This is a promising list! I’ve read only some of these books, but the matches are a good recommendation on the quality of some others. But I think Joe Abercrombie’s books (e.g. The Blade Itself) would belong here too
- China Mieville – I’ve only read the one book so far, but it was thoroughly impressive and original.
- H.P. Lovecraft – heard of it, but it’s spawned so many spawn…
- K.E. Wagner – The book of Kane. Like Conan with a Brain? well, maybe some day.
- Neil Gaiman. American Gods. Yes, it’s dark in many spots. Excellent.
- Mervyn Peake – Gormenghast. 1950’s.
- Michael Moorcock. You know, just…. well, I might get around to them eventually.
- Stephen Donaldson – Thomas Covenant. I will get back around to these eventually – there’s a third set of books that I missed. Definitely a big influence – I am sure my parents didn’t know how grisly these were when I was reading them at age 13.
- C.S. Friedman. Coldfire Trilogy. Maybe I should revisit, it was ten or more years ago that I tried any of these
- Gregory Maguire – basis of Wicked the musical. Must be darker than that 🙂
- Lev Grossman – hm. Never heard of him.
- Kristine Kathryn Rusch – series The Fey. Certainly the Retrieval Artist books have enough death and dismemberment to make this plausible. The cover art reminds me of Tigana, though that may be over-influenced by the colors and simple use of profiles.
- Fritz Leiber – doesn’t Leib mean corpse auf Deutsch? Ill met in Lankhmar. This series does sound dark.
- R.W. Chambers – short stories from a long time ago
- Tim Lebbon – comes from the horror genre, which is why I have not heard of him.
- Sean Williams – I think I’ve read stuff by him. Good quality.
- Glen Cook. That sure looks like Darth Vader on the cover of this book 😦
- Alan Campbell – Scar Night. Ah hah! This might be the book I confused with Mainspring.
- M. John Harrison – this sounds like an odd book, might be good
- Sergei Lukyanenko – a Russian author, never heard of him
- Robin Hobb – on my list of to-read, but I can’t vouch for her writing yet.
Dark Fantasy is a nebulous psuedo-genre of the fantastic. It can cover urban fantasy with rough edges, Lovecraftian horror, epic fantasy with violence and dirt still intact — but it’s all these things and more. It’s any story of the fantastic where things aren’t Tolkien-levels of happy. Where people are complex beings, where there’s no clear good and evil, where loved ones die, villains win, people fuck and hate and bleed and shit. And these are some of the best. Even though we’re calling this a list of titles, we’re covering more than that. Some of these are individual novels
- Buried Deep – Kristine Kathryn Rusch (bibliophage91.wordpress.com)