The Master of Mankind

Discussions about all HH releases. Abandon hope (of avoiding spoilers) all yea who enter here! You have been warned...

The Master of Mankind

Shadows
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Shadows
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Joined: 04 Oct 2016, 04:55

26 Nov 2016, 14:37 #1

100 pages in...how great is this book?

So many interesting possibilities being offered up for discussion. I can't wait for this thread to continue after people start reading it.

Go buy this book!

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ChildofFang
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Joined: 24 Jan 2013, 15:04

26 Nov 2016, 15:08 #2


Great at 100? It gets better....
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Nuttyer1st
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Nuttyer1st
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Joined: 03 May 2013, 17:37

26 Nov 2016, 18:56 #3

Finished it, and it was good.

Several very cool parts such as the glimpses at the emperors past, the poor psykers and everything involving Arkan Land who I thought was far and away the most interesting character.

Will Kane suffer any sanctions for what happened?

I now really hope the next black legion book ties into this.

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Ahriman's Aide
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Joined: 05 Jan 2013, 06:56

26 Nov 2016, 20:24 #4

This is a thread for discussion of The Master of Mankind.

The standard rules for book discussions apply.

+++

I have never felt more conflicted about a HH book than I do about this one. ADB has a habit of leaving me cold whenever I finish a book of his, which I consider a testimony to his writing. Normally I can instantly say if I love a boom or not, but here I find myself torn. There are things about this book that rub me the wrong way.

Let’s start with the positives, and as always with ADB there is a lot of them.

The revelation of Drach'nyen was also a surprise. Drach'nyen promising that it would be the one to kill the Emperor, and the Emperor saying ‘maybe, but not today’ did set up something I fully expect to see in the future. Given that apparently ADB's next Black Legion book will feature him getting Drach'nyen so my guess is that in exchange for service as a weapon, Drach'nyen will be the one to kill the Emperor.

The action was actually far more limited than I was expecting. Much of the book wasn’t bolter porn in the Webway, but attempts to reinforce the Webway armies and playing politics in the Palace itself. That was kind of refreshing, reminded me of earlier books like Nemesis. The loyalist Mechanicum being super salty about Mars being in traitor hands and increasingly only support the Emperor because without him they can't get back to Mars, and in the end rebelling and breaking off to try and get back to Mars themselves was an interesting twist. Kane’s probably going to get chewed out over that, and I wonder how iut will affect the founding of the Adeptus Mechanicus.

A good chunk of the book gives a detailed description of the journey from the palace down to the Webway gate, and It becomes obvious that this road was meant to be the way humanity travelled to the stars once that whole pesky spaceship problem was done away with; what would become the Throne Room was really meant to be the Departure Lounge of the Terra intergalactic Webwayport.

The Custodians being Turboautists is kind of funny. That scene with the Custodian and the Space Marine and both dealing with a couple of human kids was an excellent vision into just how different the two breeds are. The Emperor has a massive attachment to them, more than it seems any of his other creations, seeing each of them as unique works of art he's proud of creating. The first Custodian to 'die', the Emperor is having none of it and has him personally made into a Dreadnought (the first one of all?) It's pretty much confirmed the Custodes exterminated the Thunder Warriors, with one of them wondering if they were to do the same to the Astartes.

The ‘revelations’ of the Emperor’s plan are pretty conservative in regards to anything new. Mostly they’re clarifications of what we’ve already been told before. He is utterly devoted to ensuring humanity survives and his plan would have totally worked if it weren't for Horus and Magnus ruining it all, He's dedicated His entire existence to it and has no interest in glory, worship, personal anything and rejects people saying He's arrogant and power hungry completely, everything, everything goes to the plan and he has no time for any crap. He does indeed manipulate the primarchs and people in general to this end, but explains that the ends justify the means.

So that’s the good. Now onto the other stuff.

The biggest thing of all is both a fix and a massive fault. Something which in a second both explains why the Emperor is the worst father ever, and also ruins what is his final and possibly finest moment.

So the Emperor considers the Primarchs nothing more than tools, and refers to them not by name, but by number. They are items to forge his Empire, and when asked about why they call him father, he refers to Pinocchio and that is how he sees that. Now this perfectly explains why the Emperor is such a dick, why should he care about toppling Lorgar’s worldview, or Angron’s pain, or explaining to any of the Primarchs anything, if they are mere tools to use and discard? At a stroke, it cleans up that issue. But in doing so it creates another, possibly even bigger one.

