Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Guilty Pleasure

I like to think I have good taste in books. Of course this could be misguided egotism, but nevertheless I have got one or two celebrated contemporary works on my bookshelf and like to casually drop them into conversation to make myself seem classy and sophisticated, which is not as easy as it sounds.

However I do have a confession to make; I love Warhammer 40,000 novels.

Black Library Publishing first started printing Fantasy and Science Fiction books in 1999 and now has over 200 titles to its name. It is based on the famous ‘Gamesworkshop’ franchise; a board game where you collect and paint miniature models then play turn based battle games with your friends. I never really got into the board game even when I was 12 but I have always found the idea of Warhammer 40,000 really interesting. Therefore when the novels came out I thought I’d give them a try.

The 40k books are set in the ‘Warhammer 40,000’ universe a dark envisioning of a bleak future where Humanity is locked in constant bloody warfare with alien races, heretics and daemons. Protecting this vast empire is an army of genetically modified, heavily armoured, fearless soldiers of the future called ‘Space Marines’.
Most of the novels chronicle the adventures of the Space Marines as they combat their many varied enemies. The novels are diverse with a highly complex and detailed universe as a backdrop allowing the authors lots of ideas to play with but, of course, the main theme of the books is battle. The books are not all written by the same person but many different authors.

Why do I like them? Well, for easy-to-read science fiction fluff it is second to none. I have always found the Warhammer 40k universe exciting and interesting. The Space Marines are fun to read about and the battles they fight are well described and often quite exciting. I love science fiction anyway and although I am undoubtedly geeky I staunchly refuse to collect and paint miniature models at my age so the novels are a handy way to appreciate 40k without seeming sad (well, too sad)
Of course they do have their downsides; some of the books are poorly edited, some contain spelling and punctuation errors but not all of them. Also since the original board game was designed to appeal to young boys bloodshed and battle are very common themes. This is OK but sometimes becomes too repetitive.

I have read three 40k books and intend to read more in the future. Of course I’m not the only one with ‘guilty pleasures’, Jess likes to sometimes read vampire books such as the Sookie Stackhouse novels when she wants something quick, easy to read and not too challenging. Does anyone else have books which they know they can dip into when but wouldn’t exactly shout it from the rooftops?


  1. I love Chick lit - Shopaholic and Bridget Jones type stuff. I find it funny that on my blog you'll see a bunch of serious non-fiction stuff and well known contemporary literature, then randomly come across a review of some cheesy and fluffy chick lit book. It's my guilty pleasure reading, and a welcome change after reading a lot of deep stuff. But I don't mind shouting it from the rooftops!

  2. I read science fiction/fantasy and crime when I want an easy read. Also, Enid Blyton - I certainly won't shout that from the rooftops!

  3. @ Shan: I did notice from looking at your blog the occasional guilty chicklit sneaking in! lol by the way I really liked your review of Less is More, I haven't read it myself but it sounds interesting.

    @ The Book Mole: I used to love reading Point Horrors when I was a kid, very easy to read and always the same formula. I have the Faraway Tree series upstairs for when my son is old enough to appreciate them but haven't read them myself for years :o)