– by Andrew Charlton
Warhammer 40 000, the birthplace of the term “grimdark”. It’s an amazing science fiction universe. Truly, its depth and design are without equal in my eyes. Endless stories wait for those who dive in, and limitless excitement can be found in their pages.
But 40k is a terribly… Dense universe. It can be very hard to break into. All authors in the Black Library (Games Workshop’s publishing company) are a bit too fond of assuming their readership is already familiar with the universe.
This leads them to just throwing around terms and expecting their readers to already be familiar with them.
So it’s easy to see why people, even those with an interest can be intimidated by the universe. It’s hard to know where to get started, which book to start on and to know how to ease yourself into the science fiction universe, but fear not! I’m here today to give my recommendation. The perfect series to get your start.
Ciaphas Cain, Hero of the Imperium. The story of a cowardly commissar who just wants to live it easy but is forced repeatedly to rise to the occasion by his reputation, peers and his own damned sense of justice.
I love this series, because compared to a lot of other 40k series, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It has fun with the ridiculous nature of some aspects of the universe. It’s not afraid to poke fun, and there’s genuine levity in it.
Written as the memoirs of Cain himself, recounting his adventures, the stories are edited by his lover, Inquisitor Amberly Vail. She leaves annotations throughout the books that are a mix of snarky comments, and a direct counter to the usual problem 40k issues.
You see, Cain is much the same as real authors; he assumes you know what he’s talking about when he’s throwing about terms and abbreviations. Vail doesn’t, she leaves annotations to explain these terms. She makes everything clear for the reader. Her explanations are very handy for a new reader, and it lets people ease themselves into the tone and content of the universe.
Most importantly, the stories are ever so enjoyable. They’re funny, exciting and action filled. They’re just the right blend of serious military warfare and good old sci-fi action.
Ciaphas Cain and his aid alike pull off the impossible over and over, and you find yourself eager to see how he uses his cunning next to solve the next do or die situation he finds himself in.
So there you have it, if you’ve ever had even a passing interest in 40k. I hugely suggest giving Ciaphas Cain a look. I promise you won’t regret it.