Fugitive Finds Sanctuary

The last couple of weeks have been pretty packed, though not with writing. The weekend before Easter found me in the Windy City for AdeptiCon. Thanks to Hank and all of the other organisers, and to Vincent ‘Let me do you a Deal’ Rospond for ensuring my every writerly whim was catered to. Three days spent with more than a thousand GW and Black Library fans, and it was great to sign so many books, chat to folks and see all of the cool armies on display. It was also good fun to spend time with fellow writer Chris Roberson, author of Dawn of War II and the forthcoming Sons of Dorn. It’s always interesting to find out how other writers work, and Chris regaled me with many tales of his various (drunken) convention exploits over the years (amongst many other anecdotes). I also had time to chat with new Solaris author Tim Akers, a long-time GW fan and thoroughly decent bloke.

A shout-out to Kevin Coleman and the other Warmonger chaps, who kept me entertained on Sunday night due to the cancellation of their flights. A memorable evening indeed (and yes, I can remember it despite the several beers and the whisky).

This past Saturday I was amongst the Black Library elite at Black Library Live! at Games Workshop’s Nottingham headquarters. The two readings went well, and the signing was busy, leaving me little time to catch up with the other authors. I did get to spend some time with new-kid-on-the-block Aaron Dembski-Bowden, whose 40K short story accompanies my The Dark Path in the limited edition chapbook. It was also good to see Jon Sullivan again, creator of the fantastic Time of Legends cover art. I first met Jon at last year’s UK Games Day and he is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Stop working so hard, Jon! Have some fun!

Which sort of brings me to the new arrival at Mechanical Hamster HQ.

Dennis with his new ally

Dennis with his new ally

Kindly liberated by BL fan extraordinare Xhalax, this mutant sheep (he has five legs…) has recently escaped Guantanamo Bay. Other than that, I know nothing about him and here’s where the Hamsterites can help out. Please leave your suggestions for a name and a brief (no more than 250 words) biography as comments to this post. The one I find the most entertaining will be chosen as the official backstory of this new arrival (and may get a mention in a future novel bio). On top of that, the lucky contributor will receive signed copies of Malekith, The Last Chancers, Heroes of the Space Marines, Angels of Darkness and Tales of Heresy. Please submit your suggestions before 1st May.

So, get your creative juices flowing and show me what you’ve got!

In writing news, I’ve agreed with Black Library to extend Shadow King by another 50,000 words (bringing it up to 50K). Given my recent posts on getting the story length correct, this seems the right thing to do to enable me to tell the story in full and make sure nothing gets left out. Thie third book, Caledor, will also be 150K.

This means I’m going to be very busy over the next few weeks, so apologies in advance because Mechamster updates will probably be sporadic (even more sporadic!). I will be reading your comments, and may find time for the odd update or two.

Addendum: And how could I forget the 40K Radio guys? Download their Adepticon show (featuring interviews with myself and Chris).

Published in: on April 14, 2009 at 9:57 am  Comments (26)  

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26 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Aha! I spotted the sheep when I was helping myself to some much-needed coffee, and wondered who he/she/it was with.

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  2. Herr Thorpe,

    Does the extra 50K words in the Shadow King make it jump the usual 412pages?

    Gav – Most certainly! Shadow King will be the same length as Nagash the Sorcerer, which comes in over 500 pages.

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  3. I’ve agreed with Black Library to extend Shadow King by another 50,000 words (bringing it up to 50K)

    For anyone interested in reading it, Gav’s original synopsis for Shadow King can be found in the remainder of this entry:

    Like

  4. Name: Hrólfur

    Bio: Hrólfur successfully escaped the Gunslinger Meadows where he was forcefully initiated into the Gibble of Wack. Free again, he works on a plot to confront Lord McCaster (The Disaster) and have him pay for the burnt fur.

