Warhammer novels for children ages 8+ are on the way

Games Workshop's Warhammer settings have been adapted into novels since the late 1980s, but never anything quite like the two books they've just announced (opens in new tab). The Warhammer Adventures line is, as their website puts it, "perfect for bookworms aged 8-12 who want to read about heroes, aliens and monsters."

Of the two stories announced so far, Attack of the Necron (opens in new tab) is a Warhammer 40,000 story while City of the Lifestone (opens in new tab) takes place in the Age of Sigmar setting. Young adult fiction doesn't shy away from mature themes, but it's still tough to imagine the Warhammer 40,000 universe—the setting that gaves us the phrase "grimdark"—being the basis for kid's books. 

On the other hand, Games Workshop fans are an aging audience, many with kids of their own, and a way for them to pass their love of chainswords and big shoulderpads down to the next generation could be a welcome thing.

Over on Facebook (opens in new tab), Black Library (who publish the Warhammer books) have been fielding complaints and queries from fans worried their beloved Warhammer is going to be watered-down. "We havn't [sic] watered down anything - we just added a shallow end", they've said. And: "It's still the grim darkness of the far future, but there's a night light on."

Before anyone gets too concerned about Warhammer being changed, it's worth having a look at author Stephen Baxter's excellent article about the early days of Games Workshop's original novel line (opens in new tab). Even the books that weren't for kids have always had content guidelines, and as Baxter puts it, "We had to imagine our ideal reader as 'an intelligent 18-year-old', we should avoid sadism and explicit sex, and 'the keynote above all should be fantastic adventure'."

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games (opens in new tab). He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun (opens in new tab), The Big Issue, GamesRadar (opens in new tab), Zam (opens in new tab), Glixel (opens in new tab), Five Out of Ten Magazine (opens in new tab), and Playboy.com (opens in new tab), whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.