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I get it. We all want more lore. Sure. But the initial problem is the Horus Heresy, in terms of 40k, should have remained a time of legend, when the Emperor walked amongst mankind, was betrayed by his favorite son, and ascended to godhood on the Golden Throne.

The fact that it's so large with so many books, each written by different authors, creates a level of ambiguity and confusion that is probably even greater than the Imperium itself. A good example is the Emperor. He has multiple writers, each interpreting him in their own way. There's no linear direction to who the Emperor is, what he wants, his actions, etc. etc. Everyone interprets the Emperor's actions in their own way, which only goes to add more confusion to his character.

The recent Star Wars movies, for example, show just how if you take one director who has a vision he wants to create, then halfway throw in another director with a different vision, it creates inconsistency and confusion in the story you are trying to tell. You start going straight, things look promising, and then immediately take a sharp left turn.

It's basically if you took Eisenhorn, and instead of Dan Abnett writing all of the books, you throw ADB halfway in the middle. His vision for Eisenhorn and the direction of the story would change completely. It wouldn't be the Eisenhorn we know. It would be a different story because a different writer would have a different vision from what was originally intended.

The Age of the Imperium is vast enough to allow for ambiguity and multiple authors. There's a million worlds out there. Each could write stories for 100 different worlds and still not even scratch the surface of the level of storytelling that is possible out there. Plus, there is no uniformity within the Imperium. Each world is different. 40k is the perfect setting for that. Different regiments, different Astartes chapters, etc. etc. So much information has been lost over 10k years. It just works.

But not 30k.

Back stories need to be straightforward. They need to tell a story that leads coherently into what's next. And I don't feel like 40k has that. The Horus Heresy books just lead to even more questions than answers. Even one of the biggest plot points - was the Horus Heresy planned by the Emperor and Malcador - is consistently argued by the fanbase.

I love 40k as much as you do, but I don't need even more ambiguity to my favorite setting, specifically it's backstory, when the Age of the Imperium already allows plenty for that.
   
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Nuremberg

Hah, I agree with your premise but not with your reasons behind it at all. I think the focus on the heresy has sort of damaged the game, with people much too interested in having it all nailed down with every aspect of the backstory being explained and linked to the Heresy. It took the cool, ambiguous myth and nailed it down into boring old canon "lore" (urgh).

That said, I do like a couple of the Heresy novels, especially Horus Rising which presented and interesting snapshot into the Great Crusade and the struggles of reconquering the galaxy. I actually think it is a really good sci fi novel in it's own right.

The problem is it immediately get shat on by the following books, particularly Horus himself, the titular character for the entire series, is turned into a non-character by the magic knife making him into a frothing evil madman. He has no character from that point on, and is basically not present in most of the series that bears his name. There is no arc, no legitimate point of view, no ambiguity. Magic Knife Make Man Bad. Really terrible plotting and probably the worst creative decision in the series.

Then you have all the guff with the Perpetuals, another lazy writing decision, and the fact that the quality of the novels is so variable. Some are utter dross, others are really enjoyable. But I feel the promise of Horus Rising is never really fulfilled, and that is a real shame.

I also hate some of the decisions made and how they have become solidified "lore" now. Like making the Primarchs literal giants. Argh. What a terrible, and stupid decision! It really makes no sense at all to have them be literal giants who cannot interact with normal human structures and technology, I really hate that. In my headcanon the Primarchs are roughly normal marine sized. And only slightly more powerful than the average chapter master, to boot.

I mean, originally the Emperor was strangled by an Ork, and now they had to really big up the Ork that did that because they have amped up Horus and the Emperor to this ridiculous level. It is some dumb ass dragonball z crap and not anything we needed for this story. It would have worked just fine without that crap.

   
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Not entirely sure how anyone who has read the series can decide Horus is that simple a character after he turns. A lot of the novels expand on his psyche and logic.

Going back to the original post , the Heresy series brought me back to GW, it’s part of the lite but no one needs the lore to play a game.