    Like

  5. Way kewl @ the epic page counts the Time of Legends series has 😀

    Thanks for delivering such work to us Herr Thorpe 😀

    Like

  6. […] I’m running a competition to give away signed novels and anthologies – see my post here. Published […]

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  7. Name: Eddy

    Bio: Eddy grew up in a small fishing village of the Old World where he soon learnt that he wasn’t a normal sheep. Upon the sudden and unexpected realisation that he was a sheep that had five legs and a manner of sentience he was suddenly and instantaniously teleported to the Imperium of man. Once there he became a mad scientist working on a Super Teleport Device, so he could get home. Upon the first test he got his calculations wrong and ended up teleporting to Guantanamo Bay. Unfortunatly for him they didn’t question his sudden arrival since he was wearing an orange jumpsuit, they just proceeded to lock him up. After many months of being locked up without charge he was able to build another teleportation device and teleport his ass out of there upon which he met Dennis, his most mechanical friend. He is now not only wanted by the US Government for crimes they have yet to identify, but also the Teleportation Police who have been tracking him since the Old World incident.

    Like

  8. Womble Pike, the crazy demi-turtle, born on the forgotten isle’s of ancient Terra, has had his history erased.
    On a mission to find the perp who did this he has kidnapped denis in an attempt to find aid for his vigilante band, THE MOGRELS, who hunt for clue’s on the unknown person’s were-abouts by entering caffeine induced spirit quests.

    Like

  9. Ah, a mutant sheep and a mechanical hamster….’tis a match made in heaven!

    As sheep overlord, I look forward to seeing exactly what comes of this search for his background….can’t shed any light on the matter since he wouldn’t tell me of his dealie either.

    So I shall not be taking part in the competition…..plus I already have all the above signed anyway.

    Like

  10. Name: Flubb

    Bio: Born a six-legged sheep, Flubb (a member of a secret team of barnyard assassins), lost a leg in a tragic, but bizarre accident involving a peanut butter spill and a Barry Manilow cd. His injuries too great, he was finally captured by his enemy, a mute cockrel named Filthy Harry, and thrown in a cell. Years later, the sly ninja Xhalax released Flubb after an intense infiltration lasting days (and costing her sanity) later to be entrusted to Mr Thorpe for safe keeping.

    Like

  11. Name:Quintopple (Quin to his friends)

    Bio:Quin was always the black (and red) sheep of the family and felt out of place, so when he was old enough he decided to leave his native Wales and move to the land of opportunity and tolerance, the USA.
    Sadly upon landing heavy handed security mistook his red fur for flames, and perceived it as some sort of political statement. He was quickly subjected to something called a cavity search, which to his horror had nothing to do with his lack of dental hygiene, and shipped off to Guantanamo Bay, a place located within the Axis of evil.
    Luckily after some daring heroics, and some initial setbacks including claustrophobia and blindness, he manages to escape on the back of a motorbike
    and ride it all the way back to Britain, which initially confuses Quin but a fellow called Steve Mcqueen informs him of something called the ‘rule of cool’ which allows for this sort of thing to happen.
    Flat broke he tried looking for a job, but was told about something called a credit crunch that apparently is as scary as it sounds. Luckily he was spotted by an employee of Games workshop, which happily isn’t the heartless sweatshop it sounds like, and given a job.
    He now makes a very good living as Dan Abnett’s designer toupee, even if he does have to put up with his colleagues accusing him of fornicating with humans because of his origins

    Like

  12. Name: Lord Errington, Rightful High Ruler of the the Giraffe Nation

    Bio: Born into a life of luxury as heir apparent of the Giraffe Nation, Lord Arrington was used to having his own way. He was therefore completely unprepared when the Giraffe’s Liberation Army rose up in an attempt to take control of the country.
    The fighting was fierce with casualties on both sides but soon it became apparent that years of peace had made the Loyalists soft. In a desperate bid to flee for his life, Lord Arrington met with 3 witches and begged them for their aid. However, unbeknownst to the Lord, the witches were GLA agents and transformed him into something both recognisable and harmless, a 5 legged orange sheep!
    Arrington is now on the run and has come to the Mechamster for asylum in order to rebuild his forces to take back his rightful place on the throne.

