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MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Welcome to the Horror Book Thread for Scary Books! This thread was made when the old Cosmic Horror thread kind of just turned into a general horror thread. The other thread is still going, so feel free to post there about Cosmic Horror stuff, if you like! Prepare to be thoroughly spooked. You have been warned.

Like so many other genres put forth by the book publishing industries, the lines of what makes a book a "horror" novel is pretty blurry, so feel free to discuss any book that you think might fit the mold. We also welcome discussion of dark fantasy, gothic fiction, supernatural novels, and thrillers that are kind of horror-adjacent. Be careful about bringing up horror erotica or paranormal romance stuff; it hasn't been done yet but I suspect it'd be met almost universally with derision. You have been warned.

Feel free to post about books you're reading, ask for recommendations, discuss the genre in general, etc. If you ask for recommendations, please give us a sense of what you like to read or other books that are similar to what you want. Like any other genre, horror is a pretty broad world and somebody who loves a spooky ghosthouse novel may not enjoy a book about gay vampires in New Orleans, or whatever. Also, please be respectful when posting plot details in books. Spoiler tags are cheap and easy to use! As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter how long the book has been out, chances are good someone in the thread hasn't read it, so if there's a twist or reveal that's important to the experience of reading the book, spoilertag them! Offenders will be punished... somehow. Not sure how yet, I guess. You have been warned.

Now without further ado, here are a bunch of recommendations. I've split things up as best as I could thematically, since it was kind of the only way that kind of made sense. Know, however, that these are only loose groupings to try and give people an idea of what they might like, given other things they've read. Many of these recommendations are courtesy Ornamented Death and other people in the thread. Some of the following books wander into pretty dark/troubling/gory territory so if there's something you can't handle, you may want to ask before reading. You have been warned.


The Classics: I would be remiss in not pointing out some of the big classics of the genre. Most of them, in my experience, still hold up pretty well today, and paved the way for a lot of major works that followed them. Some of these have been adapted to death, but know that very few have been adapted all that well, so even if you hate every film version of Frankenstein, be aware the book is pretty different. Also this is hardly exhaustive, I'm leaving a ton out because they're classics and not at all hard to google a list of them.
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde
  • The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
  • Edgar Allen Poe

Cosmic Horror/Weird Fiction: this subgenre was born in large part from the pulp magazines of the '20s and '30s, though its roots stretch back much farther. Cosmic horror is distinguished by big, terrifying antagonistic things with unknowable motivations and/or a total disregard for humanity. H.P. Lovecraft is probably the most ubiquitous cosmic horror writer, though many of his contemporaries and followers have gained a lot of popularity in recent years. Weird fiction is often lumped in with cosmic horror in discussions, but is generally defined more by a fascination with ghost stories, the macabre, and a fusion of supernatural and scientific (and at times, mythological) themes. It's not uncommon for writers of one to indulge in the other, though, since they share a common heritage. A quick aside: yes, Lovecraft was xenophobic and racist. So new readers, you will have to wrestle with that in some fashion if you want to read his works. Discussion of Lovecraft's problematic views is totally fair game in this thread, and I'd even say it's an important discussion to have from time to time since he's such a big influence on so many writers after him. Just please be respectful of fellow poster's views in such discussion.
  • H. P. Lovecraft
  • Thomas Ligotti
  • Brian Hodge
  • The Books of Cthulhu 1 & 2 ed. Ross Lockhart if you are all about that big green squiddy guy
  • Black Wings of Cthulhu ed. ST Joshi is also good, but be aware that Joshi himself is a grade-A crazyperson and should not actually be treated as an authority on H.P. Lovecraft at this point
  • Laird Barron Quoting Ornamented Death: "Note: do NOT binge him, no matter how much you enjoy what you read, because his stories tend to be kind of same-y and you'l quickly burn out. Once you've read his first two collections and maybe his novel, I recommend checking out the tribute anthology done for him, The Children of Old Leech; it's way better than it has any right to be."
  • Early Ramsey Campbell
  • Caitlin Kiernan
  • Simon Strantzas
  • The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle is a direct response/reimagining of one of Lovecraft's more overtly racist stories, "The Horror at Red Hook"

Vampires! Bloodsuckers! Not much more to say about them. But some people can't get enough vampire horror. I've left off some of the more ubiquitous titles/authors in interest of saving space.
  • Salem's Lot by Stephen King
  • Enter, Night by Mike Rowe
  • I Am Legend by Richard Matheson Don't hold the movie adaptation against the book. They have nearly nothing in common, and the book is pretty unique, even to this day. It's also not that long, so go read it!

