Black Library Submission

4 minute read (789 words) Published:

My BL story pitch was declined

At the end of January, I had pitched a story to Black Library as part of their anniversary submission window after the guys had talked my into doing it on a Geek News Radio episode. Elevator pitch: Columbo meets the Space Marines.

Black Library Submission

Today I got back an email saying that they have declined my pitch and can’t provide feedback due to the high volume of submissions which reach them. I had suspected something like that would happen.

I’ve already decided to channel whatever creative writing energy is left from getting excited about this back in January into another writing project I have been working on for a couple of months. I don’t want to withhold my idea from you, though. So here it is, my pitch as I submitted it to BL. Judge for yourself.

“Gehenna’s Burden”

Black Library Anniversary Open Submission – Fabian A. Scherschel

Genre: Detective Story / Warhammer 40,000

Summary, 131 words

On the Imperial backwater world of Hirden, a gruesome series of murders is causing unrest in the population of the industrial metropolis of Hive 37. Investigator Reinn Gehenna has been tasked with bringing the Emperor’s Justice to the perpetrator and for once in his career he might actually punish the guilty party, having secured solid proof that the Prefect of Hive 37 is tied up in the slaughter. However, his investigation ends abruptly when he meets Captain Nerian of the Angels of Vengeance Space Marine Chapter. Why do the Angels of Vengeance want to obscure the foul deeds of a mass murderer? Why has the Prefect suddenly disappeared? Gehenna’s inquiry will bring the Arbites Investigator to the very brink of death and might doom his entire home planet along with him.

Sample, 500 words

Gehenna sat in the mass conveyor, gloomily paging through the case file. For about the fifth time, he was pondering why the office of the Prefect had ordered him to this meeting at the auxiliary administratum complex. He always reached the same, inevitable conclusion: someone had talked. They had found out about the Prefect and they were putting an end to the investigation. The only reason to have this meeting at the secluded auxiliary offices outside the hive was that someone wanted as few people as possible to know about it.

As to who that someone was, he really had no clue. The summons to attend had come from the Prefect’s office, but not from one of his personal clerks. That was odd. Gehenna scratched the stubble on his cheek. Ah hell, he thought as he tried to resign himself to his fate, I can’t change what is going to happen. But Vandire’s oath, I could really use a drink. After twenty gruelling, soul-destroying years on the force, he was well accustomed to this feeling.

Gehenna was ushered to the inner courtyard of the office complex. A minor scribe led the way, and as Gehenna rounded the corner to the yard, his legs nearly gave way under him. He was half expecting soldiers from the planetary defence force lining up for a firing squad. But what awaited him weren’t PDF soldiers. In the centre of the large courtyard, insanely out of place, sat a Stormraven gunship. Its jet black livery seemed to suck up all light in its vicinity. In front of the ship stood the largest living being Reinn Gehenna had ever seen. A mythical creature that had walked straight out of the folk tales his grandmother used to tell him when he was still a small boy, sitting on her lap. In front of the Stormraven stood a Space Marine in full battle plate. A bolt rifle hung lazily at his side.

The Investigator had expected his life to end in a rain of searing las bolts. Still, seeing the Space Marine standing a mere twenty metres from where he had come to an abrupt stop almost made him throw up from shock. He desperately tried to catch his breath as the looming figure walked towards him. “Investigator Gehenna, I presume”, said the giant. His armour was as black as the gunship’s. Ornate heraldry covered the shoulder plates. “I am Captain Nerian, of the Emperor’s Angels of Vengeance chapter.” The Astartes formed the sign of the aquila. All Gehenna managed to squeeze out of his burning lungs was a weak “Your Lordship…”, before his voice caught in his throat. “Investigator. Let me make this brief, you must be very busy and I do not wish to delay the noble deeds of the Arbites”, said the ceramite-clad giant. Gehenna thought he saw a pained expression in the startling green eyes. “I respect your work on the Slasher murders. But I am afraid your investigation is now at an end.”