April 14, 2021, 06:58:19 PM

Author Topic: What are the attributes of Grimdark?  (Read 1897 times)

Offline Peat

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What are the attributes of Grimdark?
« on: January 26, 2021, 10:48:31 PM »
If we were to define genres by how well it included 3-5 big attributes/definitions, what would be your 3-5 attributes of Grimdark?

(Or more or less I guess, but I think that's a good number to be thinking of)
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Offline cupiscent

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Re: What are the attributes of Grimdark?
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2021, 12:17:38 AM »
hmmmm I'm going to mull this over a bit more, but my kneejerk response was:
  • Goals/motivations are more "anti-negative" than objectively positive - e.g. survival or revenge, rather than "save the world"
  • Common presence or potential for physical, structural and/or emotional violence

Offline S. K. Inkslinger

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Re: What are the attributes of Grimdark?
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2021, 03:12:05 AM »
Everyone is evil, the world is dark and grim, every character suffers, there's violence everywhere, gory and taboo themes like rape (including that of children), dismemberment, torture, etc.

Offline isos81

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Re: What are the attributes of Grimdark?
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2021, 05:57:43 AM »
Suffering without hope, I guess. When there's hope, it gets out of grimdark IMO.
Kallor shrugged. 'I've walked this land when the T'lan Imass were but children. I've commanded armies a hundred thousand strong. I've spread the fire of my wrath across entire continents, and sat alone upon tall thrones. Do you grasp the meaning of this?'

'Yes' said Caladan Brood. 'You never learn'

Offline eclipse

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Re: What are the attributes of Grimdark?
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2021, 06:01:35 AM »
Dark humour, often then not most grimdark book fail at this and we end up with juvenile American humor instead. The humour should be on Joe Ambercrombie levels.
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

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Offline eclipse

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Re: What are the attributes of Grimdark?
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2021, 06:06:43 AM »
Devices and Desires by K.J Parker is probably a good example of grimdark, I found it a bit of a slog myself through.
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

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Offline Elfy

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Re: What are the attributes of Grimdark?
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2021, 06:18:48 AM »
Dark humour, often then not most grimdark book fail at this and we end up with juvenile American humor instead. The humour should be on Joe Ambercrombie levels.
This. Despite how bleak the outlook in Abercrombie’s books can be, I do find myself laughing out loud at some of the dark humour in the dialogue. Especially true when the Northmen are involved.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline HLTinsley

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Re: What are the attributes of Grimdark?
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2021, 09:17:59 AM »
I write grimdark and I love/hate when people ask this question. I'm going to be talking about it at the end of this week on an online convention panel (with some incredible authors) and I don't think that an hour is going to be even nearly long enough to answer. Mark Lawrence has some great takes on what Grimdark is, if you follow him on social media there are some posts about it where he explains it very eloquently.

Online ScarletBea

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Re: What are the attributes of Grimdark?
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2021, 09:37:21 AM »
I agree with what you said, especially

- Goals/motivations are more "anti-negative" than objectively positive (cupi)
- Suffering without hope (isos)
- Dark humour (eclipse)

I think Inky got it a bit "too much" - it's not *that* bad...

I'm going to be talking about it at the end of this week on an online convention panel (with some incredible authors)
Oh at the TBRcon, I got that session highlighted to watch :D I hadn't linked your name to that author hehe
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Offline HLTinsley

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Re: What are the attributes of Grimdark?
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2021, 09:44:17 AM »
It's going to be an interesting conversation that's for sure, I'm looking forward to it.

Offline Bender

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Re: What are the attributes of Grimdark?
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2021, 12:23:22 PM »
Violence, killing, bloodshed, torture, gore.
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Re: What are the attributes of Grimdark?
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2021, 02:03:40 PM »
I think it's more about despair and emotional darkness, almost more that the physical one.

Funnily enough, one of the most grimdark books for me is Anna Stephens' Godblind trilogy - for all the really nice things it's got, there's this pervadaing sense of despair...
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Online Alex Hormann

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Re: What are the attributes of Grimdark?
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2021, 05:45:55 PM »
Nihilism and sarcasm. For me, grimdark has to a) show the futility of existence, and b) do it with a wink to show the author knows they're going over the top. A lot of modern 'grimdark' has abandoned that humour. When I look at Godblind or We Are the Dead, the lack of humour is a massive turn-off. It's not my only issue with either book, but it's the biggest.
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Offline HLTinsley

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Re: What are the attributes of Grimdark?
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2021, 06:14:01 PM »
Nihilism and sarcasm. For me, grimdark has to a) show the futility of existence, and b) do it with a wink to show the author knows they're going over the top. A lot of modern 'grimdark' has abandoned that humour. When I look at Godblind or We Are the Dead, the lack of humour is a massive turn-off. It's not my only issue with either book, but it's the biggest.

I think this is a pretty good example of my taste in grimdark reading. I do read/enjoy the more serious grimdark but I prefer a good dose of snarky humour. I like Scott Lynch and Nicholas Eames for this reason (although many would argue that they're grimdark adjacent rather than grimdark, particularly Eames). I've heard Mark Lawrence uses humour in the Red Queen's War series but I've not read it myself yet.

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Re: What are the attributes of Grimdark?
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2021, 06:22:10 PM »
Nihilism and sarcasm, I like that. The grimdark I enjoy toes the line so that it almost becomes satire. To me, it's not grimdark if it's the tired, teenage edgelord trope of evil for the sake of evil. There's a huge difference between exploring human darkness and revelling in it.