The Heresy lore really gives more depth to many factions in 40K and adds a grand tragedy style theme to the Imperium as a whole.

The Traitor Legions now have more depth beyond being quintessential evil marines. Once the full scope of the Emperor’s plan is revealed it becomes hard to see who is good/evil.

The current Indomitus story is an echo of the Great Crusade, Gulliman’s return has no meaning without the Heresy and Cawl is a more interesting character because of what the reader potentially knows about him.

The Black Library Keeler Image Eisenhower short story was a fantastic crossover and had a new meaning to Heresy fans.
Spoiler:
with Eisenhorn unwittingly losing proof the Imperial Faith is a lie and a heretic speaking truth
   
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I just want to know... what's the Ollanius Pius situation in the Horus Heresy novels? I know there have been past attempts to retcon him out of existence or replace him with a Space Marine ("not now, puny mortal, the grown-ups are having an argument over here!") and I don't know to what extent he is still canon.

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 Da Boss wrote:
Hah, I agree with your premise but not with your reasons behind it at all. I think the focus on the heresy has sort of damaged the game, with people much too interested in having it all nailed down with every aspect of the backstory being explained and linked to the Heresy. It took the cool, ambiguous myth and nailed it down into boring old canon "lore" (urgh).


I largely agree with you (and not the OP)
There was a much different approach to the HH novels (approaching it as myth and legend) that would have worked a lot better.

LorgarWasRight wrote:But not 30k.

Back stories need to be straightforward. They need to tell a story that leads coherently into what's next. And I don't feel like 40k has that. The Horus Heresy books just lead to even more questions than answers. Even one of the biggest plot points - was the Horus Heresy planned by the Emperor and Malcador - is consistently argued by the fanbase.

I love 40k as much as you do, but I don't need even more ambiguity to my favorite setting, specifically it's backstory, when the Age of the Imperium already allows plenty for that.

I definitely disagree with this. Back stories have no need to be straightforward. They actually benefit from ambiguity and multiple points of view. What's actually happening needs more concrete description than the distant past does- real history is the best available approximation, not certainty.

What the HH series got wrong was nailing everything down and focusing on the inhuman aspects of the 'demigods' and trying to nail down every detail and conversation, and only occasionally lapsing into human emotion and moments (ie, the understandable relatable bits), rather than overwhelming egos making obvious mistakes and behaving a certain way because a script says they have to. The really artificial role assignments of the HH hurt it immensely, but the different takes on it are the only places it has room to breathe as its own thing. The traitor primarchs are much worse characters because they're stuck being traitors. Very little justifies them ending up in that role, they just have to be. _That_ is where an unambiguous backstory leads.

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 LorgarWasRight wrote:


...a time of legend, when the Emperor walked amongst mankind...

The fact that it's so large with so many books, each written by different authors, creates a level of ambiguity and confusion that is probably even greater than the Imperium itself. A good example is the Emperor. He has multiple writers, each interpreting him in their own way. There's no linear direction to who the Emperor is, what he wants, his actions, etc. etc. Everyone interprets the Emperor's actions in their own way, which only goes to add more confusion to his character.




Sounds like the Horus Heresy series is working as intended. What's the problem?

I'm pretty sure I've seen somewhere that all the Horus Heresy books are written from the point of an unreliable narrator, even the black books from Forge World that present themselves as a pseudo-future-historical narrative.

I don't have an issue with this at all, myself.
   
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 Mr. Grey wrote:
 LorgarWasRight wrote:


...a time of legend, when the Emperor walked amongst mankind...

The fact that it's so large with so many books, each written by different authors, creates a level of ambiguity and confusion that is probably even greater than the Imperium itself. A good example is the Emperor. He has multiple writers, each interpreting him in their own way. There's no linear direction to who the Emperor is, what he wants, his actions, etc. etc. Everyone interprets the Emperor's actions in their own way, which only goes to add more confusion to his character.




