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Ornamented Death
Jan 25, 2006

Pew pew!



There was a bit of discussion on the last page about 2017 being a bad year for horror. Now that I have some time to put together an effort post, I wanted to respond.

Last year was not a bad year for horror. It was perhaps a bad year for horror from major publishers, but a lot of really great stuff was released last year. With modern horror, if you're relying on the big publishers to put out anything good, you're going to be disappointed. Sure, sometimes they stumble into something like A Head Full of Ghosts, but by and large their idea of "good horror" is whatever door stop Stephen King or Joe Hill are putting out on an annual basis.

That said, I recognize that knowing where to look for quality small press horror can be difficult because the advent of ebooks has all but eliminated the barrier of entry to getting published and any lunatic can pretend to be an author and/or publisher. So let me make some recommendations for small publishers that are putting out consistently good work.

Undertow Publications: Run by Michael Kelly, Undertow is probably the best press out there when it comes to quiet horror. I think he only publishes collections and anthologies, but drat they're good. I'm particularly fond of the Shadows & Tall Trees anthologies and was excited to see it make a return last year. He also publishes The Year's Best Weird Fiction anthologies, and the choices and and the guest editors make tend to hew closer to weird horror than something you'd see someone like Jeff Vandermeer choose.

ChiZine Publications: Another Canadian press, run by Brett Savory and Sandra Katsuri. ChiZine's books run the gamut as far as horror subgenres go - no matter what you like, they have probably published a book or two about it. They do both novels and collections/anthologies. Several of the recommendations in the OP are published by ChiZine.

Tartarus Press: A UK publisher run by R.B. Russell and Rosalie Parker. Tartarus is kind of hard to peg to a genre. They publish some horror. They publish some weird fiction. They publish what can best be called thrillers. They publish classics (Poe, Machen). They publish non-fiction about the fiction they've published. It's an eclectic mix, but it's all good. The one caveat I'll toss out is that they do not always offer paperbacks and/or ebook editions of their stuff, so it can get pricey.

Cemetery Dance: An American publisher run by Richard Chizmar. They publish a lot of stuff associated with Stephen King. You can make your own decisions about the stuff written by King. However, I want to call attention to their anthologies, which are pretty good. The editors they work with have a good eye for talent. They also keep a few older horror authors, such as Bentley Little, in print. I'm not a huge fan of Little, and I doubt most people that post in this thread would like him, but I figured I'd point that out. They'll also do special editions of stuff that's already in print, and they make some beautiful limited editions if you're in to that. Word of warning, though: they sometimes take loving FOREVER to actually publish a book they announce. If it doesn't have Stephen King's name on it, it'll get bumped in the production queue by something that does have his name on it.

Night Shade Books: They're much more into publishing sci-fi and fantasy, but I'm mentioning them here because they publish Ellen Datlow's The Best Horror of the Year anthologies, which are always worth picking up. Volume 10 is due out next month. They'll also occasionally do big multi-volume sets for authors that are largely out of print, such as William Hope Hodgson and Manly Wade Wellman. If you can get these, they are awesome.

Necro Publications: Another American press, run by David Barnett. This is probably a more controversial recommendation as they publish a lot of extreme horror, particularly works be Edward Lee. Lee is...an acquired taste, I suppose. I'd recommend steering well clear of him, to be honest. On the other hand, they publish authors like Charlee Jacob, Joe Lansdale, Jeffrey Thomas, and Mehitobel Wilson, all of which are very, very good authors and the stuff they've published with Necro is great.

JournalStone: Yet another American publisher (I have no idea why I included nation of origin on these...). This is probably the most commercial publisher I've recommended (well, them and Night Shade). They cover most of the horror subgenres, with perhaps a slight emphasis on cosmic horror. Their stable of authors includes Laird Barron, Christopher Golden, Jonathan Maberry, Adam Neville, and Greg Gifune, among others. Unlike a lot of the other publishers I've mentioned, I can't give a universal recommendation for everything they publish, but they put out a fair amount of good stuff.

