Friday, 27 June 2014

Warhammer Week – A Couple More Short Stories

 Because the train was packed this morning and it was all I could do to hold my phone at eye level, let alone a book… I’m looking forward to a slightly less congested commute to my new job (optimism beats realism every time!)

So yeah, more Warhammer short stories are the order of the day. I already said, yesterday, why I think Warhammer short stories are great; just scroll down a little bit if you missed it. The two stories on show today are a move away from tying into established series and are more like snapshots of the war torn Old World. I have to say that in terms of the end result here it was hit and miss.

The whole thing about Warhammer is that it's all about the fighting and warfare; that's the whole point and it doesn't leave the writer a lot of scope to write about other things. That's okay though, if you're clever then you can still tell a decent story, even if you can't vary the subject matter. It's a shame then that Jonathan Green chooses not to do this with 'Sticks and Stones' .
That's not to say that 'Sticks and Stones' isn't a good read; Green writes a mean set piece with scenes of battle that stir the blood (I want to be a pistolier now). The problem though is that's all 'Stick and Stones' is, you get plenty of fighting but you don't get a sense of who the fighters are, what they are fighting for or even why. The end result then is a story that does a job but feels strangely shallow for it.

'Bernheimer's Gun' though... Here's a tale that does exactly the opposite of 'Sticks and Stones' and is all the better for it. Reynolds really takes time to get to know his characters and gives plausible motivation for their actions ('the city is in danger' is a well known trope but at least we know why they are fighting. The chases (which I loved) and the fights that follow just make more sense and that ultimately kept me going with 'Bernheimer's Gun'. I'd love to read more about Marienburg and its denizens.

So, which one would I choose as personal favourite? It's not hard and I'm now really keen to read more by Reynolds now. I'll see what I can find.
In the meantime, that's five stories down and two more to go... Keep an eye out, I'll be back with those two fairly shortly...

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