Zombies! Also not a lot to say about zombies that hasn't been said already. I haven't personally read any of these because I find zombies to be drool-inducingly boring, but they came recommended.
  • Lesser Creatures by Peter Giglio (seriously, read this)
  • The New Dead and 21st Century Dead edited by Christopher Golden
  • The Living Dead 1 & 2 edited by John Joseph Adams

Haunted Houses and Ghosts. Ah, the venerable standby of horror fiction. There's about a billion of these out there, all of varying quality, probably because most horror writers have, at some point, lived in a house. Or they're common because of a long heritage of gothic horror centered around Victorian nobility and houses as symbols of status, security, and stability and the decay thereof over time. They're my personal favorite style of horror, despite having read a decent number of bad ones over the years. I'm also sticking ghost stories in this list because they seem to make the most sense here.
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  • Hell House by Richard Matheson
  • Ghost Story by Peter Straub quick aside, it seems to be the thread opinion that this is the only Straub worth reading
  • The Grip of It by Jac Jemc
  • The Elementals by Michael McDowell
  • Scott Thomas has a few ghost story collections

Other Books that don't really fit neatly in any other category. These books don't make sense anywhere else right now, so I'm just gonna shove them all in here. Most of these have been recommended multiple times in the other thread so they're probably all good.
  • A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
  • Blackwater by Michael McDowell
  • Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
  • North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud
  • The Cipher by Kathe Koja remember when I said some of the books recommended here wander into troubling territory? The Cipher is pretty rough if you can't handle body horror stuff. That said it's fantastic, go read it.

Bizarro Horror. I don't really know what bizarro horror is or how to categorize it. John Dies at the End seems to be the ur-example, but be warned that if you go looking for Bizarro beyond some of the more popular books that have been around for a while, you will likely run into at least one book about putting non-euclidean polygons in Lovecraft's cosmic haunted rear end in a top hat or some such nonsense.
  • John Dies at the End and sequels by David Wong
  • Skullcrack City by Jeremy Robert Johnson

MockingQuantum fucked around with this message at 01:42 on May 15, 2018

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MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Disagree with a recommendation above? Know of a book that is missing and want to kill my family because of it? Well, first, know that the OP above is still very much in progress. But if you just can't stand an omission, PM me, scream at me in the thread, or whisper your complaint in a long-dead Carpathian tongue to a book with eleven-score and seven pages, then bury it at the feet of a scarecrow at the height of the worm moon, and I will adjust the OP accordingly.

MockingQuantum fucked around with this message at 01:46 on May 15, 2018

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Len posted:

I just got a kindle and Iím looking for things to read. I like haunted house movies but havenít read a whole lot in the way of books. I have Haunting of Hill House on my to read list but i need some more good books than that. Preferably things that are more creeping sense of dread than blood and viscera

Haunting of Hill House is definitely one of the biggies in that vein. Turn of the Screw is also good, if you're okay with Victorian era writing. A more recent book that I really loved is The Grip of It by Jac Jemc. I know The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons is one that's popular among spookygoons but I haven't read it myself. Honestly, it's not really a "haunted house" novel but The Exorcist is good, and IMO much better than the movie. Paul Tremblay's last couple (A Head Full of Ghosts and Disappearance at Devil's Rock) also capture a great sense of dread but aren't really haunted house novels per se. Hell House is bound to be recommended, but it gets kind of pulp-horror gory at a few moments and opinions on it seem mixed. I love it, personally, but it's right up my alley and I think I selectively forget a lot of its issues.

And honestly, if you haven't read it, The Shining is a good haunted house-ish novel, one of King's better books, and doesn't have much of his intentional gross-out horror that he got known for later.

I couldn't tell you at this moment how much it qualifies, but I'm reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle for the first time and there is this undercurrent of unsettling eerieness to it. I'm not sure it's as explicitly a horror novel as compared to Haunting of Hill House though.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





bloom posted:

I'm not a huge horror book guy but have enjoyed Adam Nevill's work. Last Days is my favorite from him, well worth a read if you like creepy supernatural things.

