This week’s word is “Diversify”
This week for Word Wednesday I have a book preview for you, Games Workshop’s Warhammer Adventures series. Announced yesterday (May 21st), this new series will be aimed at 8-12 year-olds. That’s right, the Emperor is coming for your children.
Little has been revealed to date. There will initially be two titles. One fantasy, set in the Age of Sigmar universe, the other SciFi, in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. They have series titles of Realm Quest and Warped Galaxies. The first two books are Realm Quest: The City of Lifestone and Warped Galaxies: Attack of the Necron.
They’ll be penned by Tom Huddlestone and Cavan Scott, both of whom have written children’s fiction set in the Star Wars universe. The books promise, “space battles and monsters, fearsome aliens and dangerous villains. But there will also be friendship and bravery…”
In Grimdark’s shadow.
Perhaps predictably, there has been some backlash to the announcement, with arguments of dumbing down. This, I guess, is sort of the point. The books are for children. The thematic tapestry of Warhammer 40,000, and to a lesser extent, Age of Sigmar is dark and dystopian. Not so much the topics of middle-grade books. This new series is not aimed at those already knee-deep in plastic. It’s aimed at drawing fresh breath into the hobby. Many people appear to have forgotten that we all started somewhere. Forgotten, that even the 40K universe itself did not start out as Grimdark.
In short: Things evolve.
Much as Batman has The Dark Knight, DC also has Teen Titans Go (and even Tiny Titans). Warhammer now has Warhammer Adventures. For those worrying about the stories being ruined and their universe destroyed, Star Wars is still doing OK despite having a host of child-friendly access points. Star Wars: Rebels may well be the finest storytelling in the entire franchise. Just because the stories are for a younger audience doesn’t mean they can’t be good.
I do have some reservations. The quality of Games Workshop’s Black Library novels is not always that great. As Truman Capote might have said, they’re more typing than writing. It is possible that these stories could be terrible, but that won’t be the fault of the format.
Diversify or die.
The character illustrations suggest a greater diversity of cast too, which can only be a good thing. Whether this is the cause of the backlash against the books, I’m not sure. I’ve seen more than one comment about the books just being diverse for diversity’s sake; whatever that means. Personally, I think this is a great move on Games Workshop’s part.
As a parent invested in Games Workshop, I applaud this move. To me, these books look like they could be my children’s generation’s equivalent of Fighting Fantasy; the books that drew me into this creative and thoughtful hobby. They could be the gateway for a generation of new gamers. We’ll have to wait until January 2019 to find out, but as soon as GeekDad has read them we’ll report back on how we found the experience.
For more details about the books, you can sign up at the Warhammer Adventures website.