Late in the evening, belly full of too much high class pizza, yet still unsated, I finished reading Fulgrim, the fifth novel in the Horus Heresy sequence.
The Space Marines are organised into twenty legions, each led by a primarchs, a bloke (they’re all male) with a stupid name. The Emperor’s Children, a bunch of stuck up perfectionists (who, despite a dedication to perfection in warfare, still think a decent tactic is to run headlong at their enemies) are led by Fulgrim, who seems to be some kind of dreadful glam rock version caesar. He has long, platinum blonde hair, and like all the other primarchs, gasses on about how wonderful he is. Fulgrim is also a bit of an ass: he fancies himself as a painter and sculptor, but when he asks somebody whose actual job is to be a sculptor what he thinks of Fulgrim’s art, he gets in a snit when the man is as honest as he told him to be.
Anyway, the Emperor’s Children are one of the Traitor Legions (boo! hiss!) aligned with Chaos, and this is the story of how that happened. You could view this as a tragic tale, of how the Emperor’s Children, seeking ever greater perfection, discovered dark knowledge and became corrupted, but that would be silly. The Emperor’s Children are all just a bunch of sanctimonious, preening twats. When not spending their time telling the other legions how clever they are, they’re getting embroiled in senseless warfare with giant evil snake men.
This leads to Fulgrim picking up a cursed sword that’s possessed by a demon, and it whispers in his subconscious and makes him do terrible things, and the terrible things get more and more awful, until he chops his brother’s head off. At this point Fulgrim has a moment of clarity (which you wish he’d had before he got his nipples pierced and spent months flouncing around) and gets so sad that he allows himself to be possessed by the demon in his sword so he can stop feeling guilty all the time.
And thus the book ends, Fulgrim imprisoned in some attic within his own head while the demon giggles and continues to torture his soul, while prancing around in this new body. The Emperor’s Children have gone full glam-rock by this point, and are either playing giant, Killer Bagpipes to smite their enemies, or orgasming over the feeling of their own faces melting off, or some other filth.
So yeah, that Fulgrim, bit of a twat really. The book is quite hard work because Fulgrim’s essential twattishness leaves you annoyed that you’re reading about him. There are some interesting forays into revolting body horror (the Emperor’s Children are accompanied by a bunch of hipster artists who are meant to be chronicling their achievements, and instead screw around and inadvertently make demonic music for the Killer Bagpipes to play, and then all murder each other with their own genitalia).
Anyway, that’s about that. This is probably the least of the first five books in the Horus Heresy series. One hopes that ones that don’t centre on the World’s Biggest Wankers are better – I figure the subject matter has a lot to do with the enjoyability of the novel.