    Like

  13. Bubbles II

    Pet to ghost writer

    Bubbles II was created at the Neverland Ranch by Michael Jackson as a replacement for his pet monkey Bubbles. When Michael was ordered to sell Neverland Ranch, he tried to send Bubbles II to the same sanctuary his pet monkey had been sent all those years ago. Unfortunately he was given the wrong address and Bubbles II ended up at Guantanamo Bay.
    Many years had passed before Bubbles II was able to escape from Guantanamo Bay. He roamed the land for weeks, alone and frightened. His fifth leg was helpful in finding water; it vibrated whenever a source was close by.
    Desperately seeking a way to end his life and be rid of the misery that he felt, Bubbles II flung himself into the ocean. He washed up in the UK and to his surprise he had found that not only was he still alive, but he had been taken hostage by some young woman on the way to some form of convention.
    Hoping for a quick and easy way out, Bubbles II was shocked when the woman handed him to a suspicious looking man sat signing books. The man had the look of a malcontent about him and Bubbles II’s hopes picked up.
    The man, who’s name Bubbles II couldn’t pronounce, due to the distinct lack of ‘baaaa’ sounds, took him back to his home where to this very day he enslaves Bubbles II to work alongside a mechanical hamster.

    Like

  14. Phalanx:

    Subject 00-38, the sole survivor of the top-secret Phalanx Project (from which he derives his name), is…unique. Seeking to create an army of super clones, a multi-national scientific corporation created Project Phalanx in Puerto Rico.

    The project started the technological experimentation with sheep due to their relative ease in cloning, but the experiments were…altogether too successful. After a bloody debacle involving a mutant sheep uprising, the Illuminati, and an abortive attempt to create a time machine, the project was put to an end. The few surviving sheep were transported to Gitmo for interrogation as to their methods and dissection.

    One by one, the sheep succumbed to the brutal “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by their captors, and confessed. These unfortunate comrades of the self-dubbed “Phalanx” were last seen as sheperds’ pies and stews served to the the Gitmo gaolers.

    Eventually, Phalanx was the only remaining sheep. He had decided not to give the satisfaction of breaking him to his captors, and the fates of his fellows only strengthened his conviction not to give in.

    This was the hour of the darkest night for Phalanx, during which he considered sharpening his hooves and slitting his throat. However, he had not been forgotten by the outside world. Protests were springing up against the treatment of the Guantanamo detainees, and the atmosphere of the prison was charges with tension…and electrocutions.

    It was now when Agent Xhalax of the —- —– decided to make her move. She sprung Phalanx from Gitmo through the cunning use of three toothpick, —— —-, a magnifying glass, duct tape, lemon juice, —– —– – ———–, three dowels, — — ———, and half a litre of ———– —-. [censored for the welfare of the public good]

    Soon after, the grateful Phalanx was brought into the home of Herr Thorpe, where he met one of his heroes – Dennis, mastermind of the brilliant —— ———— — —- scheme. He pledged himself to the Mechanical Hamster, and now is in a position to become of of Dennis’ most fervent devotees and trusted lieutenants during the Great Plan and during the inevitable takeover.

    Like

  15. Name: Jaffa

    The brochure said that Afghanistan had beautiful sheep and great sun. Instead, Jaffa found himself in the middle of Operation Enduring Freedom. Being dark-skinned and having a vaguely Arabic moniker, Jaffa was hastily misidentified as Bin Laden’s second in command by US troops so enthusiastic they failed to notice his… sheepyness. The poppy farm next to where Jaffa was ‘renditioned’ also led to the belief the poor sheep was a drug mule.

    The presence of leg #5 is an unexplained phenomenon, but the US at Guantanamo assumed it was some kind of ingenious bomb. Rescued by Xhalax in a daring raid involving several lifesize cutouts of Space Marines, four crates of Newcastle Brown Ale and a homemade helicopter, Jaffa was delivered to a Mr. Thorpe for some unexplicable reason, potentially as a gift to curry favour for cameo roles in future BL novels. It matters not, as Jaffa found friendship in Mr. Thorpe’s hamster Dennis. He remains inside a lot, as his uncanny resemblance to Shaun the Sheep has resulted in being chased by a robotic pooch and several excited toddlers.

    The US still has Jaffa on their Most Wanted list, for terrorism and crimes against the RSPCA. But it was made clear that the CIA asking the RSPCA to retrieve the sheep was highly illegal, and Jaffa acted in self defence. The officers involved are still recovering from shock and the horror of being attacked by an unassuming sheep.