And House of Small Shadows does kind of work as a recommendation for a haunted house-ish book. I've only read it and The Ritual, but it was far and away the better of the two. The Ritual wasn't a terrible read, but it's kind of put to shame by the movie adaptation.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





chernobyl kinsman posted:

charles lambert's The Children's Home

michael mcdowell's The Elementals

the weirdly named Jac Jemc's The Grip of It

Mariko Koike's Graveyard Apartment

Ooh yeah, read The Elementals for sure. It's criminally underrated IMO. I haven't read Lambert or Koike, adding them to my list now.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





UCS Hellmaker posted:

Oh god I was just looking for something like this.

If anyone knows of any really good Japanese or other Asian horror like ring or The suffering I would greatly appreciate it. The suffering was so similar to the fatal frame mythos and was perfect. I am a huge ghost horror fan and would love any suggestions.

edit. Also anyone for haunted houses has to read Hell house it is a classic and still one of the best examples in the genre

I've had a hard time finding much along those lines, it seems like most of the (translated) Japanese horror I've come across is more oriented toward pretty brutal crime fiction. I'm sure there's a lot out there I've never encountered, though.


So it was discussed a little bit in the other horror thread, but anybody read/reading A God in the Shed? I'm about 3/4 through it and I don't know if there's something that I'm missing, but I don't care much for the book and I seem to be in the minority on that one. It showed up on at least a couple "best of 2017" lists, and a couple friends who read it, loved it. To me, it seems kind of trite, and reads like it was written by a pretty amateur writer who needed an experienced editor to whip the book into shape in a couple of places. Like, the writing isn't egregiously bad, there's not really glaring spelling or grammatical mistakes (which is not out of the question when buying random horror ebooks on Amazon, sadly...) but there are some strange structural issues, at least early in the book. Some chapters read like the writer wasn't sure where to put them in sequence, so he just wrote some stuff ambiguously enough that the chapter could be stuck in anywhere.

Also the book would be significantly better if the prologue/introduction chapter was revealed over the course of the book instead of just dropped in your lap. I'm still not sure the conceit of the book would be good per se, I think it would always be kind of a goofy idea that's not all that frightening or engaging, but at least there'd be a bit more mystery.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Ornamented Death posted:

Blackwater confuses the hell out of me because even on eBay you can find first editions of all the paperbacks for pretty cheap. The only editions that are going to cost any serious money is the set put out by Centipede a few years ago and, well....it's Centipede.

But yeah, diving through the offerings at a second-hand store is fine to pick up old horror paperbacks; it's when you start looking for specific titles and have to check eBay or Abe or something that the prices start getting dumb.

Also, MockingQuantum, check your PMs :v:.

D'oh. I never check 'em cuz I never get 'em. Thanks!

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Ornamented Death posted:

I think it'd be a hard sell to producers, honestly. The temptation would be to bill it as horror, but the actual horror elements are so infrequent and subdued that I can't see it going over well. Conversely, trying to sell it as a southern gothic would work right up until you explained the river monster part of it, which would drive potential showrunners away even faster I'd think.

Don't get me wrong, I think it'd make a tremendous limited series, I just think the people with the money need a little more time to acclimate to the world of quiet horror before having something like this sprung on them.

Yeah I love Blackwater but tbh it's a hard sell to even get die-hard horror fans to read the book, in my experience, so I don't see it making the leap to other media any time soon.


In other news, the thread has an OP now. It is still very, very much in progress. I also still have many more recommendations that could/may end up in the OP, but I wanted to take some time to parse through them and familiarize myself with some authors/subgenres I know nothing about before screaming at the internet to go read them. Once again, if anybody has suggestions of what to add or do differently in the OP, do let me know.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012






I genuinely dont know if these are better or worse than the fake example I came up with

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Len posted:

I actually just finished A God in the Shed last night. The prologue definitely would have worked better rolled out slowly because going in knowing 100% what this unknowable thing is about took away from it. Apparently there's going to be a sequel so maybe it'll pick up and get less okay. I didn't read much that came out in 2017 but if this was one of the best it worries me.

I'm starting Universal Harvester right now and after that I'm going to go through the haunted house recs you guys have made.