Sounds like the Horus Heresy series is working as intended. What's the problem?

I'm pretty sure I've seen somewhere that all the Horus Heresy books are written from the point of an unreliable narrator, even the black books from Forge World that present themselves as a pseudo-future-historical narrative.

I don't have an issue with this at all, myself.


I agree, I think they're bang on for the very reason that they do introduce ambiguity and confusion. Any scholar of history knows that essentially that's basically what history is, not a series of facts but rather a confusing jumble of opinion and conjecture.
It was probably unintended, but I think it adds a degree of authenticity. After 10'000 years things were bound to get a bit confusing.

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I enjoy them personally. I don't care enough, in a fantsy world filled with laser guns and aliens, whether my super-super soldier is the same height or not as my super-solider. I care more for the quality of the writing and plot. Which is variable at times, but there aren't many books in the series I actually dislike when you get down to it.

So a hard disagreement here.


 
   
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 LorgarWasRight wrote:
I get it. We all want more lore. Sure. But the initial problem is the Horus Heresy, in terms of 40k, should have remained a time of legend, when the Emperor walked amongst mankind, was betrayed by his favorite son, and ascended to godhood on the Golden Throne.

...

Back stories need to be straightforward. They need to tell a story that leads coherently into what's next. And I don't feel like 40k has that. The Horus Heresy books just lead to even more questions than answers. Even one of the biggest plot points - was the Horus Heresy planned by the Emperor and Malcador - is consistently argued by the fanbase.

I love 40k as much as you do, but I don't need even more ambiguity to my favorite setting, specifically it's backstory, when the Age of the Imperium already allows plenty for that.


So you are arguing that a very popular series should not have existed because you are having an argument about lore? I understand someone saying that they didn't enjoy the series, but wishing for them to have never existed is a strange point of view. You don't have to read the books if you don't want to (unless you are going to a very cool school with a very cool English Literature course).

I only started the Horus Heresy books four years ago, but had read BL book previously. The quality is admittedly a little uneven as the series progresses (when I read about Perpetuals I tune out), but for the most part I have very much enjoyed the series. I think I devoured the first twenty or so over a two year period when I was traveling a lot. The HH books have something that many of the 40K BL books lack - characters that I actually find myself caring about. I've actually started a 30K army just because I was reading HH books.

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I think if you made it a poll you'd find it's not as unpopular an opinion as you think.
   
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 TwilightSparkles wrote:


The Heresy lore really gives more depth to many factions in 40K


Funny way to spell fething 2.

But hell they're the only ones that matter!!

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While I agree with the conclusion I disagree with the premise.

I think multi-author collaborations can work, but they require strong oversight and project management. If they went into the HH series with a rough idea of the arc, the traits of major characters, maybe even break it up so that different authors covered different legions or areas of conflict it may have come together cohesively.

I do have to agree with Voss as well, the downfall of the series was in trying to be EPIC in the 90s/00s sense where the characters are emotionless meat slabs, rather than epic in the Homeric sense where even demigods are vulnerable because they still have human failings.
   
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I feel you’re tunnel visioning a little too much here. As pointed out earlier you don’t have to read these books, and while this may seem like a glib answer, the point is if you don’t then as far as you’re concerned it remains just a setting without detail. The large scale of the 40k universe hasn’t shrunk one iota with the extra detail in the black library books, all it has done is flesh out individual parts. The literature made is not there to tell you what to do with your hobby, all it’s doing is allowing those who like lore (of which I am one) to create/ build their armies on, to be frank, cool af sci-fi heroes and stories they enjoy.

There are roughly 1,000,000 worlds scattered around the imperium, worlds which make and lose connection, travel through time and exist on a huge spectrum of cultures, technology and religious sects. I’m sure that GW can advance plot lines for those of us who enjoy story, while also leaving enough ambiguity for your hobby and personal scenarios.

