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Wednesday , 04 January 2017 , 08 : 21 PM
This year saw an absolute truckload of grimdark material hit the shelves and now that the year's wrapped up, it's time to once again go to the GdM team for their picks of 2016. Matthew Cropley | Red Tide by Marc Turner Red Tide is a flawlessly executed fantasy novel. The first two books in Marc Turner’s Chronicles of the Exile were fantastic, but Red Tide exceeds them by drawing both discrete plot-lines together in a perfectly structured adventure. It’s my top pick for 2016 because I simply can’t think of a single criticism. Red Tide is a page-turner from the very beginning, filled with moral ambiguities, grit, visceral action, deep characters, wondrous magic, and horrifying monsters. It also succeeded in genuinely surprising me several times, and by the end all I wanted was for the next books in the series to be out already. Kristy Mika | Those Below by Daniel Polansky The best I've read from 2016 is Those Below (The Empty Throne #2) by Daniel Polansky. You know those photographers that go into complete disaster zones, where something absolutely catastrophic is occurring, yet they can take photographs that are stunningly beautiful? "Oh! See how pretty that nuclear bomb looked as it destroyed a civilisation! How spectacular!" is the best way I can describe it! The juxtaposition between Polansky's beautifully written prose, and the utterly ugly destruction perpetrated by the characters within the plot, made it the most disturbing book (duology really...) I've read in a long time. Cheresse Burke | Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo Crooked Kingdom, the stunning second half of the Six of Crows duology, is not just my favourite Grimdark read of the year, but possibly one of my favourites of all time. Bardugo gives us six compelling, emotional characters, who sacrifice morality, secrets and goodwill to settle...
Monday , 07 September 2015 , 01 : 05 AM
This book should be one of the introductory bibles to grimdark. There, I said it.   It's got a wide range of awesome authors writing for a very specific audience. And boy, do they do it well. What is Blackguards? Besides fucking awesome? It's an anthology by Ragnarok Publications featuring assassins, mercenaries, and rogues written by some of the best grimdark and dark fantasy authors out there. Back in 2014 I spotted something from a small publisher I didn't know a whole lot about on a website I'd never looked at before. Ragnarok Publications' Blackguards had gone up on Kickstarter. The Kickstarter had a fun vibe to it -- cheekily written with plenty of content -- so I threw down my hard earned and waited for the paperback to be delivered in the mail. In all honesty, I clean forgot I'd ordered it until I received an email from reception at work and ran downstairs to see what it was. When I first started reading Blackguards and taking notes for the review (with a memory like a sieve, you've got to take plenty of 'em!), it occurred to me that while some people might love to hear me crapping on about each individual story, others might not. So I've written two reviews: one that's an overall review with a few favourites, etc, picked out, and one where I've just gone berserk. I give you the long and the short of my review of Blackguards. The short of it Blackguards is a thoroughly enjoyable collection grimdark fantasy written by some of the premier authors of grimdark fantasy -- eg. Mark Lawrence, Peter Orullian, Bradley P. Beaulieu, Cat Rambo, John Gwynne, Anthony Ryan -- and a bunch of newer faces. The stories range from the cheeky and funny, to the super dark and vicious,...
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Thursday , 14 May 2015 , 11 : 07 PM
Grimdark Magazine issue #4 is locked in, and have we got a cracking issue ready for you! Behind another brilliant piece of artwork on the cover, you'll get short stories, an article, a review, excerpts and a couple of interviews. Here's what you'll find inside: Cover art: a dark piece from Jason Deem named Symbiosis. Short stories: In Brazen Dreams by Matthew Ward shady characters converge on a powerful relic. Tara Calaby asks "what happens after happily ever after" in Ashes.  Redemption Waits by Mike Brooks set in his Keiko universe (Dark Run). A Steelhaven short story by Richard Ford, The Halfwyrd's Burden. Excerpts: A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall The Liar's Key by Mark Lawrence Reviews: The Vagrant by Peter Newman Interviews: Peter V. Brett  Brandon Sanderson  Article: The Mud, the Blood and the Years by Ragnarok and Orbit author John R. Fultz Purchase Grimdark Magazine #4 now If you'd prefer to buy from Amazon, do us a favour and PLEASE USE THIS LINK. We get a kickback from Amazon. Every little bit helps!
