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The Grimdark Magazine Battle-off Competition

Image modified with permission from Raymond Swanland.

Originally printed as cover art for Subterranean Press' limited edition release of The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie.

Grimdark Magazine presents a battle of battles.

From the very first time fantasy and sci-fi authors put pen to paper or fingertips to keys, we love writing a raging battle scene. They are fun, engaging, brutal, gory, whirlwind affairs and a fantastic way to really get into writing. They challenge, and often maim or kill, our characters and are the scenes of heroism and desperation, villainy and plain old bad luck. The best part is that whether an author is self or traditionally published, a good battle scene often brings out that extra level of passion that can really hook a reader.


Give us a 1,000-word excerpt featuring a battle scene from your published work (self-published or published by a small press, doesn't matter). We'll post it on our site with a public voting system and let our readers decide which is their favourite. Whoever ranks in the top seven at the end of the voting period will be passed on to our panel of judges.

There are first, second and third prizes up for grabs based on a straight up tallying of panel judge votes.

Readers: Check out as many battle scenes as you can. Vote them on a scale of 1 to 5 at the very bottom of each page. Every vote will count towards getting your favourite scenes into the top 7 and give the competing authors a chance to win plenty of awesome prizes.


Competition Sponsors

Our prizes have been graciously donated by our competition sponsors. In one way or another we've worked with each of these contributors over the first year of our existence. They are fantastic companies and people producing excellent work and we urge you to support them by clicking through to their websites to see what each has to offer.


Judging Panel

Some of our favourite authors have put their hands up to join the final judging panel. They'll rank the top 7 entries from favourite to lease favourite. When the scores have been tallied, we'll name our top three and start dishing out the goodies.


Anthony Ryan

Author of the Raven's Shadow trilogy and Slab City Blues series. Find out more about his books over on his website

Richard Ford

Author of the Steelhaven trilogy and Black Library author. Find out more about his books over on his website.

Tim Marquitz

Prolific author best known for his Demon Squad andBlood War series and editor-in-chief of Ragnarok Publications. Find out more about Tim's books over on his website.

Graham McNeill

Black Library, Games Workshop, Blizzard, and Arkham Horror author. Find out more about Graham's books over on his website.

R. Scott Bakker

Author of The Second Apocalypsefantasy series and creator of the most brain-bending author blog, The Pound BrainFind out more about Bakker's books over on his website.



Congratulations to the authors who've made it to the final round of the GdM Battle-Off competition!

Position Author Name Points
Kassan Warrad
Claire Frank
Scott Oden
Livio Gambarini
Graham Austin-King
Seth Lindberg
Joanne Hall




The entrants have provided the very best of their battle scenes. Click on each entry, have a read, and score each one on a 1-5 scale at the bottom. Who knows, your next favourite author might be hiding in there!

Voting kicks off as soon as the pages go up.

A Spell of Swords 
by Robert Ryan
Lords of Dyscrasia 
by Seth Lindberg

Fae - The Realm of Twilight
By the Graham Austin-King

Seven Undying
by Kassan Warrad

Dead Woman's Hand
By Brian Barr

By Raphael Ordonez

An Altered Fate: Echoes of Imara
by Claire Frank
The Boy Who Stole His Flesh Back
by Stephen E Tull
The Art of Forgetting: Nomad
by Joanne Hall
The Crimson Blade
by Jay Faulkner

Theos Khthonios
by Scott Oden

The Brave and the Dead
by Dave Robertson
Eagle En Garde
by Olga Godim
by Wade Garret
Eternal War - Armies of Saints
by Livio Gambarini
The Shadow Cycles
by Philip Emery
Betrayal's Shadow
by Dave-Brendon de Burgh
Heaven's Gate
by Toby Bennett
Shadow of the Raven
by Matthew Ward
The Last Kinmark
by Josh Brannan
Wrath of the Medusa
by T.O. Munro
The Mechanikals
by John Dodds
by William Diaz
by Lucas Thorn
The Sane King
by Matt Knott

 What's up for grabs?

Our competition sponsors have really outdone themselves in contributing to this prize pack. There are plenty of books, including signed and numbered editions, plenty of authors, and some other goodies.





