August 06, 2020, 10:52:37 AM

Author Topic: Dark Fantasy v Grimdark  (Read 12024 times)

Offline DrNefario

Re: Dark Fantasy v Grimdark
« Reply #30 on: October 09, 2017, 01:43:24 PM »
For last year's Reddit Bingo, I decided my definition of grimdark was whether it used the two top-tier swear-words. Under that definition, the ciminal underworld stuff like Low Town and Locke Lamora are grimdark (I did in fact end up using Low Town in the Bingo), but you may be right to try to separate them.

It seems to me that there are three different things going on:

- Some level of historical truthfulness about people's behaviour, aka "gritty realism". Dirt, disease, bodily fluids. Man's inhumanity to man. This is where GRRM and Abercrombie mostly fit, and I'd say where Cook's Black Company fits.

- Anti-heroes and moral relativism. This is where Prince of Thorns goes, and maybe the noir stuff. (I hate using noir in that sense, btw - "noir" is a visual style for movies. The stories are "hardboiled". It just happens that noir films are mostly of hardboiled stories.) Where it's combined with the other elements this seems to qualify something for grimdark, although there have been anti-heroes before (eg. Elric, Conan).

- Swearing and gore. They all include a bit of this, but the second-rate copyists think it's all they need.

Personally, I was never aware of the alleged Warhammer 40K origin story of the term "grimdark". I thought it was just a joke name that stuck.

Offline Lanko

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Re: Dark Fantasy v Grimdark
« Reply #31 on: October 09, 2017, 04:54:17 PM »
I only read The Builders by Polansky, "if Tarantino made a movie with animals". I don't remember much of what happened, as it was more than two years, though.

I remember I once opened a thread asking what should I read next and someone said Polansky for them was too painful and depressing, too gritty and edgy.

Later I think someone also told me that if I had enjoyed Black Company or First Law I would enjoy Low Town, so there's that.


« Last Edit: October 09, 2017, 04:56:52 PM by Lanko »
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Offline eclipse

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Re: Dark Fantasy v Grimdark
« Reply #32 on: October 09, 2017, 06:13:34 PM »
i love Polanski low town , I didn’t think it was that dark myself
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Re: Dark Fantasy v Grimdark
« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2017, 01:42:49 AM »
Personally, I was never aware of the alleged Warhammer 40K origin story of the term "grimdark". I thought it was just a joke name that stuck.

The first term I heard the expression grimdark was when talking about Warhammer 40k's fluff and how people liked different parts of it, with grimdark coming from the 40k tagline "In the grim darkness of the future there is only war". Admittedly, my anecdote isn't proof, but I've never heard anything to disprove it, the tagline predates grimdark by a looooong way and there is a huge overlap between fan bases, particularly in the UK. I'd add that, insofar as I'm aware, most current grimdark authors are British. Which is odd, as grimdark borrows heavily off of Americana. If I had the time to research it, I'd write an essay suggesting that a solid part of grimdark is a British response to American glorification of violence, because on the surface that seems super likely.

In any case, words and terms evolve. A lot of grimdark today is about moral relativism; 40k was very much on the surface good vs evil, just with racial supremacists for the good guys. Is grimdark forever going to be a genre associated with parody and satire? I dunno about that, but so far I've seen little to suggest its outgrowing its origins, even if authors don't have that in mind. Tbh, I don't see how you write fiction that shows humanity and its  ideas in a very cynical nihilistic light without heading towards parody and satire.

As for the question... dark fantasy is fiction that overlaps with horror, grimdark is fiction that overlaps with cynicism and dystopia.