Wednesday , 25 February 2015 , 09 : 15 PM
In Defence of Grimdark By Sean Grigsby “Grimdark is dead.” – Justin Landon (Nerds of a Feather blog) Across the ages, when women and men were under attack by forces that would see their heads on spikes, they would take up whatever weapon they called friend, rally together, and slog through the mud to defend what they believed in. My sisters and brothers of grimdark, our favourite subgenre is under attack. A recent blog featured three publishing professionals who were asked if grimdark fantasy has had its day in the sun and what would come after. If these individuals didn’t decree the full-on “death” of Grimdark, they brushed it off as some phase the SFF community would get over in due time—like pubescent acne. “Grimdark is a parody of itself, and the best grimdark writers are not writing grimdark at all. They're writing about hope. And if the authors who popularized the genre aren't writing grimdark, then who is?” – Aidan Moher (Nerds of a Feather blog) Mark Lawrence gathered the denizens of grimdark to voice their opinions over on his blog, and now we, the fans (well, the ones on the GdM team, anyway), are having our say (including quotes plucked to suit our agenda). In one of my recent novels, a character asks, “Can you appreciate the light without the darkness?” If fiction holds a mirror to society, wouldn’t it be a bit hypocritical of us not to acknowledge the parts of ourselves that weren’t all that attractive? Like grimdark author Scott Lynch (Gentlemen Bastards Series), I’m a firefighter. I’ve seen the dark underbelly of society. I’ve seen what drugs can do to a person’s psyche and anatomy. I’ve witnessed brigands being thrown into police cruisers and the look on their face as realization sets in—what they’ve done,...
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Monday , 13 October 2014 , 06 : 27 AM
  Prince of Thorns Mark Lawrence Review by Jeremy Szal   Hang onto your intestines; it’s going to get ugly. From the opening chapter, from the very first paragraph, you’ll notice two things. The first one which is that you’re walking into a brutal fantasy world filled with violence and sorrow. And the second? That Mark Lawrence is one of the most skilled fantasy writers working today. Prince of Thrones was unleashed to the world back in 2011, only to be met with severe controversy from social justice warriors and thin skinned reviewers pandering the book for it’s allegedly jumping on the grimdark bandwagon and promoting misogyny. Some of the bloggers and reviewers themselves admit to not reading the book before criticising it, and others slam it for copying Game of Thrones and accuse Lawrence merely acting upon his sick little fantasies. (I actually bought the books based on this controversy, so thanks for the reviews.) Suffice to say that none of these baseless accusations are true. Love and detail went into creating this book, a love of fantasy and a love of well-crafted prose, a brilliant execution and control of the English language. It’s difficult to read at the best of times and questionable in others, but that makes it much more of a rewarding challenge. Our main protagonist, Jorg, is a butchering, murdering, spiteful little bastard that we all love to hate. But Lawrence is skilled enough to make us still interested in his predicament, make us drawn to the character, despite his callous cruelty. It’s by no means an easy feat, but Lawrence has done it with a natural grace. Through an incredible story that jumps back and forth in time, we learn to understand Jorg as we delve into his twisted little psyche. With every second...