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 ScarletRose wrote:

I do have to agree with Voss as well, the downfall of the series was in trying to be EPIC in the 90s/00s sense where the characters are emotionless meat slabs


Which books have you read where that describes, say, the Primarchs?

The First Heretic has Lorgar literally crying so much over Monarchia's destruction his make-up was running. Fulgrim in his titular story had hisfeelings hurt over Ferrus Manus insulting a sculpture he made and had Horus appealing to his vanity to get him to act how he wished. Even Leman Russ in Prospero Burns in private is very friendly with the mortal Kasper Hawser and emotionally pleads with what he thought was Magnus to just come peacefully so he wouldn't have to wage war on his brother.

I can get more examples if you want, but of all the criticisms of the Horus Heresy this one feels particularly strange considering how overflowing with emotion some of the Primarchs and Marines are written, depending on the story and writer of course.
   
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This is just one of the multitude of reasons why I dont bother with BL. A bit of lore here and there is OK, but I dont want the bigger picture of the unfolding events of the 41 millennium written in stone for me.

IMO GW is making a mistake concentrating on progressing the "plotline". They should just concentrate on isolated incidents and leave the big picture open for interpretation. It all smells too much like "tryhard Tolkienism" to me tbh
   
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 Void__Dragon wrote:
 ScarletRose wrote:

I do have to agree with Voss as well, the downfall of the series was in trying to be EPIC in the 90s/00s sense where the characters are emotionless meat slabs


Which books have you read where that describes, say, the Primarchs?

The First Heretic has Lorgar literally crying so much over Monarchia's destruction his make-up was running. Fulgrim in his titular story had hisfeelings hurt over Ferrus Manus insulting a sculpture he made and had Horus appealing to his vanity to get him to act how he wished. Even Leman Russ in Prospero Burns in private is very friendly with the mortal Kasper Hawser and emotionally pleads with what he thought was Magnus to just come peacefully so he wouldn't have to wage war on his brother.

I can get more examples if you want, but of all the criticisms of the Horus Heresy this one feels particularly strange considering how overflowing with emotion some of the Primarchs and Marines are written, depending on the story and writer of course.


That's just the problem, it's dependent on the story and writer. You cited some of the high points, but how about something like Angel Exterminatus? I can't remember a single emotional element to the entire book.

How about Legion? I couldn't even finish that one because honestly there's not a single relatable feeling to it.

Which comes around to my starting point - proper project management and treating the series as a whole could have made every book comparable to First Heretic, instead it's peaks and troughs with no real way to go back and patch up the low points.


 thetallestgiraffe wrote:
I feel you’re tunnel visioning a little too much here. As pointed out earlier you don’t have to read these books, and while this may seem like a glib answer, the point is if you don’t then as far as you’re concerned it remains just a setting without detail. The large scale of the 40k universe hasn’t shrunk one iota with the extra detail in the black library books, all it has done is flesh out individual parts. The literature made is not there to tell you what to do with your hobby, all it’s doing is allowing those who like lore (of which I am one) to create/ build their armies on, to be frank, cool af sci-fi heroes and stories they enjoy.

There are roughly 1,000,000 worlds scattered around the imperium, worlds which make and lose connection, travel through time and exist on a huge spectrum of cultures, technology and religious sects. I’m sure that GW can advance plot lines for those of us who enjoy story, while also leaving enough ambiguity for your hobby and personal scenarios.


I think the HH series has shrunk the lore quite a bit. There's no longer room for any stories about the Heresy era without someone going "well aksshully Sanguinius always held his pinky out when drinking tea, it's in Horus Heresy issue 79"

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/12/22 07:40:10


 
   
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 ScarletRose wrote:

That's just the problem, it's dependent on the story and writer. You cited some of the high points, but how about something like Angel Exterminatus? I can't remember a single emotional element to the entire book.

How about Legion? I couldn't even finish that one because honestly there's not a single relatable feeling to it.