Oh and in response to this, no, 2017 doesn't seem like it was a banner year for horror novels. If it's any indication, Universal Harvester was on a lot of those "best of" lists, and it's kind of misleading to even call it a horror novel in the first place. There were some good books, but nothing really stood out for me. There were also a lot of bad books from established authors, too, it seems. Black Mad Wheel springs to mind, I thought jt was pretty crappy despite liking the author's last book a lot.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Len posted:

Yeah I've listened to enough Mountain Goats to know this isnt going to be what I expect. I felt the same after reading his old book too. So far it feels off but horror isn't the vibe I'm getting

It's honestly kind of a disservice that the book was marketed as horror, though I can understand the mental gymnastics that probably went behind that decision. That said, it's probably still at times one of the most eerie, unsettling books I've read in the last year.


On the subject of "stuff that's kind of being pushed as horror but sort of isn't but is still really good," Her Body and Other Parties is really loving good. It's probably more horror-adjacent than Universal Harvester, at least. It kind of reminds me of Shirley Jackson and, to a lesser extent, some of Ray Bradbury's darker stuff, though it's distinctly different from both. There's a novella-ish piece in the middle that's basically plot summaries of very strange imagined episodes of Law & Order: SVU, and it's pretty fantastic. A little funny, a little unsettling, very much weird.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Franchescanado posted:

So why isn't Books of Blood by Clive Barker in the OP?

There are some All Ages Horror classics that I consider essential, like Something Wicked This Way Comes by Bradbury and The Thief of Always by Clive Barker

Because I've never read it, and the two people who reached out to me over PMs have mentioned in the other thread they think Barker is bad. I can add it though, since it's pretty much considered a classic at this point. Where would it fit best in the current recommendation categories (that I kind of hate but can't think of a better way to do them yet)?

And derp, not sure how I forgot Something Wicked, it's one of my favorite books. I'll add it and Thief of Always, since I do kind of want a subsection that's basically "good horror/supernatural/gothic fiction for younger readers and/or people who don't like to actually be scared by a book". So I'd welcome more suggestions along those lines.

Also, I'd love to have at least some recommendations for non-American/UK/Western Europe horror novels, just to show what's out there. I'm aware of some Japanese horror novels, though I haven't read any, but beyond that I'm pretty unfamiliar with horror from the rest of the world.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Mel Mudkiper posted:

Stephen King loving sucks poo poo and all his books suck poo poo and since there is a general thread to say it I am glad to finally be free to say it

There's also a Stephen King thread, you could say it there too. I've read and enjoyed a lot of Stephen King and I'm not even sure I can disagree.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





gey muckle mowser posted:

also seconding/thirding Books of Blood

Stephen King chat: I used to be a big fan when I was younger, but I tried to re-read It last year and it's absurdly loving long and I got bored halfway through. I have gone back and read a bunch of his short stories too, and they do hold up. Pretty much everything in Night Shift is great.

Has anyone mentioned Joe Hill yet? 20th Century Ghosts is real good.

Yeah King is at his best in short stories, though even then some are kind of duds. Skeleton Crew is more spotty than Night Shift imo, I haven't read any of the other collections in their entirety. I always have trouble when recommending Stephen King, especially to people who haven't read anything by him, because on one hand his "classics" (Carrie, Shining, Stand, Misery, It, Pet Sematary) aren't necessarily his best work, they're definitely the King-iest of his books. I usually default to telling people to read The Shining if they want something supernatural, or Misery if they don't, since both are accessible and at least pretty decent. But yeah, a lot of his longer works that die-hard fans rave about kind of go off the rails and imo the man can't write a tightly-plotted ending to save his life. I wonder sometimes how much better his writing would be if he hadn't gotten so big, so early in his career, it seems like his fairly early success kind of opened the door to him writing more or less whatever he wanted, without strong editorial oversight, which probably resulted in a lot of his books being much weaker than they could have been.

My unironic, actual Stephen King recommendations for people that know what they're getting into with his stuff is to read From a Buick 8 if you want to read a surprisingly tightly-written novel, and then read Danse Macabre and/or On Writing depending on where your interests lie.

I have a hard time recommending Joe Hill. I haven't read 20th Century Ghosts, which is too bad, since it seems like it's the only thing he's written that's generally viewed pretty positively by everyone. Heart Shaped Box is okay, but gets kind of dumb the longer it sticks around. The Fireman is pretty bleh and feels like it was written in the hopes of it getting optioned as a movie. NOS4A2 actually seems pretty polarizing, I know a lot of people who love it and think it's the only good book he's written, I kind of hated what I read (which so far is about half the book, not sure I'll ever pick it up again). It felt like him playing his dad's Greatest Hits but not doing a very good job of it at all. Also I think the title is dumb, but whatever. No idea how Strange Weather or Horns are, haven't read either.

