Which tau books and stories are worth reading?

Discuss Tau background and even your own Cadre fiction here.
Hawkins
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Which tau books and stories are worth reading?

Post#1 » Oct 18 2016 08:05

Comrades!

I need your help! As a newly integrated Gue'vesa, I want to immerse myself in Tau literature and culture, to better learn the tenants of the Greater Good.

What screeds from this 'black library' are worth reading?

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Kakapo42
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Re: Which tau books and stories are worth reading?

Post#2 » Oct 18 2016 08:43

Which Tau stories are worth reading?

Try this one, this one, this one, This one, this one, This one, this one, this one, This one, this one, this one, and this one. Any any future ones with the 'Into Silence' title. ;)

In all honesty I've never really had that much use for any of the Tau Black Library fiction (or any Black Library fiction for that matter). All I ever really needed was the basic foundation of the codex and little short stories from White Dwarf (and the GW website back when they put article content up on it), and anything outside of that I just invented for myself. Even now what little I don't write myself I get from the outstanding work of the community, and you can find many excellent Tau stories and fiction in the library subforum of this very site. One of my personal favourites is Cerberus Unbound by White Knight.

A collection of some of the aforementioned short stories from White Dwarf can be found archived here.
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R.D.
Shas'La
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Re: Which tau books and stories are worth reading?

Post#3 » Oct 18 2016 08:45

Hawkins wrote:Comrades!

I need your help! As a newly integrated Gue'vesa, I want to immerse myself in Tau literature and culture, to better learn the tenants of the Greater Good.

What screeds from this 'black library' are worth reading?


Fire Caste, the Fire warrior novel, and, erm, not a whole lot more. Savage Scars isn't terrible I guess?

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Macknight
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Re: Which tau books and stories are worth reading?

Post#4 » Oct 18 2016 09:39

Look for the Kau'yon audiobook on youtube, I had it on my channel before GW censored me.
For the greater good!

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TauMan
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Re: Which tau books and stories are worth reading?

Post#5 » Oct 18 2016 09:52

R.D.

Here are three:
Firewarrior by Simon Spurrier - The one and only full length Tau novel, which is based on the old video game, but ignore that! This one establishes a lot of the culture concepts and gives many of the original tau words and phrases. Three blue thumbs up!

The Last of Kiru's Line by Braden Campbell - A novella concerns Shasdowsun and gives you some of her background. Too short, the Hero of the Empire deserved a little more story (IMHO). Otherwise a decent story marred by a Erich von Stroheim type villain at the end, really he' just missing the monocle and German accent. One and half blue thumbs up!

Sanctuary of Wyrms and Outcaste by Peter Fevervari - Both are short stories, but Outcaste is very short, and is really the backstory to a character who shows up in Sanctuary of Wyrms. More words and concepts here. Two blue thumbs up!

Warning do not read Tau Language Concordance until you have read the above listed works as it's full of spoilers.

That's all I've read, but there are more tau stories in other BL collections Damocles is an anthology of stories tying in with the Damocles Campaign book. I have not read this and can't vouch for it one way or the other, but...do a search for it on the A.T.T. forum and you'll learn more about it than you ever wanted to know! (Spoilers galore!) However, what I gather is that there is a serious challenge to "the willing suspension of disbelief". Others will probably post here with some strong opinions on the subject. :roll:

Last - Ignore that Kakapo42 behind the curtain! :) I appreciate the shameless plugs he's giving us all in the Into Silence series, but read the canonical works first. Then you can peruse our stuff at your leisure.

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KuroRyu
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Re: Which tau books and stories are worth reading?

Post#6 » Oct 18 2016 10:10

I remember reading "For The Emperor" a Ciaphas Cain novel that heavily involved the Tau, yes it isn't written from the Tau perspective but I really enjoy Cain as a character and I remember it being a really good read.

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ARC'Thunder
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Re: Which tau books and stories are worth reading?

Post#7 » Oct 18 2016 10:28

Tau fiction can be pretty finnicky. Some of it is good to great, others are downright terrible. Inconsistency is the only constant among the official lore. Also, more stories feature the Tau as antagonists than they do as protagonists.

Personally, I suggest the following:
  • Last Chancers: Kill Team by Gav Thorpe (one of the earliest bits of Tau fiction from BL. Imperial, but heavily features the Tau in the latter half)
  • Ciaphas Cain: For the Emperor by Sandy Mitchell (Imperial story with Tau (kind of) antagonists)
  • Shadowsun: Last of Kiru's Line by Braden Campbell
  • Out Caste by Peter Fehervari
  • Broken Sword by Guy Haley (found in the Damocles Anthology which has two bad stories, and two good ones)
  • Hunter's Snare by Josh Reynolds (the other good story in the Damocles Anthology. White Scars story)
  • In Service to Shadows by Joe Parrino (Ravenguard story with Tau antagonists)

I've heard some good things regarding Rogue Star by Andy Hoare, and the recent Storm of Damocles by Justin D Hill, but have not yet read them personally.

