I want to get into the Warhammer 40K Universe. Where do I start?

#1 Posted by mordukai (7133 posts) -

So I've been playing Space Marine this past few days. Great game. Not at all what I was expecting. I would say my top action game of last year. I mean I always aware Gear of War borrowed from it but I didn't know it was to this extent. To be fair I am talking about the overall look not the gameplay.

Anyways, I wanted to get some background info so I looked into various sources (mainly the wiki site) and I find myself attracted by this universe. Now I stopped reading the wiki site because I want to get into this universe so I want to know where do I start? Any particular book series or game series I should look into?

Just a guideline. I already know about the Horus Heresy and the Great Crusade (though not in great detail just the general story of it) and the origin story of some of the Primarchs.

Thanks.

#2 Posted by Bucketdeth (8004 posts) -

Now that you know about the Horus Heresy go get em, they are fucking fantastic and a great starting point. I was in the same boat as you after playing Space Marine and picked up the first book and couldn't stop reading. I'm currently on the fourth book and loving it.

#3 Posted by Garris (186 posts) -

I love the wh40k universe the most well written stuff is probably Dan Abnett , eisenhorn ravenor and gaunts ghosts as well as titanicus

#4 Posted by Harpell (146 posts) -

Horus Heresy is great, I also recommend the Eisenhorn books and the Ciaphis Cain series. Besides novels, most of the lore is written in the various rulebooks of the tabletop game, which I highly recommend if you like wargaming and hate having any money.

#5 Posted by Slax (894 posts) -

I have also been wanting to get more into the 40k universe, although mine is mostly due to playing a lot of Dawn of War 2.

#6 Posted by mordukai (7133 posts) -

@Bucketdeth: Cool. Will do that after I get my lazy ass to finish A Clash of Kings.

#7 Posted by sins_of_mosin (1556 posts) -

I've read dozens of 40k novels and would highly recommend them.  The Gaunt's Ghost series is generally considered very awesome.

#8 Posted by Jadeskye (4366 posts) -

i just picked up the third book in the horus heresy series, love it so far!

#9 Posted by SlightConfuse (3963 posts) -

Esienhorn trilogy and Ravenor trilogy are good palces to start

#10 Posted by TheSouthernDandy (3782 posts) -

Good book suggestions here. Some of the space marine battle books are good too cause they're pretty self contained. Rynns World is awesome. Also if you like RTS games check out the Dawn of War series. Hella good. Man...I'm excited for you getting into it. I like this stuff way too much.

#11 Posted by RetroVirus (1456 posts) -

Read Eisenhorn and the Warhammer wiki.

#12 Posted by Aronman789 (2676 posts) -

The Eisenhorn, Gaunt's Ghosts, and Ciaphas Cain series are all very good books, and I would recommend them all.

I myself started with Eisenhorn, which gives a better look at how people actually live their lives outside of all the war stuff and how Inquisitors operate.

Gaunt's Ghosts give a bit more of an insider look at the workings of the Imperial Guard, and the struggles the soldiers have to live with.

Ciaphas Cain builds on the Imperial Guard stuff, while also giving a look at the workings of the Commissariat and is pretty damn funny to boot.

#13 Posted by Seedofpower (3925 posts) -

Dan Abnett, Jonathan Green, and Ian Watson are my most favoriate authors. You should check out there stuff.

If you really want to dive into it. I also suggest picking a part of the universe and finding fiction about that. Like a primarch or a chapter or a race. It really helps.

#14 Edited by big_jon (5709 posts) -

Best start is probably the Ultramarine books, or grab the Space Marine Codex, there's loads of fluff in there, and great art too.

#15 Edited by Jrinswand (1695 posts) -

I would argue that the best place to start with 40K is not actually with the books, but with another video game: Dawn of War II. Then again, I have very little tolerance for novels based on licensed properties.

#16 Edited by Do_The_Manta_Ray (568 posts) -

@Jrinswand: Definitely see your point, mate; the warhammer fiction is, however, not to be underestimated. One of the later Horus Heresy novels titled "Prospero Burns" recieved a perfect score from the New York Times and topped their best-seller list for weeks.