So this is how William King wrote the climactic scene of the Horus Heresy where the Emperor confronts Horus on the Vengeful Spirit way back when, a slightly modified version of which appears in Visions of Heresy.

The Warmaster bestrides the body of a broken angel. Behind him, the tortured earth fills the viewport, a bauble for Horus to seize with one clawed hand. Corpses of massacred marines lie everywhere.

Face glowing with internal bloodlight, Horus speaks. "Poor Sanguinius. I offered him a position of power in the new order. He could have sat at the right hand of a god. Alas, he chose to align himself with the losing side."

The Emperor stands transfixed, trying to force frozen words from his tongue. In the end, he can only whisper "Why?”’


And then later, this:

The Lord of Humanity stands alone against their massed might and knows that he is losing. Somehow he cannot bring his full force to bear on the Warmaster; the Warmaster might be a traitor, but deep within him he was still the favoured son, the finest of the primarchs, the beloved scion.


And this is how it seems it would work now thanks to the revelations of Master of Mankind.

Number XVI bestrides the broken body of Number IX. The Emperor looks blankly at them, sighs, goes SSGSS and blasts XVI with a Psychic Kamehameha so powerful the Chaos Gods themselves go ‘Damn’


AKA what actually happened, but only after the Emperor was torn into bloody shreds by Horus because he was holding back.

By removing the Emperor seeing any of the Primarchs as children or even caring about them beyond mere tools, it also removes his reasoning for not instantly obliterating Horus the moment he sees him on the Vengeful Sprit. It’s been mentioned that the Emperor was nearly killed because he held back, because he did not instantly just terminate Horus with extreme prejudice. But here, ADB has utterly removed that. There is literally no reason at all why the Emperor would not simply unleash his full power and snuff Horus out like a Tsunami on a bonfire. Which suggests one of two things. Either the Emperor was lying and he does care about the Primarchs, or that thanks to Horus’ power up even at his full power the Emperor was not stronger than Horus and couldn’t simply obliterate him and had to slug it out, getting ripped up as a result.

But far more than that, it also utterly robs said scene of the emotional intensity that has been attributed to it from the very start. Several times the emotional weight of Father confronting son and the final clash has been made both in and out of universe, and here it’s all swept away. Its creator confronts tool. That has nowhere near the same level of intensity or emotional resonance. How can you empathize with that?

I still remember the ‘Matt Damon killed MLK’ skubstorm, but this goes well beyond that.

Another thing that I find egregious is the shilling of Abaddon this early. 'Learning from Horus's mistakes' is a pretty damn obvious clue, and it's annoying he has the Emperor going 'We’re Domed! Doomed!’ like he’s Private Frasier or something. Like I can see the Emperor doubting the Imperium's survival against the Necrons or the Tyranids or even the Orks as they come pretty close, but him being fatalistic and essentially giving up all hope of victory at the prospect of facing Abaddon and Chaos when it's a major threat, but certainly not the only one and quite possibly not even the most dangerous does rub me the wrong way. Though I know that Chaos as the only thrue enemy above everything else has been pushed recently (Though given the multitude of threats any victory Abaddon wins will be short lived and hollow).

I want to love this story, I really do. But I can’t give it the same ringing endorsement I gave Path of Heaven when I finished that one. That one did not leave me this cold and conflicted. Perhaps that’s the ultimate testimony to ADB, that he can bring out such an emotional reaction. If by some miracle he is the one to write the Emperor vs Horus, maybe he can give the same to the characters so there’s more to that scene then an erstwhile weapon meeting its maker, literally.
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LaurieGoulding
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Joined: 01 Jan 2013, 23:28

26 Nov 2016, 20:39 #5

Some interesting points. Nice to see this book getting a good and critical going over by everyone.

Don't for one minute think that William King's HH text will not be completely retconned at the first opportunity. I can give you a peek behind the curtain - I wanted to have Alan Merrett completely overwrite that really outdated passage for 'Visions of Heresy', and Alan wanted to do it... but we simply didn't have time before the deadline. We'll get to that task at some future point.

But William King's original HH text is no more canon than 'Space Marine' by Ian Watson. It's painful to see people clinging to it like it's the word of god, when everything else has been correctly, authentically and appropriately re-told since then.

