This is my first review of the magazine Grimdark. I was asked by Lee Murray if I would be willing to check out her entry. Since the whole thing was available on Kindle Unlimited, I decided to download it and see what sort of content they offer.
Grimdark Magazine “presents the darker, grittier side of fantasy and science fiction. Each quarterly issue features established and new authors to take you through their hard-bitten worlds alongside articles, reviews and interviews. Our stories are grim, our worlds are dark and our morally grey protagonists and anti-heroes light the way with bloody stories of war, betrayal and action.”
This is the last issue with Jason Deem providing cover art,s so it makes me kind of sad that I’m just discovering the magazine now, because his work is really amazing.
Grimdark Magazine #19 Review
I’m going to step through each offering in the story, and then give my overall thoughts at the end.
The Fool Jobs – Joe Ambercrombie
———–>A heist gone wrong, but without all the boring bits dragging it out. Had me a smile at the end. 4/5
An Interview with Syama Pederson (conducted by Adrian Collins)
———–> Decent interview here, but I can’t say that anything really stood out other than that I’ve never seen an interview with someone doing fan art/animation. I really admire the work they put into doing it.
Review: Blood of an Exile (Written by Brian Naslund, reviewed by James Tivendale)
———–> It was an informative review without spoiling the hell out of things. I can’t say the book looks like one that I personally would pick up, but based on Naslund’s review, I know a few people I’d probably mention it to.
Eye of the Beholder – Trudi Canavan
———–> This short story contains some rather disturbing content at one point involving a foetus. The writing was decent enough, but I can’t particularly say I cared for it. It has a soap opera-ish feel, and that just doesn’t do it for me. 3/5
(Almost) Total Failure: Succeeding in the Short Story Market – T.R. Napper
———–> This was a good read. Napper is a fan of foul language, and it kept the whole thing feeling much more real and less filled with pat advice than it might normally have. I haven’t read any of his work (that I remember) but I wish the dude the best.
Under Calliope’s Skin – Alan Baxter
———–> Baxter can write the hell out of almost anything. He proves it time and again. He did it here with Under Calliope’s Skin where a hard-ass military team gets their asses handed to them by invisible-ish aliens. Very grimdark, very fucking good. 4/5
Review: The Monster of Elendhaven (Written by Jennifer Gisebrecht, reviewed by malrubius)
———–> Well, the book sounds like a good one, but considering I feel like malrubius gave me most of the story in the review, I’m afraid I don’t particularly have any desire to seek the book out.
Death at the Pass – Michael R. Fletcher
———–> This was a good, weird story. One that left me thinking after it was over. The last line is a thought-provoking one. It led me to again to wanting to find that story where death is no more and how it affects the world.
An interview with Geoff Brown (conducted by Adrian Collins)
———–> Major respect for Geoff Brown in this interview. He tells it like it is, and calls out small presses (and others involved in the scene) for half-assing it more often than not. I haven’t read any of the books they put out, or watched the Netflix series that adapted some of the work,but I may do that soon.
Lifeblood – Lee Murray
———–> Lee brings it, as usual. Even though there was no chomp’n’stomp in this one, I still found myself enjoying the story. Rooted in the past, with a lesson about respecting the beliefs of the people around you. The story was full of emotions, and you can’t blame the main character for what they did, and even at the end you still kind of feel sorry for them even though they should have known better. 4/5
So, I was happy (if not always thrilled) with the short fiction collections they included. The interviews were insightful and I enjoyed reading them even when I had no clue who the person was that they were interviewing. Split feeling on the reviews, obviously. Overall, it’s a well-organized magazine with enough content to make you feel like you got your money’s worth. I may go back and look at previous issues.
Side note: Major credit given for the fact that a female headline this issue and the cover art is drawn from her story.
Lilyn G is the founder of Sci-Fi & Scary, and leader of the Coolthulhu Crew. She does book and film reviews for both genres the site focuses on. Her tastes run towards creature features, hard science fiction, and lots and lots of action. She also has a soft spot for middle-grade fiction that rears its head frequently.
Though no longer involved with Ladies of Horror Fiction due to other responsibilities and a too-full plate, she was one of the original 4 co-founders.
Feel free to chat her up on Twitter as long as you aren’t hitting her up to review your book.