I've read just about every piece of classical literature there is to be had; ranging from Dostojevsky to Hemmingway to Kafka. The par excellence of literature and beyond. Sounds rather pretentious, doesn't it? Well, it is to a point; so in order to relax and just cool my brain-cells from time to time, I pick up 40 K novels, and you know what? They're thoroughly enjoyable, and even compared to some of the best writing history has seen, holds up well. If you want science-fiction, you won't find a better brand.

Dawn of War II is a fantastic game, though; I'll definitely give you that.

@mordukai: I'd say the Horus Heresy is probably the best starting point; as it not only is really well-written, but also serves as a prologue for the happenings in the 40th millenium; it presents you to most of the hostile races, and really makes the impact of what the imperium has become in later days seem all that much grander. So I'd suggest you get the first few Horus Heresy novels; they are cheap as it's mass-product paper-back, and at least one or two books that play out in the 40th millenium. There's so called "omnibusi" which basically is a collection of numerous books from a series. I'd recommend the "Eisenhorn" one by Dan Abnett; as it's really well written; the main character is an inquisitor, so you really get to see how brutal and paranoid the regime is, and how dire the circumstances. It's also a very "human" book, where as the Horus Heresy mainly focuses on the proto-god Space Marines. And finally, get yourself a book about the Chaos Space Marines; to see the other side of the conflict. I'd suggest "Soul Hunter" by Aaron Demksi Bowden or "Lord of the Night" if you can find it. Both great books.

Just don't be discouraged; the warhammer 40 k universe is without a doubt the most complex IP in existance, but as long as you don't pick up the third book in a specific trilogy, you'll be able to enjoy it nonetheless and follow the story easily enough.

One last mention are the codexes for the actual table-top game. You can find scans of them online on torrent sites. Not strictly legal, but considering that you won't use them to build armies, etcetera, just to read the back-story and witness the great art, I think nobody would bat an eye-lid at it and if it helps you get an understanding of the lore and increase your interest in the franchise, they'll indirectly make a profit on it anycase. Here's me being diplomatic. Just don't pirate games, duder; that's wrong. (Seriously.)

And hey, enjoy the twilight years of your social life.

Ps. Clash of Kings was REALLY good, but why read it while the second season is airing?

#17 Posted by jakob187 (21642 posts) -

Honestly, just start anywhere that you want. Once you get a taste for the 40k Universe, you'll have no problems just digging in and checking out anything and everything. It kind of works well that way.

#18 Posted by Jrinswand (1695 posts) -
@Do_The_Manta_Ray said:

@Jrinswand: Definitely see your point, mate; the warhammer fiction is, however, not to be underestimated. One of the later Horus Heresy novels titled "Prospero Burns" recieved a perfect score from the New York Times and topped their best-seller list for weeks.

I've read just about every piece of classical literature there is to be had; ranging from Dostojevsky to Hemmingway to Kafka. The par excellence of literature and beyond. Sounds rather pretentious, doesn't it? Well, it is to a point; so in order to relax and just cool my brain-cells from time to time, I pick up 40 K novels, and you know what? They're thoroughly enjoyable, and even compared to some of the best writing history has seen, holds up well. If you want science-fiction, you won't find a better brand.

Yeah, I'm working on an MA in LIterature. Whenever I'm not reading for school, I'm reading comic books. They serve the same basic function. I'm just super picky about what sci-fi I'll read. I tend to gravitate more towards the artsy-fartsy Philip K. Dick (and his descendants) end of the spectrum.
 
I love Warhammer 40K and Space Marines, but I think that's a dish best served interactively.
#19 Posted by Grillbar (1795 posts) -

you start with the exe file ba da pish*

sorry

#20 Posted by mordukai (7133 posts) -

@Grillbar said:

you start with the exe file ba da pish*

sorry

I gravitate more to the Ba Dam Dam Pish then the short Ba Da Pish. Makes the wait just a little bit more sweet.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.