Keep the discussion going though! B)
Look, I don't work there anymore. I can only smile and nod politely now.
If you've got a complaint about GW or BL, probably best to speak to them, not me...
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IHF
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Joined: 09 Mar 2016, 17:58

26 Nov 2016, 21:10 #6

@ Ahriman's Aide

I do agree that the emotional reaction of the Emperor to Horus' fall adds a huge degree of poignancy to their fight, but I don't think that the description of the Emperor's attitude to the Primarchs means that it's completely out the window (I, for one hope it's maintained when the Siege is covered).

Like you said, it's possible the Emperor was lying in relation to how he feels about the Primarchs, and I'd like to think he's lying to himself as much as he is anyone else. To achieve his goals, he's had to be utterly callous and clinical, and has sacrificed his 'humanity' to some extent (whether he had it in the first place is another matter). So I like to think that at this point, he earnestly believes he has no emotional ties to the Primarchs, because they kinda have to be disposable when the Great Crusade is won. At this point, only Ferrus is dead, and the Emperor wasn't around for that, so it would be understandable if he didn't seem to have an emotional reaction to his son's death when you consider who the Emperor is.

But confronting Horus, and seeing Sanguinius' broken corpse could bring forth emotions he's repressed out of necessity, and force him to confront the fact that he does care about the Primarchs (probably not equally, but still).

That's how I like to think about it anyway
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Ahriman's Aide
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Joined: 05 Jan 2013, 06:56

26 Nov 2016, 21:16 #7

LaurieGoulding @ Nov 26 2016, 08:39 PM wrote: Some interesting points. Nice to see this book getting a good and critical going over by everyone.

Don't for one minute think that William King's HH text will not be completely retconned at the first opportunity. I can give you a peek behind the curtain - I wanted to have Alan Merrett completely overwrite that really outdated passage for 'Visions of Heresy', and Alan wanted to do it... but we simply didn't have time before the deadline. We'll get to that task at some future point.

But William King's original HH text is no more canon than 'Space Marine' by Ian Watson. It's painful to see people clinging to it like it's the word of god, when everything else has been correctly, authentically and appropriately re-told since then.

Keep the discussion going though! B)

I was not clinging to it, I was using it to illustrate a point. That point being killing any form of emotional investment in the Emperor vs Horus fight and calling into question the motivation behind the Emperor not instantly going all out and obliterating Horus. You do have a habit of dancing around the question instead of just answering it directly. You'd make a great politician.

Laurie Goulding for Prime Minister?
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marshal2crusaders
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Joined: 09 Jan 2014, 14:13

26 Nov 2016, 22:03 #8

Drach'nyen was able to wound the Emperor in their fight and its just a random Daemon. Certainly no where near the level of Horus + Chaos.
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ChildofFang
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Joined: 24 Jan 2013, 15:04

26 Nov 2016, 22:07 #9


You could look at the old 'holding his power back hoping to save his son' being the story told to make The Emperor appear to be more Human. Assuming that the end fight doesn't feature that aspect we can't just say it wont work as that last fight can then be written a number of ways. If something is set to be altered you can't complain about it's alteration untill it has actually happened. That very thing happened for lots of people with AoS - how do you change A to B and hen after reading it they find it actually changed to C.

Having the Primarchs as tools actually makes a lot of the decisions the Emperor makes with them feel much more real. The amount of discussions of 'dick' moves by The Emperor suddenly take on a different meaning with this information.

I actually also like the part where The E has to accept that humanity can't win - we have known it in 40K for a while but I have always atributed it to the breaking of the Crusade with Horus turning. As soon as it was spelled out it was obvious that actually the Imperium could rebuild in the end but without the Webway they could never ever ever survive. Magnus is the big bad of the Heresy after all, it's always been there but Horus tends to get the attention and it's ace to look at it differently.

Also I reckon that ADB did not just change stuff - fairly sure that anything that is not what was expected was agreed to by a few people. I mean I reckon they have people just to do that job.
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Will Wright
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Joined: 02 Jan 2013, 19:01

27 Nov 2016, 21:32 #10

One thing in Emp of Man that struck me funny
Some saw the mist as golden some saw it as azure (blue)


I say Anyone with half a brain can clearly see the mist is azure.

30k years and that damn dress still haunts us.


Hey guys what Warhammer/40k bit would make a good Land head?
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