Book review: Grimdark Magazine Issue #1



Grimdark is a genre that seems to be going from strength to strength. It is a kind of dark fantasy fiction with morally ambiguous characters, dark settings and worlds and it’s something I enjoy reading a great deal. Although 2016 hasn’t seen me read much in the way of it, 2017 will be different.

Grimdark magazine is a great way of familiarizing yourself with what the genre has to offer and this first magazine features a piece by Grimdark heavyweight Mark Lawrence. The magazine features fiction, non-fiction and reviews spanning the genre and this first issue, released back in late 2014 is very entertaining and well put together.

Opening with a short story by Adrian Tchaikovsky, this tale is a great way to open your eyes to the fantastic world that Tchaikovsky has created with his ‘Shadows of the Apt’ series. The series is filled with rich settings as warriors from different insect kingdoms do battle and befriend each other. Although this particular short won’t do a great deal for fans of the series it does work very well as an introduction to some of the different clans you can expect to read about in the books, and it will definitely entice newer readers to explore the books further.

A non-fiction piece about what Grimdark is follows, and although only short it does tell you what you need to know and encourages you to explore further should you feel the need.

A rather forgettable short piece by Nicholas Wisseman is bookended by two author interviews, one with Grimdark(Lord) superstar Joe Abercrombie and the other with Graham McNeill (Warhammer 4oK). Both interviews are entertaining and Abercrombie in particular comes across well but the real jewel in the crown is the short story by Mark Lawrence – a story of a mans metamorphosis from average Joe (good with weapons though) to bloody outlaw. Lawrence’s writing here is excellent and this short tale was brutally good fun.

This first issue of ‘Grimdark Magazine’ is pretty good. The Lawrence short is ace and the non-fiction good as well. A couple of “Just OK” stories, but that’s simply my opinion. I have read a few more issues of this zine since issue one came out and it’s very good. A lot of very popular Fantasy/Grimdark writers have been keen to jump on board which shows that they respect the publication. It’s a little on the short side even for a magazine, however there are treasures to be found and fans of the genre should definitely check it out if they haven’t already.

Pick up a copy from here.

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