Some really recommend Fire Warrior by Simon Spurrier, but I really dislike the novel. It was written congruently with the accompanying game and feels incredibly gamey as a result. It features a shas on his first mission becoming the stereotypical one man army in incredibly far-fetched situations. For early foundations of the Tau, again I recommend Kill Team.

Other novels like Fire Caste by Peter Fehervari, or The Greater Good by Sandy Mitchell, feature the Tau but (despite the titles) they do not take a central role in much of the story. It also features a generally disliked notion of the Por becoming megalomaniacal warmongers without proper supervision (this behavior is also featured in Black Leviathan, also of the Damocles Anthology).

Also, I recommend ignoring any and all stories written by Phil Kelly because he has an awful record. This recommendation even stands for the Farsight Enclaves Supplement, as the story was written completely by him and it is full of plot holes and nonsensical narrative.

TauMan wrote:Last - Ignore that Kakapo42 behind the curtain! :) I appreciate the shameless plugs he's giving us all in the Into Silence series, but read the canonical works first. Then you can peruse our stuff at your leisure.
I also agree with TauMan about reading some official lore (codices for certain) before delving into all of the fanfiction here. Different players have varying tastes and perspectives on what they like about the Tau or how they're portrayed. Even my recommendations above are a result of cherry-picking the stories that cater to my own sensibilities regarding the Tau. The extreme ends of this spectrum are: "Noblebright" Tau which are truly good and thematically out of sync with the universe, and "Grimdark" Tau which are a dystopian Big Brother meritocracy held together only by psychic pheromones from the Ethereals (other minor differences of opinion exist in the fandom, such as XV8s being piloted like aircraft or like a Landmate :P ).

You can find more stories and articles in the Card Catalog. It's a bit outdated by now, but it has the inaugural stories as well as most up to the release of 6th edition. Also, the Library features not only fan stories, but it often has a few reviews of official stories, and some rather in-depth discussions about multiple topics across the fiction. Seeing such discussions might help inform you as to what "brand" of Tau you prefer, and what stories might cater to it.
Last edited by ARC'Thunder on Oct 18 2016 10:41, edited 2 times in total.

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Val'Sitsor
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Re: Which tau books and stories are worth reading?

Post#8 » Oct 18 2016 10:37

My two cents.

Firewarrior -despite that it suffers greatly from videogame heritage the book itself is pretty OK. Just ignore majority of action scenes and "boss fights" and focus on protagonist issues and depiction of tau culture. Where else you find out how the council of elements works or about Fire Academy? And we have remarkable Shas'El here. Bonus point - book was written before "Let's make the tau more grimdark"-doctrine, therefore it is free from majority of recent insinuations.

Out Caste, Sanctuary of Wyrms and Fire Caste . The things you should know:
1) All this stories are definitely good and worth reading
2) They depict not "common" tau, and you should not extrapolate this view on the whole Empire. Tau here are kind of "dark", but they should be. You find out why if you read Fire Caste
3) Fire Caste is not about tau. The scenes with tau are rare, but priceless

Fire and Ice - also not about tau in particular, but IMHO consists the best depiction on Farsight in BL

Broken Sword from Damocles anthology. It is very solid good story. But remember - there is only one story in Damocles, only the Broken Sword. Don't believe advertisement, descriptions and e.t. Other stories from here do not exist. Specifically, Black Leviathan doesn't exist. I have warned you.

Farsight by Phill Kelly isn't that bad, but is not good either. What's important - don't read the sequel.

And sadly, that's all. Or "sadly", because sometimes I wish that BL left us alone. It's seems that only two authors in the whole BL actually understand how tau works, and BL doesn't trust both of them like at all.

Hawkins
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Re: Which tau books and stories are worth reading?

Post#9 » Oct 19 2016 01:52

Usually, I just lurk on this forum, but it's thoughtful, detailed and genuinely helpful responses like these that keep me coming back over the years.

Thank you for both the recommendations and words of warning.

And Kakapto42? You write beautifully. I look forward to reading your stories.

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TauMan
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Re: Which tau books and stories are worth reading?

Post#10 » Oct 19 2016 09:58

Hawkins
Hawkins wrote:And Kakapto42? You write beautifully. I look forward to reading your stories.

Don't-drink-the-coolaid! :-? Those of us in the Into Silence series are getting worried about him...
[spoiler=]E'shay evelopingday away Lay Onray Ubbardhay omplexcay! :P[/spoiler]

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