The competition for the 1st and 3rd places in the Battle-Off came down to one point in each case. One. Point. With such an epic bundle of prizes on offer it was great fun to see the judges come through with their scoring - the lead changing with pretty much every list of rankings I received - and some additional feedback (above and beyond the rankings I asked for!) for our finalists.
With no further stuffing around, I give you your winners!
Graham McNeill said, "brutal and vivid, good understanding of fighting, no loss of character in the scale of battle."
Richard Ford said, "The short sharp prose of this really places you in the thick of it. And there was good use of emotional impetus through dialogue which gave the action meaning."
Joanne's won an absolute swag of prizes, including a signed un-numbered Unfettered from Grim Oak Press, a signed first edition of Half a War from Quill and Claw Signed First Editions, a kindle with all of Realmwalker Publishing's titles loaded to it, editing services from Mike Myers, cover services from Spiral Horizon Art, Blackguards from Ragnarok Publications, Fubar from Cohesion Press, and a GdM first year bundle pack! How's that for making it hail?
Graham McNeill said, "Well described scene, nice to see a potential development of Leonidas as Eternal Champion…"
R. Scott Bakker said, "The strongest piece overall, I thought (though Joanne's piece matches it in certain respects). Impeccable pacing. Impeccable imagery. A deft eye for distinctions of scale: battles are vast, self-cannibalizing machines with as many pieces as fingers and hands, let alone limbs or men. The ability to slide up and down the different descriptive scales is an impressive one, and Scott demonstrates an enviable command of it here. Battles transform struggle into setting, but there's no reason they have to remain merely such. Battles can also be characters (heroes, charlatans, villains), births, conclusions, and they can be revelations, as is the case in Theos Kthonios. Very well done."
Richard Ford said, "The writing in this was far the best of any sample. It reminded me of a lot of Warhammer fiction, the description was visceral and really placed you in the midst of the action. If Scott hasn’t applied to be a fiction writer at the Black Library already he really should!"
Scott, apart from having the world's coolest surname, has grabbed himself The Testament of Tall Eagle from Ragnarok Publications, a SNAFU bundle from Cohesion Press, editorial services from Mike Myers, cover art from Spiral Horizon Art, and a GdM First Year Bundle!
Graham McNeill said, "nicely described setting, good hook for wanting to know more of the mysterious guy at the end."
Last, but certainly not least of the prize-winners, Graham has landed himself The Heresy Within trilogy from Ragnarok Publications, 2x Cry Havoc novels from Cohesion Press, and the GdM First Year Bundle Pack.
Graham McNeill said, "well described scene, easy to understand and still appreciate the chaos of battle."
Richard Ford said, "Clear unambiguous prose helped keep the sustainment of tension throughout. I really liked the heroic elements."
Graham McNeill said, "Good to have one from a non-human perspective and clearly a vivid mythos backstory…"
Richard Ford said, "The prose in this was really unique and the worldbuilding very rich."
Graham McNeill said, "nice, vivid battle scenes, good to see non-Western themed characters and lore"
Richard Ford said, "Short sharp sentences made the violence flow. ‘Blood and gore spun off the blade to make way for a fresher coat’ is a great line. Wish I’d written it!"
Graham McNeill said, "interesting setting and I’m a sucker for angels vs daemons"
Richard Ford said, "This was a great portrayal of the chaos of battle."
The Grimdark Magazine Battle-Off Competition was our first crack at running a major competition. Thank you to our prize partners for making the competition so attractive and providing some real meat for our prizes, our judges for giving us their time and opinion, the entrants for trusting us to represent their work to voters in a fair manner, and our voters for placing nearly 1,600 votes!