Guest Post: Grimdark and the Dangerous Type by Loren Rhoads

All about the grimdark!

Reposted from Tracie McBride’s blog:

When Publishers Weekly reviewed my novel The Dangerous Type, they accused me of trying to bring the style of grimdark fantasy to space opera. I wasn’t familiar with the term grimdark — and even though I liked the sound of it, I wasn’t sure it was meant as a compliment — so I emailed my gaming friend Seth. He wrote, “Grimdark can mean different things to different people, but for me at least, if I saw a review like that, I’d immediately be interested in reading the book.” He equated grimdark fantasy with betrayals, hopelessness, and, often, social commentary. Seemed like the shoe fit…

The phrase grimdark comes from the game Warhammer 40K, whose tagline is “In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.” So grimdark started out as science fiction, got applied to fantasy (think Game of Thrones), and now is wrapping a tentacle around space opera.

In The Dangerous Type, the Human-Templar War ended while Raena Zacari spent 20 years in prison, but the struggle is far from over. The Templars are dead, wiped out by a human-engineered plague. The human empire that conceived and disseminated the plague — and imprisoned Raena — has been dismantled. Humans are spread thin across the galaxy, refugees and survivors of the tribunals after the War. Still, the galaxy pays lip service to the fiction that “even humans have rights.”

The rest of the essay is here:

About Loren Rhoads

I'm the author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, as well as a space opera trilogy. I'm also co-author of a series about a succubus and her angel. In addition to blogging at, I blog about my morbid life at
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