Abercrombie and Kennt: Grimdark Magazine #1

This month saw the release of Grimdark Magazine #1. Here’s my awesome review!

SHADOW HUNTER

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s opening story takes deep into the Insect Kinden world of Shadows off the Apt. Gaved, a freelance, fire conjuring Wasp teams up with two bandits to seek out the Moth, a scholar of dark arts in a time of logic and machinery.

All thw grimdark stable are there. A damaged hero in a violent world. Magic, double crosses and a giant…

OK OK no spoilers!

It’s a taut, impeccably balanced tale that sets the tone for the rest of the magazine.

THE NEUTRAL

Grimdark of a more contemporary bent. Mike Gelpin’s The Neutral is part action thriller part existential crisis. After losing his wife and daughter our protagonist joins the Brotherhood. A group of impartial ambassadors and globetrotters who’s mandate is negotiation and resolution in volatile situations.  Gelpin seems to position us between the ‘terrorist’ and ‘authority’ while subtly implying there is very little difference between them.

The world of the neutral if full of hijackings and hostage situations. A sort of cops and robbers epidemic where both sides are pushed to violent means and the neutrals try to keep ‘balance’. It’s a good story, but over before I wanted it too. Modern grimdark settings are few and far between, and I hope to see more in further issues.

THE WOMAN I USED TO BE

Gerri Leen’s offering is probably the most character driven of the stories. A solemn pace and almost literary focus, GdM editors have placed it perfectly after a Joe Abercrombie double feature. If Tchaikovsky and Gelrpin’s efforts are the hot sauce and cheese, then Leen is the meat of this sandwich.

I won’t give away too much other then it’s a near future thriller about identity. Full of subtle movements, it fits nicely into GdM’s open approach to the genre.

Oh… And there’s a female protagonist 🙂

BAD SEED

The centerpiece and closing story is Mark Laurence’s Bad Seed, At the longer end of the stories within this first edition., Bad Seed is the hiustory of Red Kent, a member of Jorg’s brotherhood in the Broken Empire Series. Set a thousand years after a nuclear war Broken Empire traces the deep roots of revenge and Bad Seed is no different. Bloody, ruthless, and with a surprisingly we’ll rounded protagonist, Laurence delivers a coup de grace for GdM and Broken Empire fans thirsty for more.

GdM issue #1 represents a great initiative. Beyond the stories the mag is packed full of interviews and essays which highlight the positive aspects of the genre without shying away from criticisms. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran, or just wondering what all the fuss is about, GdM #1 is definitely worth your time, and your teeth.