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MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012






Thanks for this! I think I was the culprit who said it was a bad year for horror, though I think I was mostly bitter about A God in the Shed (a mediocre-to-bad story, depending on preference, badly/amateurishly written) and Black Mad Wheel (a book that felt like Malerman was under a lot of pressure to barf up another book after Bird Box) ending up on a lot of "best of" lists, though the more I dug around the more I realize I haven't actually read a ton of books from last year so I'm talking out of my rear end, which is often the case.

Any particular standouts for you from last year, besides the couple you mentioned here? Only one from last year that leaps to mind, for me, was The Grip of It. I know there's others that I really liked, though.

Ornamented Death
Jan 25, 2006

Pew pew!



MockingQuantum posted:

Any particular standouts for you from last year, besides the couple you mentioned here? Only one from last year that leaps to mind, for me, was The Grip of It. I know there's others that I really liked, though.

Just based on stuff I have physical copies of...

The Secret of Ventriloquism by John Padgett
I'll Bring You the Birds From Out of the Sky by Brian Hodge (obviously :v: )
Containment by Charlee Jacob
Shadows & Tall Trees 7 edited by Michael Kelly
Something Violent by Kristopher Rufty
The Endless Fall and Other Weird Fictions and Haunted Worlds by Jeffrey Thomas

Robot Wendigo
Jul 8, 2013



On the strength of fellow Goon recommendations, I picked up Paperbacks From Hell and it is a loving joy.

Gary the Llama
Mar 16, 2007
SHIGERU MIYAMOTO IS MY ILLEGITIMATE FATHER!!!

I know there are probably a lot of T.E.D. Klein fans around here (because ďPoroth FarmĒ is amazing and everyone should read it), and Iíve always wondered what happened to him. I knew he worked at GQ as an editor but never heard much beyond that. Well, hereís a brand new interview with him.

http://www.scottedelman.com/2018/05/02/share-a-pastrami-sandwich-with-t-e-d-klein-in-episode-65-of-eating-the-fantastic/#more-24910

Fair warning: there are loud sounds of eating during this interview and it will most likely drive everyone that listens crazy. Itís like poor Teddy doesnít know how to close his mouth when he eats.

Ornamented Death
Jan 25, 2006

Pew pew!



It was never a secret that Klein suffered from career-crippling writer's block, he's been pretty open about it through the years. It's a damned shame and a huge loss for the horror genre, honestly.

Gary the Llama
Mar 16, 2007
SHIGERU MIYAMOTO IS MY ILLEGITIMATE FATHER!!!

Ornamented Death posted:

It was never a secret that Klein suffered from career-crippling writer's block, he's been pretty open about it through the years. It's a damned shame and a huge loss for the horror genre, honestly.

Ah, I didnít know that. Thatís such a shame. When his writing is on point it eclipses so much else in horror.

Vastarien
Dec 20, 2012

Where I live is nightmare, thus a certain nonchalance.





Buglord

I remember some talk a while back about Klein vowing to finally finish his second novel, Nighttown. S. T. Joshi mentioned in a blog post about meeting Klein during a trip to New York and discussing it. It really is a shame that Klein never produced more material. The Events at Poroth Farm, Nadelman's God, and Children of the Kingdom are some of my all-time favorite stories.

Gary the Llama
Mar 16, 2007
SHIGERU MIYAMOTO IS MY ILLEGITIMATE FATHER!!!

Vastarien posted:

I remember some talk a while back about Klein vowing to finally finish his second novel, Nighttown. S. T. Joshi mentioned in a blog post about meeting Klein during a trip to New York and discussing it. It really is a shame that Klein never produced more material. The Events at Poroth Farm, Nadelman's God, and Children of the Kingdom are some of my all-time favorite stories.

Oh yeah, I just got to the part in the podcast interview where they bring it up. Interested to hear what Klein says about it.

chernobyl kinsman
Mar 18, 2007

a friend of the friendly atom



Soiled Meat

any worthwhile short fiction about ghosts come out in the last couple of years?