Edit: I forgot about the one Joe Hill thing I've read that is genuinely quite good: Locke & Key. Definitely better than most of his novels. I think he probably just works much better in shorter formats, he kind of has all the issues his dad has when it comes to longer works, but about twice as bad.

MockingQuantum fucked around with this message at 17:17 on May 15, 2018

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





anilEhilated posted:

I'm reading a collection of stories called The Devil and the Deep and so far it's utter poo poo. Any good water monster horror out there?
FWIW, I've read North American Lake Monsters and Blackwater and both are great but come a bit short on the monster front.

Boo, I requested The Devil and the Deep at my library and I'm next in line after it being weirdly popular, that's such a bummer to hear.

Popular Human posted:

I picked up The Elementals and The Graveyard Apartment because of this thread. Both look good as hell. Thanks for the recs!

I love The Elementals, I hope you enjoy it. It's a slow burn, to be sure, but the book as a whole was deeply unsettling to me.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Mel Mudkiper posted:

Upon reflection, I really like Body Horror although I tend to prefer it as a dressing in a larger story than the main focus

Like it sounds weird, but one of the most horrifying stories I can remember reading is from this non-horror book called The Illuminations and one of the chapters was about a woman who got an incurable and inexplicable oral ulcer that caused chronic distracting pain and it haunted me

You may like The Cipher by Kathe Koja then. It has some pretty unsettling body horror stuff but I wouldn't call it the main focus.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





I just finished A God in the Shed and I'm... still not a big fan, but glad I finished it, weirdly. I am kind of low-level excited to read more from this author, since I think he's got some good ideas, but needs some experience under his belt to really figure out some structural issue (and, hopefully, improve his descriptive prose, which is pretty bland 90% of the time).

Now I'm on to The Devil Crept In which so far isn't really grabbing me, but I'm not very far into the book. Anybody read it?

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Mel Mudkiper posted:

This reminds me that everyone should read Paperbacks from Hell

Its a visual history of radical horror novel covers and concepts

I'm going to add it to the OP next time I can be bothered to edit it.


Also I'm not sure I'd call it horror but Yoko Ogawa's Revenge is macabre and dark and beautiful and creepy. Very good read, and probably one of very few recent novels I've read that I see myself re-reading in the near future.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





UCS Hellmaker posted:

Kill Creek is amazing holy poo poo

Good to hear, I grabbed it (and Black Helicopters, yay) last week, but I'm already reading three-ish other books so I probably won't get to it for a while.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





chernobyl kinsman posted:

who else has read mcdowell's the elementals? who else wants to talk about what was in the red vase (baby bones, from the malformed thing?), and why the drawing of the woman in the dress was form 1875 (the same year Beldame was built), but the photograph was from 1865, and what the connection is to the woman who ate the dead baby, and what's up with the cone that took over the house?

I was curious about some of those myself when i read it, but without a re-read I'm not sure i could contribute much to the discussion.

Which, I guess, is a great reason to re-read it.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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?

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





That collection felt to me like it just got better and better with each story. Not sure if Aickman laid it out in that order himself, but whoever did it did a good job of sort of setting up the reader for increasingly strange stories.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





chernobyl kinsman posted:

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

Did you find an answer to this question anywhere else? I'm pretty curious about it myself.

Also any recs for good mystery-ish novels with interesting horror elements? Or alternatively, any horror novels with a mystery bent? I've been reading Lauren Beukes's Broken Monsters and it's scratching that itch, but I'm almost done and want more of that.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Franchescanado posted:

NPR is asking for help in compiling the 100 best horror novels. Here's where you can contribute.

I've already put in my nominations.

I really like to contribute to these sort of things, but ironically I always end up looking up some other "best of" list because I can never think of recommendations off the top of my head.

At the risk of the thread turning into its own nightmare brand of a best-of list, I'd be curious to hear what people nominate.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





So I know they're not strictly-speaking horror, but tell me of gothic fiction. I haven't read a ton of it beyond the big ones (Dracula, Frankenstein, Poe stuff) and I'm reading Jane Eyre right now, but what else is a must-read? And who is writing excellent gothic fiction in recent memory?

