Thursday, March 11, 2010

End of Term Terminators: "I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth..."

On Tuesday, I described the opening scene from “The Bleeding Chalice,” in which an assassin deletes (the old fashioned way) an entire section of the Librarium Terra. That scene got me thinking. Could an entire chapter of Marines be dedicated to just such a program –an entire Chapter of vicious Book Wardens, sent to monitor and the Emperor’s staggeringly massive literary collections –perhaps a little like the Relictors Chapter, but for books? Oddly, this appealed to me tremendously, but I ran in to some considerable difficulty keeping the fluffy background both legitimate and relevant to the army I was actually creating.

There was, you see, a fundamental disconnect. How, for example, could I justify the appearance of a Land Raider, or Predator, or (even worse yet) a Land Speeder within the hallowed halls of Academia? Full points for inspiration; nil points for execution. Granted, the Speeder did have book strapped to its hull. As did the Dreadnaught. I should add that those were rare, precious books, cast in metal and tremendously scarce. I wasn’t able at that point to simply build my own books. I’d tried with cardboard and failed horribly. Alas. In retrospect, that’s what these bases needed. Books for the Book Wardens (not quite as catchy, I know, as another similar mantra you may have heard in this hobby).

So my fledgling chapter fell on its face, but I still a big place in my heart for these guys because of simple attempts at narrative structure –misbegotten or otherwise.

Hamlet, for example, is not a particularly compelling figure on his own, but the scenic elements still make me chuckle (“Alas, poor Yoric. I knew him Horatio!”). The skull behind this guy seems too obviously a stage prop, and too obviously the inspiration the much-worn monologue he appears to be delivering, but I love it nonetheless.

And ye, at the end of the day, he remains an ideal figure to roam the hallowed stacks of academia, undoubtedly wandering from iambic to prose as the boards creak beneath his armored feet. I suspect that his squadmates loathe his ceaseless prattling.


Max said...

I do like the concept of the Book Wardens. Just think of it like the big warehouse at the end of Indiana Jones, with aisles big enough to drive a tank through them. Plus, plenty of planets fall, and their libraries might contain valuable information. Therefore, send in the speeders and land raiders to rescue (or "rescue") them!

Just watch out on the flamers... I hear those things and books don't really get along...

Brian said...

Thanks, Max. I had a similar image in mind to the one you mentioned, but significantly more dark, damp, and grotty. I have an old LR and some other bits left from this army that I might have to post some day... For the most part, however, the Book Wardens have been boxed and shelved.

Funnily enough, my current SM chapter (The Onorevoli) have picked up a theme here, in that they are Librarian-heavy and have been (perhaps problematically) tempted by the kind of "bookish" information that would require rescuing -in both literal and euphemistic sense.
More on them soon as well...

In the mean time, thanks for stopping by.

HOTpanda said...

The story that each of these terminators invokes is unreal. This latest model, Hamlet has to be my favorite. Keep on posting.

Brian said...

I hope that you will like tomorrow's post. He's my personal favorite.