When I first approached grimdark fiction, which is centered primarily on morally ambiguous or just plain evil people and antiheroes in dark worlds, I mostly saw the fantasy side of it. The first example I was presented with in terms of “grimdark” fiction was George R. R. Martin’s World of Fire and Ice series, which is filled with an assortment of dirty politics and characters, while more noble characters struggle to survive in such a world and often lose.
Grimdark Magazine soon revealed to me that grimdark fiction expands beyond just fantasy and can be seen in all aspects of speculative fiction, from science-fiction to horror, and may even cover general fiction as well (think Scorcese films, or There Will Be Blood). We get central characters who are unapologetic bad or morally gray, with very few “Mary Sues”.
In their first issue, Grimdark Magazine introduced me to Mark Lawrence, a great grimdark fantasy writer. The story Mark provided the magazine, Bad Seed, was an good introduction to his work for me. Grimdark also did a great review of Mark Lawrence’s The Liar’s Key in another issue (and now I have to read all of Mark Lawrence’s other books before TLK or I’ll be lost).
The magazine has also taught me about Joe Abercrombie, who is also called the “King of Grimdark”, with their review of Half a King. They share the works and reviews of many great authors, established and rising, from Django Wexler (who provided a GREAT story about a magical assassin with ninja-like aspects), to Victor Milan, the author of The Dinosaur Lords, and Michael R. Fletcher (who I interviewed for Beyond Redemption, a book I hope to review sometime this year).
Right now, Grimdark Magazine has 7 issues available. Though I get them from Amazon, they also sell issues on their website. I highly recommend this magazine for anyone who loves dark fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, as well as for those who like anti-heroic characters. Also consider checking out their Antagonists fundraiser- there’s really great prizes for those who support it!