The Infinite and the Divine – Robert Rath

A close friend of mine is a big fan of wrestling. Not the real kind, the very fake kind. Pointing out that ‘wrestling is fake’ tends to gather his ire. He knows its fake, he enjoys it because its fake. It’s not a sport, it’s entertainment. He doesn’t need you to explain to him that it’s fake, thank you. I have the exact same relationship with Warhammer 40k. Detractors of it will come up to you and say ‘yeah, but don’t you find it a little ridiculous?’ Yes Captain Obvious, I do1. That’s the point. I’ve also read and enjoyed Thomas Pynchon2. Don’t come at me with ridiculous.

For the record, I don’t play Warhammer. I am too poor. If I had the money and the time management skills, then I surely would. Alas, it’s not for me right now. Let’s see what the future holds.

If you know nothing about warhammer generally, no one will ever give you a better description than MandaloreGaming. The video says it all better than I ever could. What is going to be relevant to this review is a little bit more about the Necrons, a race of non-humans aliens older than the cosmic microwave background radiation who sold their souls to weird space deities for immorality, got turned into Terminators, and then enslaved those same gods.

This novel follows the petty rivalry of two members of the Necron aristocracy, and hijinks ensue that turn into standard sci-fi space opera intrigue. It was done well enough for what it is, and done in a way that I felt a person wouldn’t be all too lost even if they know nothing about Warhammer.

Sci-fi as a genre has a few easter egg type competitions. People who read a lot of it talk about those challenging things sci-fi authors do. One I’ve talked about before is the attempt to write a truly alien race – that is, write about a race of aliens without resorting to anthropomorphization. Rath here took the dead opposite approach. Fuck that. Anthropomorphize away. And it didn’t bother me. Because it’s Warhammer. It isn’t trying to be high-minded.

I pretty much once kicked off from a writing group because the guy leading it asked asked someone to write a piece on why ‘Grimdark sucks’. The guy wanted to be a lit nazi. Fuck him. Read Warhammer if you want and tell anyone who doesn’t like it to fuck themselves.


1 I have a favorite example of the ridiculous-ness. In the 40k universe there are literal gods. It’s not a debatable fact. They exist. They have physical incarnations of their godly powers in our world. In this universe a character aligned with those very same chaos gods is an atheist. Not only is he an atheist, but he is such a strong atheist that demons are literally weaker around him.

Ridiculous and I love it!

2 I’ve said shit like this to meat-space friends and gotten them to roll their eyes at me. These are the same friends that never bothered to read Pynchon, and was the same person who wanted to read Finnegan’s Wake because “it is the best novel,” like literature has a fucking leader-board. Tom Pynchon’s most famous novel is about a dude running around England during the time of blitzkrieg with a Nazi homing beacon up his dick, and is causing a V2 rocket strike with every sex act he has, and this guy is pounding it out like its going out of fashion.

Ridiculous?

Another novel has were-beavers.

Ridiculous and I love it!

Frankly, I have no idea. And I am happy this way.

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