Also I remember picking up Castle of Otranto, Mysteries of Udolpho, and The Monk at various times in college, but never getting very far in any of them. Are they worth reading? I actually kind of liked The Monk, but the first two struck me as mostly being important because they were sort of the precursors to a lot of really great Gothic fiction. Melmoth the Wanderer is the other one I meant to try but never got around to.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Flopstick posted:

The Castle Of Otranto is great if you like heroines so feeble they faint because they are overcome by the beauty of a sunset. (Or is that Udolpho... it's been a long time tbh.)

Oh yep, now that you say it that was a big reason I never finished one of them--- but I honestly can't remember which one it was, either.

But enough about problematic 18th century gothic lit....

I just finished I'm Thinking of Ending Things and it was very good, pretty creepy book, not at all what I expected. I don't want to say much more about it than that as it's a book that's probably best experienced blind. Thanks Franchescanado for suggesting it in whatever thread that was. It's definitely on my shortlist of good recent horror novels.

Up next, Kill Creek! At least as far as horror is concerned, I have like two other books I need to finish before I get to it.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Yeah it's been said before but bears repeating: read HoL to whatever your bullshit tolerance is. I know plenty of people who skipped all the Truant sections after about the first third of the book, and one guy skipped all the blind guy's sections on a reread, said it was still plenty interesting.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Just finished Carmen Maria Machado's Her Body and Other Parties and I feel like it's worth mentioning in this thread. It has some excellent moments, though it's only "horror" in the sense you'd call, say, certain Ray Bradbury stories or We Have Always Lived in the Castle "horror" (I would, in both cases, but it's apparently contentious?)

In any case, a lot of the stories definitely could be called gothic, surreal, or supernatural in nature and touch on some subtle horror elements in a way I haven't encountered before. Not all of the stories are home runs, but there's very few, if any, that are outright duds. Oddly the collection's most compelling story also ends up being its most tedious, imo. "Especially Heinous" is basically a surreal story told through fake synopses of episodes of Law & Order: SVU, and it varies from being brilliant to kind of dumb to sort of overstaying its welcome, but I still feel like it's worth mentioning for doing some really clever things with the format.

For all the fairly successful literary experiments in the book, I actually feel like the strongest story in the collection is also the most outright traditional one, though maybe I should just chalk that up to being my preference. Overall I'd say it's definitely worth a look.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Paul Tremblay's latest book The Cabin at the End of the World came out last Tuesday, anybody picked it up yet? I have about three books I need to finish before I get to it, but it'll be the next thing I pick up.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Anybody read The Devil Crept In? I'm trying to get through it now but having a hard time with it, trying to decide whether I should soldier on or not. I'm about a quarter of the way through the book and it feels like shockingly little has happened, I also have no sense at this point of whether anything supernatural is actually happening in the book. (The latter isn't a complaint, just an observation).

I'm mostly having a hard time because the book exemplifies two of my pet peeves in horror writing, namely a. child protagonists and b. not a single character who isn't fundamentally unlikable or broken. I get why a lot of writers do the latter, surrounding your mildly broken protagonist with a bunch of shitheads makes the protag feel a lot more relatable, but I feel like all it does is make the reader pity that character, rather than root for them or care about them in a way that propels the story along. Not to say it can't be done well, I feel like almost nobody in The Cipher is all that likable, but Koja still makes you relate or connect to most of them despite that (sometimes because of how terrible or dumb they are). But Devil Crept In feels like the writer was really attached to the character of a hosed-up ten year old, but couldn't get readers to relate to him, so she surrounded him with abusive family members and a broken, weak mother character. Sometimes reading it I feel like I do reading work that I'm critiquing for other writers, I just have the overwhelming urge to write "why should I caaaaaaaare" next to every other paragraph.

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





Bilirubin posted:

Jeff Vandermeer has a new one out. I have no idea how horror or weird it is personally, but a friend really liked it

Are you talking about Borne? That came out well over a year ago now, he hasn't put out anything since then.

The only things that have been on my radar are Paul Tremblay's new thing, Cabin at the End of the World, and the new Stephen King, which I'm guessing won't be a wild hit itt

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MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012





edit: yknow what I don't think I want to open that can of worms having not read it myself. nevermind.

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