- An anthology of 13 short stories
- Focuses on the Space Marines
- Published by Black Library in November 2021
- Grimdark SF
- 341 pages
The Space Marines of legend are no more. In their place stand a thousand chapters, each clinging to their past while seeking to carve out their own legend. But these defenders of humanity are far from angelic . . .
Me, reading a book about Space Marines? It’s shocking, but also true. Because while the superhuman warriors of the Adeptus Astartes are my least favourite part of the grim dark future, I ahppened to spot a copy of this anthology in my local Warhammer store, and three thoughts occured to me:
- Black Library’s anthologies have been one of my highlights of 2022
- There is a prequel story to Edoardo Albert’s Silent Hunters in here
- This book shares a theme with the upcoming Black Library Open Submission window, and a little market research never hurt anyone.
All of that was enough to compel me to pick up the book, and I can honestly say I’m glad that I did. Not because I enjoyed it, however, but because I think it’s taking Black Library in the right direction.
At this stage, there’s no real point in me talking about my personal tastes in Space Marines. In short, they still don’t appeal to me. As you’d expect, the stories in this anthology are universally well-written, but the content and narratives don’t do all that much to excite me. In a word, they are fine. If you like Space Marines, you’ll like this collection. If you don’t, you’ll likely be as neutral as I am.
In terms of new authors, Edoardo Albert has already proven himself one to watch. Gary Kloster and Chris Forrester now pique my interest as some of the more interesting writers from this new crop of fresh faces. While all the stories are good, theirs are the ones that stand out to me. As soon as they write more, I’ll be taking a look, and if it’s a part of the universe I find more appealing, you better believe I’ll be pouncing on those upcoming books.
Why I think this book is better than this review might so far have made it sound is in the the theme. perhaps it’s simply because these are lesser-known Astartes chapters. Perhaps it’s the new authors. Perhaps it’s indicative of an overall shift in the franchise’s philosophy. Whatever the cause, the common theme uniting these stories is that Space Marines are not just superhuman, they are inhuman. They are weapons, with a violent mentality, and an inscrutable desire for their own agendas. To me, that makes them a whole lot more interesting than they have previously been presented in some corners. If Warhammer continues to push this line of thought, I’ll be picking up more Space Marine content in the future.
In short, The Successors is a fitting capstone to a good year of anthologies from Black Library, and one that’s definitely worth picking up.