    Like

  16. Name: Kickstand

    Bio: In an attempt to create the perfect adult film actor, the AFI teams up with the scientists who created the cloned sheep Dolly. After collecting genetic samples from the top male actors (don’t ask) the team was ready to proceed. Unfortunately, the science guys have become a little lazy with their science ways. Instead of using a new sterile testube they took what they had laying around. This turned out to still have some DNA from Dolly. As the some started to clear from the cloning machine a strange sound could be heared, Bow-Chicka-Bow-wow. Before anyone knew what was going on Kickstand sensed somewhere a woman was having problems with a leaky pipe and took off.
    So begins the erotic adventures of Kickstand.

    Like

  17. Sergei the Sheep was born to a family of peasants in post-WWII Soviet Russia. His early life was one of hardship, and loneliness. He was frequently singled out as a “black sheep”, and was often very depressed. Eventually he became too much of a burden to feed, the tough times making his poor family even poorer. They sold him for a few rubles to keep food on the table. His buyer: one Viktor Bryukhanov.

    Suddenly, Sergei had a life of relative ease. No longer was he teased, he was infact the envy of the sheep community in the town of Prypiat. His new owner had become the director of a nuclear power plant in the city, and Sergei was lavished with whatever his sheep heart desired. For the first time in his life, he was truly happy.

    Than it all changed. An explosion, screaming, flashes of horrid memory are all he has to remember the events of that tumultuous time. The men who came to the door, urging evacuation. Sergei refused, hiding in the crawlspace of his home adjacent to the power plant. For two days and two nights he remained, praying for Viktor’s return. It never came.

    He would have starved, had it not been for two British agents sent in to investigate. They took pity on the poor sheep, whom they found to have be growing a fifth leg. Citing reasons of research, Sergei was sent to Guantanamo Bay for testing, he was imprisoned for knowing “too much”.

    His escape was daring, it took more than twenty years to put into effect. Hiding in a batch of moonshine for the former President, he jumped ship at port and wound up in England.

    Like

  18. Nayk

    Nicknamed ‘scuttle’ by his Guantanamo inmates, Nayk is a Serbian spider, or at least a Serbian sheep posing as a spider. After years locked up in his tiny cell with only the spiders for company, Nayk spun a web of his own wool. He managed to fool the guards into thinking he was trapped by a gigantic spider, subsequently tying them up and hijacking a US navy battleship.

    Or so he would have everyone believe. In actuality he pirated a small tug-boat and, through ingenious use of his new-found web-making skills, engineered the means to man the whole vessel himself. Arriving in the UK, Nayk believed he needed to blend in with the locals to throw off the pursuit of his previous captors, so headed to the nearest store. Settling in the dusty corners above the checkout desk, Nayk took to reading the material he could find within the confines of the outlet’s shelves.

    Soon he was a master scholar of the UK topics. Able to blend in efficiently, he spent many a day conversing with the store-workers and schooling visitors in the art’s of the Imperial Guard and Space Marines. His nights were spent divulging the secrets of the Angels of Darkness and the Thirteenth Legion to his accompanying arachnid comrades.

    Searching for more answers, he followed a seemingly well-renowned visitor from the store, stowing away in his belongings for the journey into the unknown. He eventually found himself amidst great tomes of knowledge, bountiful like he could ever wish for. Touring these great works he came upon a creature of unimaginable brilliance, the Mechanical Hamster, Dennis. Whenever his mechanical friend is not out promoting his latest revelations into these magical topics, they may be found discussing the myriad possibilities of the lore found in those great works and who knows what next they may divulge.

    Like

  19. Adoobie Sh’Noobie (if that is indeed his real name) had a more luckless and downtroden beginning than would normaly befit a diabolical mastermind. Having started out a normal sheep it wasn’t until numerous failed ventures (such as his Hamburger Joint in Calcutta, India or the Gobi Desert Ski Resort and Water Park) that the fifth leg sprouted and indeed took over his life. It is believed that he lost all semblance of self, the 5’th leg fueling his rage over past failures and literally kicking his butt towards the darker more sinister psychopath we recognise today. At the time of his capture his evil plan to enslave the world to wearing wool sweaters of exceptionally poor taste was just coming to fruition and would have caused many to go insane at the sight of such glaringly bad fashion. News of his escape has caused more than a few to tremble with fear as the world awaits his next sinister plan.

