Category Archives: List

26 Best Grimdark Books

Art by Kai Lim

Grimdark is a fantasy subgenre that is particularly dystopian, amoral, or violent. Its protagonists tend toward the conflicted antihero, and its worlds are often brutal and nihilistic. The writing also tends to be much grittier and realistic. A whimsical quest to get the magic doohickey this is not.

The slightly overwrought term is inspired by the tagline of the tabletop strategy game Warhammer 40,000: “In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war.”

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23 Best Fantasy Mystery Books

We like mystery because life is mysterious, and storytelling exists to help us figure out how to live. Mysteries help us figure out how to deal with the unending avalanche of unknowns in our own lives (probably not directly, unless you deal with dead bodies a lot).

Some say that mysteries are popular because people like puzzles. Well, I like a certain kind of mystery, but I’ve never been a puzzle person.

I like Raymond Chandler mysteries, the hard-boiled detective who fights to stay alive while prowling dark alleys and darker minds. Often, I don’t care that much about the final reveal of who the real criminal is. It’s the journey, the tortuous path that I like.

In fantasy especially, the who-dunnit can easily become a what-dunnit.
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The Best Planetary Romance Books

Art from the game MARS Adventure Omnibus (Savage Worlds) by Adamant Entertainment

In planetary romance, the bulk of the action consists of adventures on one or more exotic alien planets, which usually have distinctive physical and cultural backgrounds. Many planetary romance stories are a little goofy and pulpy, but some take their characters a little more seriously. Note that the “romance” part of the term doesn’t refer to romantic love, but to the old-timey definition of romances as a kind of adventure tale (science fiction itself used to be called “scientific romance”).

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