Relevant Tangent
Nov 18, 2016

Tangentially Relevant



A different take on Azathoth. https://zerohplovecraft.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/the-gig-economy-2/

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation




This reads a lot like the 9 mother 9 horse 9 eye guy from reddit last year.

https://www.reddit.com/r/9M9H9E9/wiki/narrative

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Have there been any good horror novels in the last handful of years that do something very different? Not bizarro different, necessarily, I'd just like something that isn't "scary thing in the woods" or "kids fight off a bad thing" or "there's a house full of ghosts/demons" or, weirdly, "there's a snowy tundra/mountain full of ghosts/demons" which I never thought would be a big subgenre.

Don't get me wrong, I love me some spooky houses, but I'd like something that's a different or unique take on the genre, such as it is. I've been trying to think of a good example of what I mean that's come out in the last four or five years, but I'm coming up dry. I'll update if I think of anything.

Ornamented Death
Jan 25, 2006

Pew pew!



Babylon Terminal by Greg Gifune might scratch that itch.

The Immaculate Void, but you probably already read it.

Facial by Jeff Strand for something REALLY different.

Just off the top of my head.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Ornamented Death posted:

Babylon Terminal by Greg Gifune might scratch that itch.

The Immaculate Void, but you probably already read it.

Facial by Jeff Strand for something REALLY different.

Just off the top of my head.

I've actually never read any Brian Hodge :ohdear:

I feel I have shamed the horror thread.

a foolish pianist
May 6, 2007

(bi)cyclic mutation



Skullcrack City sits sort of at the border between horror, scifi, and bizarro. I really enjoyed it.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





a foolish pianist posted:

Skullcrack City sits sort of at the border between horror, scifi, and bizarro. I really enjoyed it.

It's been on my list for a while, maybe I'll grab that soon.

It looks like a local bookstore I like to buy from might have a print copy of Immaculate Void, though, so I think I'll grab that if they do indeed have it.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

If it wasn't for disappointment
I wouldn't have any appointment



Grimey Drawer

I won't say Jeff Strand is a good writer, but I will say he's one of the funniest writers in the horror genre, and his books are always fun and enjoyable. You should read Mandibles, since it's a giant monster bug book with a huge cast of characters that manages to be less predictable than the premise deserves. You may also like his book The Haunted Forest Tour, which he did with James A. Moore, but I don't recommend reading any other Moore book.

afoolishpianist recommended I read Windeye by Brian Evenson, saying he's one of their favorite authors in general. I haven't read it yet, but afoolishpianist has pretty good tastes when it comes to horror.

Are you looking for structurally unique books or just a premise unique to you?

Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow is a werewolf story, but it's a poem.
One Bloody Thing After Another by Joey Comeau should be unique enough for you
The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue is a different take on ghost stories.
Maybe see if any of Victor LaValle's novels interest you

The problem is that many horror novels that manage to do something unique with their premise tend to just kinda be good, but never transcends to being great, usually because of the writing, or shallow characters or trying to rely on a twist ending so the reader feels like they've been "got" or something. Or you get an interesting monster like in The Troop, but it's still Kids vs. Monster.

I'm Thinking of Ending Things is very nightmarish and is still the last horror story I really enjoyed.

Also, I'm just really proud that no one's recommended House of Leaves for the billionth loving time in TBB

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Franchescanado posted:

I won't say Jeff Strand is a good writer, but I will say he's one of the funniest writers in the horror genre, and his books are always fun and enjoyable. You should read Mandibles, since it's a giant monster bug book with a huge cast of characters that manages to be less predictable than the premise deserves. You may also like his book The Haunted Forest Tour, which he did with James A. Moore, but I don't recommend reading any other Moore book.

afoolishpianist recommended I read Windeye by Brian Evenson, saying he's one of their favorite authors in general. I haven't read it yet, but afoolishpianist has pretty good tastes when it comes to horror.

Are you looking for structurally unique books or just a premise unique to you?

Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow is a werewolf story, but it's a poem.
One Bloody Thing After Another by Joey Comeau should be unique enough for you
The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue is a different take on ghost stories.
Maybe see if any of Victor LaValle's novels interest you

The problem is that many horror novels that manage to do something unique with their premise tend to just kinda be good, but never transcends to being great, usually because of the writing, or shallow characters or trying to rely on a twist ending so the reader feels like they've been "got" or something. Or you get an interesting monster like in The Troop, but it's still Kids vs. Monster.

I'm Thinking of Ending Things is very nightmarish and is still the last horror story I really enjoyed.

Also, I'm just really proud that no one's recommended House of Leaves for the billionth loving time in TBB

Thanks everybody for the recs, all of these sound good for some reason or another. Franchescanado, I will agree with the Brian Evenson rec, I haven't read Windeye specifically but I like his work a lot in general. I read A Collapse of Horses and really enjoyed it (and weirdly, is published by a tiny local publisher that I didn't know existed until a week ago)

And surprisingly, I think House of Leaves very rarely got recommended in the old thread. I also have kind of cooled on it as a recommendation to friends looking for weird books because one of them did read it recently and didn't care for it. Or rather, he did care for everything but anything to do with Johnny Truant, which I can agree with and kind of makes me want to read the book again but skip all his sections. Or go through the book and cross out all the lovely Johnny Truant sections and go leave it at a bookstore somewhere, I like the idea of an increasingly weird and hand-edited copy of HoL wandering around town.

Any chance Babylon Terminal goes by another name in the States? The only copies I can find go for $90 used...

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Oh and to the question about structurally unique vs unique premise... well I kind of mean both, but I recognize the former is the more sensible question, because how would any of you know what premises are unique to me? It does seem like unique premises are pretty rare, the best I've seen in recent memory tend to be deconstructions of tired or tried-and-true premises, which is fine in its own way.

Len
Jan 21, 2008

Pouches, bandages, shoulderpad, cyber-eye...

Bitchin'!




I want to like House of Leaves so much more than I do. The Navidson Record stuff is all good and I like it but then I always go "I should really read the Truant footnotes" and I just stop caring

Ornamented Death
Jan 25, 2006

Pew pew!



MockingQuantum posted:

Any chance Babylon Terminal goes by another name in the States? The only copies I can find go for $90 used...

Looks like he hasn't gotten around to putting it back in print - almost everything Gifune had in print was through DarkFuse, so he's had to (slowly) get his books placed with other publishers. I'll ask him about Babylon Terminal.

Solitair
Feb 18, 2014

This statement is a lie!


Gdanskman was my online handle in certain games I played for a few years after I first read House of Leaves.

Origami Dali
Jan 7, 2005

Get ready to fuck!
You fucker's fucker!
You fucker!


I just want a recent horror writer who can spin amazing prose. So many have cool-ish ideas, but the writing style is sooo boring.

Clipperton
Dec 20, 2011


Grimey Drawer

MockingQuantum posted:

And surprisingly, I think House of Leaves very rarely got recommended in the old thread. I also have kind of cooled on it as a recommendation to friends looking for weird books because one of them did read it recently and didn't care for it. Or rather, he did care for everything but anything to do with Johnny Truant, which I can agree with and kind of makes me want to read the book again but skip all his sections. Or go through the book and cross out all the lovely Johnny Truant sections and go leave it at a bookstore somewhere, I like the idea of an increasingly weird and hand-edited copy of HoL wandering around town.

I stopped reading the Truant bits about a quarter of the way through, what'd I miss

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Clipperton posted:

I stopped reading the Truant bits about a quarter of the way through, what'd I miss

Couldn't tell you, it's been years since I've read it, but I suspect not much. The bulk of what's interesting in the book are in the Navidson Record anyway. Truant gets pretty tiresome if I remember right though, there's only so much time you can spend reading a monumental gently caress-up say "yeah dudes that's spooky" in various different ways.

HIJK
Nov 25, 2012

People were stupid, sometimes. They thought the Library was a dangerous place because of all the magical books, which was true enough, but what made it really one of the most dangerous places there could ever be was the simple fact that it was a library.


