originally appeared in issues of White Dwarf, because vampires, duh. Then I discovered William King’s Felix and Gotrek novels.
Ok, I’ve been reading really spectacularly graphic horror since I was ten. I love horror, I love the gross out. The description of the Plague Skaven in Skaven Slayer made me have to quit eating lunch and wait until the nausea passed. I think the only other fictional thing that’s given me that kind of visceral response was the scene in Dead Alive where the one zombie’s pus squirts into someone’s soup. Seriously, barf.
Anyway, the Felix and Gotrek novels are amazing. As are the Gaunt’s Ghosts books by Dan Abnett. I’ve also read the Brunner the Bounty Hunter books and the Witch Hunter books. My friend Alex has loaned me the first Caiphas Caine omnibus, which is on my to-read list right after finishing Gail Carriger’s books. I’ve got a back log of Black Library books to finish reading in general. The problem with reading the 40K stuff is that I’ve never played that much 40K. Granted, you really don’t need to be familiar with the games to enjoy the books as stand alone works of fiction. But it does help to give you some insight into backstory you wouldn’t otherwise have.
Honestly, I think the Black Library stuff as a whole is far, far above and beyond the quality of most game-related fiction out there. Jilli (The Lady of the Manners) says that the stuff White Wolf published to support their Victorian Vampire setting is actually pretty good, but I haven’t had a chance to read that yet, so I don’t know.
Let me know if you guys have read or heard of any good game-related fiction out there. I’ve already been told by one rabid HALO fan that the HALO-related fiction is kind of not good, and that unless you are a rabid HALO fan, that it is best avoided. I’ve not read any WoW-related fiction, although I’m reasonably sure it exists. What are your favorites? Or do you avoid it all like the plague
ETA: Really? Not until JULY???? That is not playing fair.