Which comes around to my starting point - proper project management and treating the series as a whole could have made every book comparable to First Heretic, instead it's peaks and troughs with no real way to go back and patch up the low points.


Ah Angel Exterminatus. The book that took Perturabo, who was in all prior depictions just a cold and sinister Primarch with little distinguishing characteristics other than bitterness, and showed that he's also a brilliant artist who only finds joy in making beautiful works of incredible engineering and architecture, yet finds himself forced (at least, in his own mind) into only being used to destroy others great works. Of all the example books you brought up, that one is very interesting to me, because it made Perturabo a far more emotionally complex character than he had ever been portrayed before. His outer emotions are more subdued than most of his brothers, but Perturabo is driven by a deep-seated resentment over never getting the respect he felt he deserved, and suffered under the weight of his duties. He's most like Lorgar in that sense.

Legion I can only kind of comment on because I never read it but in general I don't like what they've done with the Alpha Legion and the Cabal and everything related to it was a mistake, sure.
   
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 Ketara wrote:
I enjoy them personally. I don't care enough, in a fantsy world filled with laser guns and aliens, whether my super-super soldier is the same height or not as my super-solider. I care more for the quality of the writing and plot. Which is variable at times, but there aren't many books in the series I actually dislike when you get down to it.

So a hard disagreement here.


I mean it is my own fault since I put my personal nitpick into my post, but that was really not my main point. It is just something I don't like.
My bigger disappointment is the characterisation of Horus (and I disagree that they make him a complex character later, his motivation is that he is corrupted by a magic knife) and the general extreme variability in quality.

Out of the first 30 books I think about 7 of them are good, which is not bad for genre fiction made in the way this is made (I would say a lot of other fiction produced for a product, like D&D fiction has a much, much worse hit rate). A few of the rest are alright, mediocre sort of books that are okay to read but which I would never revisit. And then there is a lot of dross in my view.

I think a shorter, tighter and more focused series with fewer but more talented authors would have been much better. Then you can do the mini-series of Ultras vs. Word Bearers and whatever else.

(Yeah, I have not read all 54 books or whatever it is, but I feel more than qualified to make a judgement after 30!)

   
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I think it’s fine that they decided to write the HH novels, I just think they did it badly and tried to kill it for way more than they should, but of course people buy the books.

For my money they should have put out a core series of books going from start to end where the main cast was the emperor and the primarchs. I really enjoyed the first HH books up to the dark angel one and the on about the word bearers and the unltramarines and some big battle ship, it was so bad I didn’t get past the first 2 chapters.

In the early books you got a lot more primarch involvement but even then it was a lot more about supporting characters. What’s the point in doing the big reveal and making the story about people we never heard of.

I genuinely think a core series that focused on the primarchs could have been done in a large trilogy like lord of the rings. 2 trilogies could have been acceptable

After that all the little stories set in the time of HH could be done and would have to not contradict the core series.

As it came out however it was all sort of made up on the go by loads of different people
   
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Wait there are over 50 HH books now? That seems very excessive.
   
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Nuremberg

Yup. And now they are starting a new series for the Siege of Terra.

To be fair, people still buy them by the bucketload so I don't blame them!

And I will probably check out at least a few of the latter 24 books - the ones written by Abnett and ADB for sure.

   
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I don’t care what they release asking as it’s well written and is in line with the setting of 40K. Some of the books are crap and they should re release the ones that are crap. It’s genuinely put me off buying more of them because I don’t know which are crap before I buy them. And popular opinion is one thing but they are clearly a lot of people that will just buy them regardless so it’s hard to trust popular opinion.

I like the recent Fabius bile trilogy but it’s not had good reviews from other buyers. I think sometimes people already know the story they want a book to tell and their opinion of the book will depend on if it tells that story. For me I need it just to be well written and engaging, as a slow reader I can’t power through bad writing.

Quality is the really issue of of the HH and when you dilute something to the extent this story has been then you simply can’t achieve good quality.