    Like

  20. Years ago, I rented a bungalow in Thailand. I was surprised to learn that next door lived a five-legged sheep.

    His name was Conrad. He was American, but hadn’t been home in years. I wanted to ask him about his obvious condition, but I was shy.

    The rumors were contradictory. A long-haired kid from Texas said that Conrad was a drug smuggler, using his deformity to circumvent security. A Swiss couple told me that he was independently wealthy, having won a large judgment in litigation.

    Eventually, one evening when we were drinking, I asked Conrad for his story.

    “Fucking lilacs” was all he said. I dropped the subject.

    When I got home, I searched for Conrad’s case on the internet and learned his history. He had once been a normal man, a reporter from Salt Lake.

    He had been investigating a forest in Oregon that was overrun by lilac bushes. Normally, lilacs aren’t an invasive species, but here they were choking out all other life.

    A week later, Conrad shed his skin and became a five-legged sheep.

    The doctors, all specialists, agreed that exposure to mutant pollen had caused the transformation.

    Conrad sued the biotech company that was responsible. The company’s lawyers argued that because Conrad had been a trespasser, they owed him nothing. They lost.

    The company went bankrupt. Its assets were split up and sold. The lilac forest was destroyed in a controlled burn overseen by the U.S. Forest Service.

    Like

  21. Name : Sheep

    Born in a quiet town bordering Iraq, Sheep was an outcast among his family because of his fifth leg which had grown quite irritably along with his other four.

    So sheep crossed over to try his luck in getting rid of his fifth leg as the only other choice he had was to lose it as someone’s meal along with the rest of his body.

    Aimlessly wandering sheep finally decided to step on a roadside bomb to get rid of his leg. But due to his bad sheep luck a tank pulled over near him trying to rescue him considering him to be a part of the local’s livestock causing it to blow up. Now Sheep being a sheep ran terrified causing the rest of the soldiers to identify him as the cause.

    The next thing he knows, sheep was being given a ride to Guantanamo Bay. Successive interrogation and hardcore shearing techniques only managed to get a “Baaah” out of him. Considering him to be veteran militant with body modifications, they decided to lock him up indefinitely. Hope was fading quickly for Sheep.
    Fortunately one day the as Gav and Xhalax were taking a tour of Gautanamo bay for inspiration on writing kick-ass villains in Gav’s new novel, the clumsy Xhalax tripped unlocking Sheep’s cell door. Considering him to Gav’s stuff toy along with his hamster Xhalax picked him up.

    Sheep has finally given up his quest and now quietly passes time writing stories like this one. >.>

    Like

  22. Lambert Lambasson was captured by the Men in Black at the scene of a horrific animal mutilation in Nebraska, his five limbs bloody. Experts claim this massacre involved as many as six hundred and eighty two victims; sheep, cattle and the limbs of an as-yet-unidentified purple reptile, the head of which remained alive, chanting “I love you, you love me…”
    Taken to Area 51, Lambert was interrogated mercilessly during his seventeen years of captivity; enduring torture, the constant smell of frying mutton which his jailers pumped into his cell, the less-than-wholesome attentions of his fellow alien inmates (and their probing devices).

    Despite this, all he said was “Baa-ram you.”