Truant's sections primarily consist of him reliving trauma and struggling to process a lot of bad things that have happened to him. (This is my interpretation.) Through the course of his reading the Navidson Record he comes to terms with himself and it ends with him achieving some inner peace.

It's actually not a bad story on its own if you're interested in reading about a gently caress up trying to put his life back together but it seriously sucks as a framing device and it's not as interesting as the House. He has occasional insights into the story like when he critiques Zampano's excessive use of foreign language as a way to sound smart but that's not a common thing that pops up in Truant.

Overall Truant's part of the story is more a reflection of how easy it is to be consumed by your own self importance, something that almost killed Navidson and made Zampano insufferable in his analysis of the Record, and Truant doesn't improve his lot in life until he gets over himself.

bloom
Feb 25, 2017



The Raw Shark Texts is a much better implementation of whatever you call the kind of text format fuckery that goes on in House of Leaves. It's far less :jerkbag: and it's got a shark in it.



A shark!

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

If it wasn't for disappointment
I wouldn't have any appointment



Grimey Drawer

bloom posted:

whatever you call the kind of text format fuckery that goes on in House of Leaves.

Typographical Variations or "visual writing"

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





bloom posted:

The Raw Shark Texts is a much better implementation of whatever you call the kind of text format fuckery that goes on in House of Leaves. It's far less :jerkbag: and it's got a shark in it.



A shark!

I think someone in the last thread recommended this to me, and I'm interested in it for the weird text format fuckery, but how horror-y is it? And does anyone know if it's remotely readable as intended on Kindle?

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

If it wasn't for disappointment
I wouldn't have any appointment



Grimey Drawer

MockingQuantum posted:

I think someone in the last thread recommended this to me, and I'm interested in it for the weird text format fuckery, but how horror-y is it? And does anyone know if it's remotely readable as intended on Kindle?

Maybe with a Kindle Fire. Unless they did something to the formatting to keep pages intact instead of shifting with scrolling and stuff (which they do for many poetry collections), you'll probably have a mess to read. It looks to be very affordable if purchased used, and it's popular enough to be in most library systems.

bloom
Feb 25, 2017



MockingQuantum posted:

I think someone in the last thread recommended this to me, and I'm interested in it for the weird text format fuckery, but how horror-y is it? And does anyone know if it's remotely readable as intended on Kindle?

It's not really written to be horror even though there are some aspects of it. There is a guy dealing with a completely alien threat to his mind but it's dealt with from more of a mystery, or even practical(insofar as the term applies to conceptual sharks), angle than horror.

Can't speak for Kindle or any other ebook readability since I've only read the physical copy.

chernobyl kinsman
Mar 18, 2007

a friend of the friendly atom



Soiled Meat

raw shark texts is unironically good and its a criminal offense that Hall hasn't put out more in the last like 10 years

GrandpaPants
Feb 13, 2006


Free to roam the heavens in man's noble quest to investigate the weirdness of the universe!



Is Raw Shark Texts supposed to be a play on words of Rorschach tests?

chernobyl kinsman
Mar 18, 2007

a friend of the friendly atom



Soiled Meat

yes

A human heart
Oct 10, 2012



GrandpaPants posted:

Is Raw Shark Texts supposed to be a play on words of Rorschach tests?

No it's just a coincidence

chernobyl kinsman
Mar 18, 2007

a friend of the friendly atom



Soiled Meat

crossposting from the lit thread bc aickman is both

chernobyl kinsman posted:

the NYRB classics line has put out a new collection of Robert Aickman stories and if you haven't read him you're loving up grievously

this broken hill
Apr 10, 2018

by Lowtax


i bought some issues of tall trees and shadows and welp i guess horror is dead

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





chernobyl kinsman posted:

crossposting from the lit thread bc aickman is both

This is a pro recommendation, Aickman is great. Very subtle and strange. Dark Entries is also a good starting point for him.


this broken hill posted:

i bought some issues of tall trees and shadows and welp i guess horror is dead

Idgi, are they saying horror is dead, or is it really bad, or is it not horror?

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ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




this broken hill posted:

i bought some issues of tall trees and shadows and welp i guess horror is dead

Elaborate.

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