But if they released a book that explained the origin of alpharius omegon and clarified if they turned full traitor or if they are playing a long game or a bit of both I would just buy it. We’re all part of the problem.

I also don’t like the fact that over 50 books in they have created mystery rather than just telling the full stroy
   
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mrFickle wrote:
I What’s the point in doing the big reveal and making the story about people we never heard of.


To give the reader ground-level perspective on the Legions from normal mortals which, you know, comprise 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of Imperial citizens, and the relationships the Astartes have with those humans can serve to humanize them.
   
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 Void__Dragon wrote:
mrFickle wrote:
I What’s the point in doing the big reveal and making the story about people we never heard of.


To give the reader ground-level perspective on the Legions from normal mortals which, you know, comprise 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of Imperial citizens, and the relationships the Astartes have with those humans can serve to humanize them.


Yeah and I don’t think theres a lack of value in providing a view of of events from the ground level but imagine if game of thrones was a series of stories about the events as seen by a soldiers and citizens.

The best story in the HH is taking place between the primarchs and the emperor
   
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U.k

The biggest issue is with these books, the assumption that people in the in game setting know any of what went on. Even if we accept all the badly written rubbish as the truth, doesn’t mean the folk in the 41st millennium know this.
   
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There have been quite a few cases in point where the fact they *don't* is a major plot point, such as "The Keeler Image" and "Signal To Noise".

One thing that has changed over the last half-decade, though, is the number of 30k-era characters in 40k who were there - Gulliman and Cawl, obviously, but also the Custodes are active again with a more-or-less perfectly accurate picture of events and no theological window dressing.

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This is the mainstream opinion on the internet- not the unpopular one.
   
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For a more unpopular opinion, I would make a simple change. Remove all Graham McNeil novels from the Horus Heresy. Yes, all of them. Some of the events could be written by a different author, but others I would be happy to see them gone, and something completely different in their place.
A Thousand Sons was fine but I would say everything else has done more harm than good in terms of making the truth worse than the myth. At least Nick Kyme has the decency to limit his garbage to (mostly) a single legion.

There's endless complaining about False Gods, so I won't repeat it here.

Between Fulgrim and The Outcast Dead, he's the only author I can think of that had to write additional pieces to explain what were essentially mistakes in the original story.

Guy Haley's Perturabo was leagues better in my opinion, especially with the accompanying "The Emperor's Architect" story that shows Perturabo's "Oh woe is me!" showing is all bs.

Vengeful Spirit is a disaster of a novel with half a dozen plots that go nowhere, a fairly terrible showing for Horus himself, and assumes knowledge of a story that wasn't even publicly available yet.

And lastly, The Crimson King ruins what was a fantastic reveal at the end of the Ahriman trilogy, a series that I'm sure only a fraction of people will read compared to TCK.
   
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"The Horus Heresy novels should have never existed"

Right, because the solution to a consumer product that one does not like should always be "cancel the product" rather than "I just won't buy/ read it."

Doesn't really matter if anyone else liked the product. The world is about you right? Why should anything that you don't like exist? Other people don't really matter.
   
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Sesto San Giovanni, Italy

I agree on a number of points, but not with the general premises that the HH is and would have been ok any case inherently bad.

Could have been great, but we have unfortunately some bad decisions there:
- Some corruption story are very bad (Horus), other are ok (Magnus).
- the Primarch as giants is a demented idea. Really, WTF?
- Perpetual weren't necessary and they detect from the mythological status of the Emperor. They are probably the single reason why I have never been particularly involved with the HH. Really, who cares about humanity or space marine when there are literal immortals wanderings around?

So, I agree with part of the conclusion, but not with the premises.
IMHO 20 books, one for each Primarch, to cover from their raise to their death/rebellion. Twenty different point of virlew, internal narrator, and discordant narratives to let players d bate between themselves.
That would have been in my opinion a good treatment of the HH.
- the status of
   
 
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