    When captured, Lambert knew he could not risk humans discovering his true purpose, and – faster than the greatest martial artist – snatched his captor’s memory-wiping devices, erasing almost all of his past, though none of the deadly skills he had honed over millennia. So was lost the legend of the last of the Pentarch’s – modified sheep-hybrids engineered to protect humanity by the last of an alien race called the Inixians.
    Despite his amnesia, Lambert was able to escape Area 51 aboard a flight bound for Camp Delta (Guantanamo Bay). From there, he took advantage of the new administration’s amnesty to leave Gitmo and vanish. He was last sighted with an unidentified British national in England…
    What is known is that, wherever Lambert is, his instinctive sense for hunting evil means he will surely be in a dark, dark place…

    Like

  23. Well here’s my entry and it’s 250 words exact! Alas it’s 1:23AM (freaky!) and so I must return to the land of nod rather than continue ranting and raving on this blog. Now, the bio:

    “Shep always knew he was different. After all he was Shep, not Sheep. And he was orange. And had a fifth leg growing out of him. But mostly because he was orange – and *that* made him an individual. Shep never understood why he was sent to Guantanamo bay, was it the grazing or the braying or the daemonic legions he unleashed on Mrs Watson’s paddock during crèche to keep the lambs amused? Either way he wasn’t going to stay there – the food was wholly unacceptable!

    And so after smuggling in the longest plank of wood he could get for three straws and all twelve lines of useful intelligence gathered there, the plan to escape was hatched. With all his might and stealth one night, Shep, the most individual of sheep lowered the plank from his cell to freedom. Only the other inmates caught wind of the plan as it was a very windy night and Mr Moose dashed across, only to be blown down into the courtyard.

    Every animal that tried fell the same way but not Shep. Each time the wind blew, he would topple over only to be saved by that fifth leg until he was once again grazing freely on some fine Cuban grass. After his orange coat was spotted by a captain of a Mechanical hamster appearance, he was brought aboard and the captain – who was quite chuffed to meet a singular not plural sheep, agreed to ferry Shep back to Mrs Watson’s paddock.”

    😛

    Like

  24. There’s no need for a cliche to describe Gareth. The third born in a prestigious family and left with nothing more than a surname, he was inducted into the ranks of templars at an early age. He rose through the hierarchy to the title of paladin, a virtuous warrior of God.

    But he got a bit to frisky with the battle nuns one night, taking three to bed and walking out with one the next morning. Then they found the drugs in his tunic, a few ounces of white rose. Punished with three years of penance, Gary resigned, becoming more depraved. Looking for a cheap thrill anywhere he could, the young sheep fell into the pulp world of mad scientists. That’s where he met Dennis.

    Only a child could trust a diabolical stuffed hamster, but Gary took the job as research assistant, so long as he got his weekly fix. Whether it’s testing the bright orange Muroidea carapace armor or the nefarious mustard gas launcher, Gary constantly factors in Dennis’s plans, schemes that will one day wrack the world.

    Like

  25. The tension is killing me (not that i’m likely to win, but i need to know who the winner is – now!!!)
    P.S i think mechanical hamster is one of the best writers blogs, from an aspiring writers p.o.v, due to all the thoughtful advice
    P.P.S I know flattery doesn’t win competitions, i mean the above sincerely.

    Like

  26. Name: Mr. Cable (the unstable)

    Coming from the Eastern Fringe, far from the realm of Ultramar and the Tau spheres of conquest, a race, as old as the stars themselves, lives, content in their isolation, the race known simply as Lah’M Chor’ps.

    This species, having a very similar resemblance to the Ovis Aries species of ancient Terra, these creatures, are well renowned for their drinking habits, often emptying ale houses before moving on to the next.

    It was upon one of these many drunken outages that Mr. Cable obtained his reputation as a bit of a psycho and, contrary to popular belief, his extra leg. Many people believe, wrongly, that Mr. Cable was born as a mutant, with five limbs, that the fifth one had been grown as a result of growing up in the harsh, radiation filled streets of New Guantanamo Bay. Though he is indeed, a freak of nature, born with the incurable MSD (mad sheep disease), his condition was not responsible for his fifth leg.

    During one drinking session, Begless (the local homeless being) committed the ultimate blasphemy of bumping into Mr. Cable, causing him to spill his pint. I shall not go into details as to what happened shortly after, as it would be too graphic to record, but suffice to say, Mr.Cable found himself with an extra leg, while his unfortunate victim became known as Begless the Legless (a fitting name in more than one way).

    Using a combination of dark sorcery and Jokaero nanotechnology, the leg is now a fully operational part of Mr. Cable, kicking anyone who ever ventures close enough to spill Mr. Cable’s pint, a deterrent against the greatest of sins.

    Like


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