November 28, 2020, 11:28:42 PM

Author Topic: What are the Bleakest stories you have read?  (Read 859 times)

Offline eclipse

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What are the Bleakest stories you have read?
« on: August 31, 2019, 07:56:53 AM »
And strangely enjoyed.
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 isos81

Re: What are the Bleakest stories you have read?
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2019, 08:06:06 AM »
How about you answer your own question at least once?  ::) ;D
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'

Online Rostum

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Re: What are the Bleakest stories you have read?
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2019, 08:08:37 AM »
but the squiggle formerly known as Eclipse prefers to avoid the limelight.

Nod by adrian Barnes (who was suffering a brain tumour while he wrote it just to make it bleaker)

Beyond Redemption by Micheal Fletcher which is about as grim dark as it gets.

Offline eclipse

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Re: What are the Bleakest stories you have read?
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2019, 01:18:57 PM »
How about you answer your own question at least once?  ::) ;D

I’m I not your muse dear isos81
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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Online Alex Hormann

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Re: What are the Bleakest stories you have read?
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2019, 06:38:20 PM »
Poppy War is so bleak it goes beyond grimdark. Worse when you think about the real-world influences. I also found Cage of Souls to be pretty bleak, not so much in a dark, nihilistic way, but more in the this-is-almost-depressing way.
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Offline hexa

Re: What are the Bleakest stories you have read?
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2019, 11:10:07 PM »
The Floor Above by M. Humphreys, in magazine Weird Tales, May 1923

I also like Flowers for Algernon

Online Elfy

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Re: What are the Bleakest stories you have read?
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2019, 02:26:31 AM »
The Floor Above by M. Humphreys, in magazine Weird Tales, May 1923

I also like Flowers for Algernon
Oh yes Flowers for Algernon kicked me fair and squarely in the feels.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline Lanko

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Re: What are the Bleakest stories you have read?
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2019, 04:19:26 AM »
Gonna agree with Flowers for Algernon.

I'd say The Last Witness by K.J. Parker felt pretty bleak by the end. The Folding Knife doesn't feel as bleak in personal terms, but everything went to shit for the character too and nothing he worked for mattered.

And of course, The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb, has some very bleak and miserable moments too. I heard it keeps getting worse (I mean the misery) as the series progresses.

Game of Thrones feels very bleak most of the time.

I didn't find Beyond Redemption and Prince of Thorns bleak. They didn't have the cold and miserable feel of the others.
Slow and steady wins the race.

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Offline S. K. Inkslinger

Re: What are the Bleakest stories you have read?
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2019, 11:18:04 AM »
I thought Godblind was pretty darn bleak when I'd read it, and it fell pretty high (like top 5 I think?) on Mark Lawrence's list of grimdark books on the FF facebook page. I mean nailing a guy's testicles into his anus in pretty gruesome, even if it was just in our own imagination, you know.

Offline cupiscent

Re: What are the Bleakest stories you have read?
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2019, 12:27:14 PM »
I mean, if we're talking bleak, rather than gruesome (in contrast to SK above), then... Wuthering fucking Heights, I guess? (God, I want to pour myself (another) drink just thinking about it.)

More relevantly, it's the "and enjoyed" part I'm having trouble with. I used to really enjoy a rips-yer-heart-out story, but in the last few (fifteen) years I've preferred to have fun with my reading. So... well, the first one that suggests itself is the conclusion of Daniel Polansky's Low Town trilogy, She Who Waits, considering how things end up for our first-person narrator. (I'm not spoiling it.) But it was sort of satisfying even so. And perhaps Marlee Jane Ward's brutal novella Welcome to Orphancorp, because while the narrator goes forth into the world with a fucking fury to Do The Thing, we have seen such huge evidence that the entire world is stacked against her and the tiny flame of hope sort of hurts.

Oh wait. Once I start thinking of it as rip-your-heart-out... well, the winner is clear. The Traitor (Baru Cormorant). OW, Seth Dickinson. FUCKING OW. I just want to lie on the rocks and stare at the uncaring sky. And also I'm really looking forward to the sequel.

Offline Yora

Re: What are the Bleakest stories you have read?
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2019, 03:40:57 PM »
Lynortis Reprise by Karl Wagner. It's one of his Kane stories, about an evil sorcerer who doesn't age and recovers from every injury who hates his life but refuses to end it and accept that the curse of immortality has destroyed him. Obviously, none of the stories are happy ones. But this one takes it even further when he arrives at the ruins of a city that had been besieged and bombarded by alchemical weapons for years before it was stormed and almost everyone inside slaughtered. Everything sounds like the nightmarish hybrid of Stalingrad and the Somme, but with trebuchets and sorcerers.
I think it's perhaps the best one in the series, but the bleak twist in it only really hits when you've gotten familiar with the series in general. Probably noy nearly as effective if you read it by itself.
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Offline Lanko

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Re: What are the Bleakest stories you have read?
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2019, 09:20:45 PM »
Lynortis Reprise by Karl Wagner. It's one of his Kane stories, about an evil sorcerer who doesn't age and recovers from every injury who hates his life but refuses to end it and accept that the curse of immortality has destroyed him. Obviously, none of the stories are happy ones. But this one takes it even further when he arrives at the ruins of a city that had been besieged and bombarded by alchemical weapons for years before it was stormed and almost everyone inside slaughtered. Everything sounds like the nightmarish hybrid of Stalingrad and the Somme, but with trebuchets and sorcerers.
I think it's perhaps the best one in the series, but the bleak twist in it only really hits when you've gotten familiar with the series in general. Probably noy nearly as effective if you read it by itself.

2 or 3 years but I remember this story very well. The revelation was pretty shocking for me.

Yeah, I agree that you need to have some familiarity with the setting/character first, reading it in the Night Winds volume fit perfectly after reading the previous stories and getting the character/tone.
Slow and steady wins the race.

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Offline Neveesandeh

Re: What are the Bleakest stories you have read?
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2019, 12:00:18 AM »
Off the top of my head, 1984, the last book in the First Law trilogy and a short story by Neil Gaiman I can't remember the name of.