Sunday , 28 September 2014 , 04 : 28 AM
As well as providing an awesome Broken Empire short story for Grimdark Magazine's first ever issue, Mark Lawrence was good enough to chat to us about grimdark, short fiction, Broken Empire, Red Queen's War, and more. Reader warning – This interview contains spoilers [GdM] The Broken Empire is a cracking read, darker than dark, making us love people we probably should not. You’ve shown a skill few authors manage in achieving that and made yourself a stalwart of the Grimdark genre. We can’t wait to see where The Red Queen’s War takes us over the next few books. [GdM] What does “Grimdark” mean to you? [ML] To be honest, I don’t know what it means. My first encounter with the term was seeing it used as a pejorative to belittle certain books. Since mine were the only titles it was aimed at that I had actually read, that didn’t leave me a lot to build on in order to construct a definition. If you ask people you’ll get a great range of very different answers, from “this thing I don’t approve of” to “this thing I like”. I even made a blog post on the subject! http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/what-is-grimdark.html   [GdM] What do you like to see in fiction and why? [ML] That’s a very big little question! I guess the only useful answer is to say how what I like might be unusual or at odds with the majority, because obviously I like to be entertained in a diverse collection of ways just like any other reader. I like an intellectual side to what I read, though I don’t demand it. I don’t like message-fiction. I’m not interested in being ‘educated’ in the politics of the author or steered toward an opinion. I do like to see the power and beauty...
Saturday , 20 September 2014 , 02 : 57 AM
In celebration of Grimdark Magazine's first release on the 1st of October, 2014, we're running a competition. Join our mailing list or pre-order issue number 1 (and join our mailing list) for the chance to win either an annual subscription or the first issue of Grimdark Magazine for free. Winning is simple. Be the 1st, 100th, 200th, etc, person to sign up to our mailing list before 23:59 September 30th (AEST) and you'll get a free membership for the first year. That's 4 free editions of Grimdark Magazine.  Be the 25th, 50th, 75th, 125th, 150th, 175th, etc, person to sign up to our mailing list before 23:59 September 30th (AEST) and receive the first edition of Grimdark Magazine for free.  All people that joined Grimdark Magazine's mailing list prior to the 00:01 21st of September, 2014, will be entered into a separate draw. The prizes are one (1) annual membership and two (2) first issues. Winners will be picked randomly out of a hat. If a Winner has pre-paid for the first issue, the payment will be refunded in full. Competition winners will be announced on Grimdark Magazine's Facebook page and by email on the 1st of October, 2014. Joining Grimdark Magazine's mailing list means we'll be able to notify you of new issue releases. We will respect your privacy, only using your details for the purpose that they were obtained - notifying you by email of our quarterly ezine releases. That's it. Nothing more. Nothing less. Pre-order here or click this whopping great green button to get on the list and into the competition!     You're able to opt out of the mailing list: After 23:59 October 2nd 2014 by emailing adrian@grimdarkmagazine.com. You'll remain in the competition. Before 23:59 October 2nd 2014 by emailing adrian@grimdarkmagazine.com. You'll be removed from the competition.   Notice to Australian NSW and...
Thursday , 28 August 2014 , 05 : 43 AM
Welcome to the Grimdark Magazine blog! Adrian here, founder of Grimdark Magazine. Here you can expect to see book reviews, opinion pieces, and interviews from myself and the GdM team. To kick this off, I thought I'd answer a question I've been asked a few times at this point (a mere two months since I listed us on Duotrope, Ralan, and Submission Grinder). Why did I pick Grimdark? Publishing short fiction rarely pays dividends (there is a long list of closed listings for semi-to-pro paying markets), so why risk it on such a love it or hate it niche market? Two reasons. The niche market needed a pro-paying short fiction magazine. Fair enough. Passion. I love the Grimdark genre. It strikes a chord in me as a person. I'll explain. A really enjoyable topic on Goodreads started about one of my favourite series (Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire). It focussed on why we love reading about bad people such as Jorg Ancrath. It really got me thinking. Why do we love reading about bad people? Let's start by saying that connecting with a character is about finding something in there that you can relate to. For readers of Grimdark it's not rape, or murder, or necessarily any other action often portrayed in the works we love. It's the acceptance that everybody you know, including yourself, is a certain shade of grey between being a golden hero and a cold hearted villain. Nobody sits at either end of the scale. In my opinion, the idea of the golden hero in modern day society is a flawed one. So often a person is placed in the media as the hero of this incident, or the saviour of that person, or the king of some sporting game. It's all too common for that same person to be...