The Elder Thoughts

Book Review: Old Soldiers Never Die

Old Soldiers Never Die novella cover

Old Soldiers Never Die is a novella about Ciaphas Cain, an imperial Commissar who wants to avoid trouble but seems to always find it (and often, solves it). A hero for some, a manipulator for others, but seems that quite an adventures-filled life is his.

In this specific tale, we can read some points of view (both from Cain's memories and from other allies present at the time) about a travel to a planet that just had an insurrection... and seems to have now a strange plague that turns the dead into zombies. Where does it came from, and how to stop it?

I hadn't read before anything about this character and it is entertaining, you never know if his point of view is really humble or crafted, if he really wants to avoid problems or just paints the events as fortuitous, but makes for a good although a bit short read. I'll at least try to read more novels as seems that he has a bunch of stories.

Book Review: By the Lion's Command

By the Lion's Command book cover

By the Lion's Command is another short story I recently read about my beloved Dark Angels (in the Horus Heresy era). In it a DA vessel is going to be attacked by the Death Guard's flagship, while they stand near a planet that recently became neutral and doesn't wants to help them. The enemy is closing quickly and they need to do something as they cannot stand the enemy warship at a direct assault, will they survive?

Not a bad read but feels too short. For 3 euros I'd say better to wait until there's a pack or offer because you can read it in less than an hour. At least is well written and generates a nice feeling of pressure.

Magnetized Contemptor Dreadnought from Betrayal at Calth

The other day going for a walk I passed by my favourite local store and saw the Betrayal at Calth boxes. I do like Horus Heresy, but those MKIV helmets are not my favourite ones (I love MKIII and like a lot MKII, though), so when I read that they had a 15% discount on the game, had an idea: If I could find some Forge World MKIII heads at bitz websites, 31 models (plus the terminators and the dreadnought) would indeed be cheaper than the 5-man ForgeWorld squads, which at 24£ per squad + 15% total cost as shipping are way too expensive for delivering to Spain (and don't even come with weapons!). Betrayal at Calth on the other hand has lots of extra weapon options (I love the Rogue Trader-era missile launchers).

So, I decided to risk it and bought the game. And searched among some bitz sites I know for 31 heads. And ended purchasing around 25 MKIII helmets & 10 MKII ones (I couldn't resist having a few spare ones). And now I have a table full of 30-something minis half-assembled waiting to have enough spare time to finish the job.

But I've went a bit off the main topic, which was that when I checked the contemptor dreadnought sprue I thought I could magnetize its right arm to be able to switch the weapons (because both are full arms, not just the weapon piece). And I'm glad to report that it can easily be done and the results are nice, but I'll simply show some photos:

Magnetized Contemptor Dreadnought photo

Magnetized Contemptor Dreadnought photo

Magnetized Contemptor Dreadnought photo

Magnetized Contemptor Dreadnought photo

Now, time to go back and keep assembling those 30k marines, because afterwards for some time I plan to not buy any new model and focus istead at painting.

Book Review: The Martian

The Martian book cover

I had heard really positive comments about The Martian, so for my recent holidays I decided to grab it for my Kindle and read it. I could just say that I enjoyed the reading a lot, each day spending at least one hour (but usually was two or three) reading as much as possible from the adventures of Mark Watney, an astronaut sent to Mars who due to a storm gets hit and left for dead by his crewmates. When he wakes up, wounded but alive, refuses to die and starts surviving at the red planet while trying to think how to solve the main problem of being stranded in Mars.

The book is full of (interestingly) adventures, and really the only negative point I see of it is that our main character, being "just" a botanist and engineer actually solves every kind of problem in record time, from food shortages to all kind of accidents and environmental adversities. I am not saying he should "fail" to solve more challenges he encounters, but he is a so fast thinker that he feels so clever (like as if MacGyver went to Mars).

The story is thrilling, the topic is really specific and technical but well written so that a broad audience can understand, and I definetly recommend it to any sci-fi or adventures reader.

I also think that the best merchandising they should have done for this book (and maybe the movie, as I haven't watched it yet) is to have a LEGO kit with the rover vehicles and the habitation hub (plus Watney as a minifig).

Book Review: Dark Vengeance

Dark Vengeance book cover

Dark Vengeance is the second book based on a GW boardgame or WH40k edition I read (first was Space Hulk novel), and as a spoiler, again I feel it is a weak read made just to complement the 6th edition box set.

We're told the story of how the Dark Angels, who on their (typical) search for the Fallen hit a planet where they find not only chaos cultists, but renegade space marines from the Crimson Slaughter chapter and the battle they get into. Each chapter is told from different points of view, not only from the loyal marines, but also from chaos ones and even weirder subjects as a cultist or even the hellbrute. This makes some chapters feel... strange, culminating with the librarian being able to see far in the future some stuff by fraction of seconds (pretty much like recent Sherlock Holmes movies). Add to that that half of the story is pretty bland and typical, and yes, we indeed learn the origins of the new chapter of chaos space marines but... I felt dissapointed, I just expected something less dumb. Also, not entering into details it didn't felt to me as "the mind" of a chaos SM* would think and work that way.

I haven't read other books featuring the chaotic space marines so might be how they are portaited, but if so... I'd rather keep my imagination flowing.

Overall, a dull reading, you can skip it.