Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Outcast Dead: Criticism and Question

Having read "The Outcast Dead" over the vacation period, I had a number of criticisms and questions arising.  For those reader who haven't read the book, please turn away now as I don't want to accidentally be giving spoilers!

My first criticism about the book is the names of the characters and their spelling.  One of World Eaters characters is called Asubha (at least according to the dramatis personae at the front of the book; which curiously enough translates as "impurity" in English).  However, at various points in the book, the spelling shifts to Ashuba.  I personally found this to be quite distracting and hoped that it didn't mean a lack of proof reading.  Yet, there were other gramatical mistakes that a read-through should have caught (e.g. repition of "the" -- i.e. "the the") and some sentences that didn't feel quite right.

Those criticisms aside, I did enjoy the book and felt it lit up a previously unexplored region of the Horus Heresy' parameter space.

But I was left wondering at the end of the book about the timing of various events.  In particular, when was Magnus' warning to the Emperor delivered (at least in relation to real-time events in the Istvaan / Isstvan system)?  My impression was that Magnus knew things before the Heresy started to unfold and reveal itself fully.  But reading the Outcast Dead, I'm now a bit confused about whether the drop site massacre happened before or after Magnus delivered his warning.  And following on from that, how soon were the Space Wolves deployed to Prospero?  Or put another way: why weren't they dispatched to Isstvan with the Iron Hands et al. or told to come back to Terra to help defend like the White Scars were?  So confused!


Crimsonshark said...

I have not yet read the Outcast Dead, it is on the shelf looking at me and asking why not?....but in regards to Magnus, it is my understanding that he sent his warning before the virus bombing of Isstvan III by Horus. In the book "False Gods", he tries to intervene psychically to keep Horus from being corrupted by Chaos while Horus is lying wounded on Davin (also redone in "A Thousand Sons", it is after he fails that he sends his psy communication to Terra and wrecks the Emperors work, you can find this in "A Thousand Sons", this all happens before the Heresy starts. So the Wolves were sent to reign in Magnus before the start of the Heresy, much to Horus's delight as that meant that the Wolves would be far away and tied up as in the book "Prospero Burns" it is mentioned that all the Legions have a purpose and it is the purpose of the Wolves to deal with other legions that stray from the path that the emperor set forth, hinted that they had something to do with the end of one of the 2 missing legions.

Gotthammer said...

The timeline seemed to me to be:

Istvaan massacre - Horus betrays his own troops, six legions sent to bring him to heel.

Drop Site massacre.

Word reaches Terra of the further betrayal and death of Ferrus Mannus.

Magnus' warning arrives shortly after word reaches Terra - triggering the message central to Outcast Dead due to the massive warp intrusion.

Space Wolves sent to Prospero, events of Prospero Burns happen.

As for why the Wolves were sent, perhaps the answer lies in Kai's vision - the Emperor saw that he had to send the Wolves to take care of Magnus or they'd be at full strength when attacking with Horus later.
He didn't send them to Istvaan as he wanted to blood as many legions as possible against the traitors, or hope they'd surrender if not faced by the Wolves (they are His executioners after all)?

Crimsonshark said...

Well I went to Graham's website and someone there also brought up the time line thing, as it was Graham that wrote all three books that deal with this chain of events, this was his response on Jan 9th 2012:

"Trust me, all will be revealed in time. Surely, the themes of the book are teaching us to take nothing at face value...
Graham McNeill"

JustinM said...

And what's up with the reference to Magnus's eyes. EYES?????


Anonymous said...

The proofreading was a bit lacking. However I'd like to point out that this is probably because BL was a year ago starting the hiring process for 2 new editors. That means there's a fair chance that the "menial editing" like spell-checking etc was done by a new person who may or may not have had prior experiance. Not an excuse, just my reasoning.
As to when the wolves were launched... well Magnus' first trip to warn Horus is when he's on Davin, then there is a significant amount of time between that (some months if memory serves) and his second trip. From A Thousand Sons, Prospero Burns, and The Outcast Dead I'd say that the wolves were dispatched prior to the dropsite massacre, maybe even at Horus' behest like the old fluff hinted at. But the Custodes and Sisters of Silence joined the fleet after the dropsite massacre and Magnus' warning, changing a "find and return" mission to a kill order.

jabberjabber said...

Hey guys -- thanks for the terrific and detailed responses. They have helped :)

Given Graham McNeill is saying that everything will be revealed in the goodness of time, I'm happy to wait a little longer.

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