Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Review: Fear The Alien, Edited by Christian Dunn

Fear The Alien, Edited by Christian Dunn
416 pages
Advance Reader Copy

The Imperium of Man has many enemies among the stars, but none are reviled so much as the alien. Dangerous races seek to destroy humanity wherever they turn –the brutish orks, the ravening hordes of the tyranid, the unrelenting necrons and the mysterious forces of the tau and the eldar. Across the universe, humanity and their defenders, the Space Marines, seek to eradicate these xenos threats. Yet all they can hope for is another day of survival – for to stand against the alien is to enter an unending war... Featuring stories by Dan Abnett, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Nick Kyme, Juliet McKenna, C.L. Werner and many more, Fear the Alien is an unmissable collection for fans of Warhammer 40,000 and military science fictionhttp://blacklibrary.com

Gardens of Tycho by Dan Abnett
A fun shift from the norm: Abnett weaves a detective story in to the 40 'verse and does so nicely. Again Dan Abnett shows why he's easily one of the best authors in the BL stable. I loved the characters, especially the protagonist who is very dissimilar to many of Abnett's other protagonists. 4 Stars

Fear Itself by Juliet E. McKenna
A very strong tale of Guardsmen awaiting relief from a unit of Space Marines in the midst of a Tyranid invasion. Very gritty and very true in feel to the whole 40k "grim, dark future". Where many authors tend to save the good guys in the end, McKenna does a fine job in portraying the "holding on in the face of hopelessness" that is so very 40k. 4 Stars

Prometheus Requiem by Nick Kyme, a companion story to the Tome of Fire trilogy
Fantastic characterization! I loaned out Salamander by Nick Kyme and it never returned home, so I didn't end up reading it. After this, I went and bought it at Barnes and Noble so I could catch up. 4 Stars

Mistress Baeda's Gift by Braden Campbell
I admit it, I groaned when I saw this was a Dark Eldar story. DE tend to be so over the top evil it is hard to empathize with them. They aren't really very sympathetic characters. So I started out and I was very surprised. Braden Campbell does a fine job in telling a kind of Dark Eldar fable, complete with the moral at the end of the story. Well played!  3 Stars

Iron Inferno by C.L. Werner
Iron Inferno is a story told from two sides of the same fight: Imperial Guardsmen and Orks. Orkyness is fun, but gets old fast, but CL Werner does a fine job in making it readable. I loved how he delved in to what both sides were thinking, and as the reader getting a laugh, seeing that they were both very wrong. 3 Stars

Sanctified by Mark Clapham
This is an interesting take on an Ad Mech "John McClaine" taking on some invading Dark Eldar. It's easy to forget just how massive some of these ships are, and how nobody really knows what is going on in every nook and cranny. 3 Stars

Faces by Matt Farrer
I didn't realize until the last part of this short story that this was a [redacted] story. Honestly, "listening" to the weird madness that gripped the humans in this, I was largely lost until it all came together in the final several pages. 2 stars.

Unity by James Gilmer
This is a fantastic telling of a few guardsmen and a Raven Guard astartes on the run on a world lost to the Tau Empire. This is probably one of the best depictions of the Tau and the author does a fine job in making the reader guess how it all will end. 4 Stars

The Core by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, a companion story to the Night Lords trilogy
I know a lot of folks have been anxiously awaiting this one, and it is worth the wait. Every taste of the Night Lords trilogy, whether a whole novel or short story is a tasty morsel. 4 Stars

Ambition Knows No Bounds by Andy Hoare
A fine tale of a Rogue Trader who delves in to things far beyond their pay-grade. Rogue Trader plus Alien Artifacts plus Greed ...do the math. A fine intro for anyone considering playing Rogue Trader. 3 Stars

A very solid anthology of Xenos devilry. I don't recognize some of these author's names, but these were all excellent: I'd love to see more by them.

3.4 out of 5 Stars.
(*Thanks to Ross/ Narry for editing help.)

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