Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Alexandria's Genesis

Alexandria's Genesis is a fictional human mutation circulating on the internet.  Supposedly individuals with this mutation have pale skin, purple eyes, no facial hair, long lifespans and perfect physiques. 

According to internet lore:
"The first recorded case of Alexandria's genesis was a woman named Alexandria Augustine in 1329 London. Her parents, upon realizing her most distinct feature, the purple eyes, decide that she must be possessed and take her to a priest, to have her exorcised. Luckily, the priest had heard of the mutation before and told the parents that nothing was wrong with their daughter. According to legend, after a flash of light over Egypt some odd thousand years ago, the people with purple eyes and very fair skin had appeared only to disappear north and were lost till Alexandria showed up."
Alexandria's Genesis is not real - it is a fabrication of author Cameron Aubernon who first wrote about the supposed mutation for a Daria fan fiction.  Says Cameron:
"Nearly 15 years ago (circa 1998), I was a huge fan of Daria, MTV's favorite high school cynic. I had also discovered fanfiction then, and when I found some related to my favorite show, I wanted to leave my mark. I just didn't know my mark would be the size of a logic-bomb crater.

On the night of 15 December 2011, something I created under a male pseudonym when I was 19 turned up on my Tumblr dashboard. Something that I made up as a silly backstory for my two Daria-based Mary Sues (fan fiction characters who are "perfect" in every manner possible... and then some). Something that, in turn, was my projection of my personal gender identity and body image issues that I was starting to confront in my 20s.

This something, in the 15 years since I first wrote it, had taken a life of its own. This something was Alexandria's Genesis, a fictional posthuman/alien genetic mutation I created in order to make my Mary Sues more... special.

The short version: Alexandria's Genesis is not, was not, and will never be a real thing; it was a silly little back story for someone's entertaining first draft."  

It's not clear to what degree the myth of Alexandria's Genesis may have influenced early depictions of the Emperor's Children in Black Library fiction, but similar imagery has been a popular trope in fantasy, sci-fiction and anime.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Emperor's Children short fiction: The Lucid Blade

Chapter I:   

Alsace Kojiro strode across the crackling tundra, his indigo eyes glinting with amusement.  The void stalker had sought to come upon him unaware.  Thanks to an indistinct shimmer in the air and the sound of snapping reeds, he had however been alerted of its presence well in advance.  Once close enough Alsace had struck, his sizzling power sword exploding into his hand in a flash of color and light.  The battle had been over in mere seconds.  Now the defeated creature’s carcass lay slumped behind him, gently effervescing into a volcanic pool of sulfurous water. 

Alsace was a true son of Fulgrim.  His features were aristocratic and proud.  Stirred by his recent clash, his long snowy locks swirled around him dramatically in shining diaphanous waves.  The faded travel cloak that Alsace wore could not mask his massive physique, or muffle the soothing purr of his venerated purple magenta power armor underneath. 

Alsace had a purpose for being on this subarctic planet.  Eighty years earlier the III Legion strike cruiser Veritable Intensity had hurriedly translated from the warp close to Ophelia IV, heavily wounded and bleeding white hot promethium into the atmosphere.  The trajectory of the mighty warship had arced violently through the skies of the planet, culminating in a catastrophic crash on the previously pristine snowy surface.  None of the crew had survived, such was the impact of the massive collision.  Lost with the calamity had been one of the true relics of the Legion: 

Lux in Tenebris, the lucid blade.     


Monday, December 12, 2016

Review of The Embrace of Pain

The Embrace of Pain is an audio drama by Ian St. Martin released as part of Advent 2016.

"Lucius the Eternal is openly challenged by a champion of the old Death Guard Legion. Could an immortal daemonhost, blessed by Nurgle, be the undoing of the blademaster’s curse?"
The Emperor's Children have been surprisingly popular with Black Library this Advent.  In addition to the excellent novel Fabius Bile: Primogenitor, this is the third short story or audio drama released in December.

This work provides a small window into Lucius' regular existence in the Eye of Terror.  One should not expect any great plot developments.  However the drama is deftly executed, and the voice acting is well done.  And similar to a number of the other recent Emperor's Children stories recently released, there is a sense that the warp is trying to tell the remaining remnants of the III legion something of note.  An event of great significance may be coming in the near future.

Overall I give this audio drama a *** of out five.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Review of Prodigal

Prodigal is a short story by Josh Reynolds about Fabius Bile release as part of Advent 2016.

"When Fabius Bile is attacked by daemons aboard his frigate Versalius, he is surprised to be rescued by an old friend, one of his very first experiments. But does the prodigal’s return bode well or ill?"

Prodigal is a quick read tie in with Fabius Bile: Primogenitor.  The short story is similar to that novel insofar as it reveals a surprising human aspect to a man that is renown as one of the most feared monsters in the Warhammer universe.

The short story is an interesting read, and provides greater insight into Fabius' motivations, his relationship with Fulgrim, and his future legacy.  Being a short story there are not necessary any references to the Horus Heresy in the reading, but there is nevertheless some interesting Emperor's Children information to be gleaned.  Overall it is a tale worth hearing.  When Fabius Bile is involved, the rules that normally bind other space marines do not apply.

Overall I give it a *** out of five.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Review of The Soul Severed

The Soul Severed is a new audio drama by Chris Wraight released as part of Advent 2016.  The story centers around Eidolon's actions after the events of The Path of Heaven, and the direction he believes that the legion should take going forward.
The Soul Severed is yet another very strong showing by Wraight.  His writing is carefully intricate and accessible, and vividly describes the beauty and the horror of what the III legion has become.

While some of the voice acting could be a bit stronger, the audio drama is very effectively augmented through the use of background sound effects and environmental sounds.  It certainly is very interesting to hear a rendition of Eidolon's sonic scream attack rendered in audio drama format!

The Soul Severed provides an important link in the story of the lost nobility of the Emperor's Children and their ongoing pathway toward the final act of the Horus Heresy.

Overall I rate this audio drama *** 1/2 out of five.  It is my understanding that this audio drama will be part of the upcoming compilation, Echoes of Revelation.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Fabius Bile: Primogenitor

Fabius Bile: Primogenitor by Josh Reynolds is a masterpiece and a must read for Emperor's Children fans.  Although the story is set in the current 40K timeline, numerous references are made to previous events that occurred before, during and after the Horus Heresy.

The plot centers around a previous protegee of Fabius named Oleander who is a former III legion apothecary.  Oleander is now in the service of a Slaaneshi chaos warlord called The Radiant.  He  seeks to draw his former master into an epic undertaking that could reshape the future of the Emperor's Children.

The book is notable for giving rare insight into many aspects of Chemosian and III legion culture, practice and history.  The novel also does an admirable job of spinning a patchwork of different source materials into a seamless whole.  Josh Reynolds has obviously done his homework, and also does not hesitate to add creative flourishes of his own to advance the lore of the story.  While he does echo certain well worn chaos tropes from Aaron Dembski-Bowden and Graham McNeil, when he does so it helps mesh this story as part of the overall narrative.

No less masterful is the author's sensitive handling of the reader's sensibilities.  Portrayals of the fallen Emperor's Children can easily slide into lurid depictions of senseless hedonism, body horror and cartoon villainy without greater purpose.  Fabius Bile is foremost a scientist and a pragmatist, and one finds oneself surprisingly sympathetic to his motivations and perspective, if not even identifying with him as an antihero.

A very impressive journey and one well worth the effort. 

I give Fabius Bile: Primogenitor **** out of five.