Signed Un-Numbered Unfettered

Grim Oak Press


Signed First edition of Joe Abercrombie's Half a War 

The Quill & Claw Signed First Editions


Kindle Fire HD with all of Realmwalker Publishing Group's titles loaded onto it

Realmwalker Publishing Group

Blackguards anthology paperback

Ragnarok Publications

FUBAR: A Collection of War Stories by Weston Ochise ebook (Kindle or ePub) 

Cohesion Press

Editorial Services 

Up to five thousand (5,000) words editing provided by Mike Myers, Grimdark Magazine's line editor, to be used for one short story or novel (value $80). You can see Mike's work in the fiction releases of GdM#2, #3, #4, and #5.

Cover Art Services

8.5 x 11 (inches) full-color illustration including one full-body character with background provided by Spiral Horizon Art in jpg format. You can see Jason's work on the cover of GdM #4.


Grimdark Magazine First Year Bundle Pack

Grimdark Magazine



The Testament of Tall Eagle paperback

Ragnarok Publications

SNAFU bundle pack ebooks (Kindle or ePub)

Cohesion Press


Editorial Services

Up to two and a half thousand (2,500) words editing provided by Mike Myers, Grimdark Magazine's line editor, to be used for one short story or novel (value $40). You can see Mike's work in the fiction releases of GdM#2, #3, #4, and #5.

Cover Art Services

7 x 9 (inches) B&W illustration including one partial-body/portrait with limited background in jpg format. You can see Jason's work on the cover of GdM #4.

Grimdark Magazine First Year Bundle Pack

Grimdark Magazine





The Ties That Bind trilogy in your choice of format

Ragnarok Publications



Cry Havoc: League of Silence and Cry Havoc: Forlorn Hope by Jack Hanson ebook (Kindle or ePub) 

Cohesion Press.

Grimdark Magazine First Year Bundle Pack

Grimdark Magazine



 Sounds awesome! How will the Battle-Off work?

Send your 1,000-word entry to competitions@grimdarkmagazine.com between 00:01 AEST 15-Aug-2015 and 23:59 AEST 14-Sep-2015 (Australian Eastern Standard Time). Entries sent outside of this timeframe, or to one of our other addresses, won't be accepted. Depending on the amount of entries received, a cap may be introduced at our own discretion.

You'll receive an automated acknowledgement and we'll create a page for your entry. (Click here for an example of what your page will look like). You'll be notified via email of your page going up with the corresponding URL.

A voting system will be set up on our website and readers encouraged to read and vote on pieces. The leaderboard will be updated as votes come in. Each piece will have its own page and cover image. Our affiliate links to your Amazon/Apple/etc sale sites will be posted beneath each work should readers decided to find out more or purchase your book.

Once the author window is completed, the voting will remain open until 15-Oct-2015.

Our judging panel will make a decision on the top 3 by early November, 2015

The winners will be announced and prizes awarded in November, 2015.


 Anything else I need to know before entering?

There are a few last items that are hard-and-fast rules
  • The author must be a self-published or published by a small-publisher and have their books up for sale on, at a minimum, Amazon.com, or iBooks, or Kobo.
  • The author must provide an excerpt and cover image to be placed on Grimdark Magazine's website free of charge. Novellas and short stories published on the aforementioned platforms are fine. WIPs aren't accepted. 
  • It is the author's responsibility to obtain publisher permission for Grimdark Magazine to publish the excerpt, where the rights are currently help by another publisher.
  • The excerpt must not exceed one thousand (1,000) words, exclusive of the title, author name, associate links, etc.
  • The excerpt must be submitted to competitions@grimdarkmagazine.com in either doc or docx. No other formats will be accepted. Entries provided in other formats will be rejected without being read.
  • The excerpt must portray a battle (e.g. two substantial forces engaging in conflict - not 1 vs 1 or squad vs squad). This can include fleets (ocean-based and space-based), planes, jetbikes, dinosaur mounts, etc.
  • The excerpt must have a fantasy or sci-fi setting.
  • Our voting system has a cheat prevention system. If it overdoes it and blocks your vote, please contact me on adrian@grimdarkmagazine.com.
  • In the case of a tie for a prize, the judging panel will be expanded by one member to provide a resolution. We will source this panel member when and if they are required.

Good to go?

At 00:01 on the 15-AUG-2015 AEST, the submissions email address will open. We're looking forward to seeing your submission!