The Sword and Laser discussion

164 views
What Else Are You Reading? > Suggestions for frightening horror reading?

Comments Showing 1-27 of 27 (27 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Chris (new)

Chris Bellevie (cbellevie) | 22 comments I've got plenty of science fiction on my plate, but I would love to read some horror that would provide some real scares. Anyone have any suggestions for scary, disturbing, keep you up at night reading?


message 2: by Isaiah (new)

Isaiah | 74 comments The following are short story collections to give you a sample of each authors' writing and their kind of stories.

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
The Books of Blood by Clive Barker

Some graphic novels if you're interested:

Locke and Key by Joe Hill
Wytches by Scott Snyder
Severed also by Scott Snyder

And some novels:
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
Dracula by Bram Stoker

I've read all of the above and all of them were scary to some degree or another (some very much so). Enjoy!


message 3: by Darren (last edited Mar 01, 2016 04:42AM) (new)

Darren Chris wrote: "I've got plenty of science fiction on my plate, but I would love to read some horror that would provide some real scares. Anyone have any suggestions for scary, disturbing, keep you up at night rea..."

The Dark Descent If you don't find something you like in this anthology (actually three anthologies crushed into one), then horror is not for you.

Second the Books of Blood
Full Dark, No Stars is a small sampling of novellas, not short stories, Isaiah. For King's short stories, Skeleton Crew, Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales

If you like ghost stories in the classic vein, check out M.R. James... Much of his work eg: Ghost Stories of an Antiquary is public domain and freely available for your e-reader.


message 4: by Chris (new)

Chris Bellevie (cbellevie) | 22 comments Great, thanks for the suggestion!

Haunted is already on my to read list, so will dive into that. Read a number of the others, but will check out what I haven't, especially The Dark Descent (anthologies are the gateway drugs of the book world, right?)

I read Books of Blood back in high school and just realized how long that has been around.


message 5: by Wilmar (new)

Wilmar Luna (wilmarluna) | 241 comments Hmm, I'll have to check some of these out. I've tried to read horror but I've yet to find anything truly scary.

The only exception was a comic that everyone had read except for me. The Sandman, Vol. 2: The Doll's House which was just so freaking disturbing and creepy. Never, never, never has a book freaked my out but Sandman definitely got me there.

Hopefully I'll find something in these recommendations that will pull off the same thing.


message 6: by David (new)

David (dbigwood) Isaiah had some good suggestions.

In the graphic novel category I'd add Rachel Rising, Volume 1: The Shadow of Death.

One of the creepiest books I've read is Gaiman's Coraline http://www.unshelved.com/2005-8-28

And finally in the classic category I'd replace Dracula with Lair of the White Worm and add The House on the Borderland. Both on Project Gutenberg.

All are very atmospheric, not much if any gore and build up an uneasy feeling.


message 7: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments It's only a novella, but Whom the Gods Would Destroy by Brian Hodge is one of the freakiest stories around.


message 8: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 2246 comments Dark Forces: New Stories of Suspense and Supernatural Horror, edited by Kirby McCauley, is another really great anthology, although it came out in 1980, so isn't going to have anything from, well, the last 35 years. But it was the first appearance of Stephen King's The Mist (probably my favorite thing he's done).


message 9: by Dharmakirti (last edited Mar 02, 2016 11:01AM) (new)

Dharmakirti | 942 comments My recommendations:

1) Clive Barker's Damnation Game
2) Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves or The Fifty Year Sword
3) Benjamin Cain's God Decays
4) Robert McCammon's Swan Song
5) Peter Straub's Ghost Story


A final recommendation is R. Scott Bakker's Neuropath. However, it's more of a psychological suspense/thriller novel (think Silence of the Lambs) but it is very unsettling and it does contain some horrific moments and raises some rather unsettling implications regarding human nature.


message 10: by Chris (new)

Chris Bellevie (cbellevie) | 22 comments I saw that Whom the Gods Would Destroy by Brian Hodge was a Kindle Unlimited title and wanted something quick to read. Although not really scary, was great. Even had science fiction in it.

Thanks for this recommendation! I immediately picked up The Convulsion Factory.


message 11: by Walter (new)

Walter Spence (walterspence) | 707 comments My recommendation would be what is quite possibly the greatest haunted house novel ever written, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House.


message 12: by Isak (new)

Isak Theodorsson | 36 comments I would recommend John Ajvide Lindqvist


message 13: by Fresno Bob (new)

Fresno Bob | 576 comments Jack Ketchum's stuff like The Girl Next Door or Off Season is pretty horrific


message 14: by Keith (new)

Keith (keithatc) I'm a fan of creepy weird fiction more than outright blood 'n' guts horror. If that might be your bag, Robert Aickman's The Wine-Dark Sea, Dark Entries, Cold Hand in Mine: Strange Stories, and The Unsettled Dust are sublime. The Black Wings of Cthulhu collections edited by S.T. Joshi contain a lot of good stuff.


message 15: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor I enjoyed Bible Camp by Ty Johnston. Not really scary, but kind of a fun an amusing homage to 70's/80's slasher horror


message 16: by George (new)

George (georgefromny) | 70 comments The most frightening thing I've ever read... The United States Internal Revenue Code, 1986 revision, as amended.

I didn't sleep for days.


message 17: by Mark (new)

Mark (markmtz) | 2244 comments Most recent frightening read is from the Pew Research Center:

2016 Campaign: Strong Interest, Widespread Dissatisfaction

http://www.people-press.org/files/201...


message 18: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 1616 comments Anyone read NOS4A2 by Joe Hill? Scary or not?
The Kindle sample is quite intriguing.


message 19: by Walter (new)

Walter Spence (walterspence) | 707 comments Silvana wrote: "Anyone read NOS4A2 by Joe Hill? Scary or not?
The Kindle sample is quite intriguing."


I thought it was good. Reminiscent of his father's earlier work.


message 20: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 2246 comments Walter wrote: "Silvana wrote: "Anyone read NOS4A2 by Joe Hill? Scary or not?
The Kindle sample is quite intriguing."

I thought it was good. Reminiscent of his father's earlier work."


I also enjoyed it although I'd say it leans more towards the dark/weird fantasy end of the spectrum than straight horror.


message 21: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 1616 comments Thank you, Walter and Joseph!

Like the OP, I am also looking for scary horror book (does not have to be SFF, extra points if it does). Like, almost peed-in-my-pants scary. I think I am still going to try NOS4A2 though. I like the writing style. And Shirley Jackson's too.

How about The Passage by Justin Cronin? more thriller or horror?


message 22: by Walter (last edited Jul 11, 2016 08:08AM) (new)

Walter Spence (walterspence) | 707 comments Silvana wrote: "Thank you, Walter and Joseph!

Like the OP, I am also looking for scary horror book (does not have to be SFF, extra points if it does). Like, almost peed-in-my-pants scary. I think I am still going..."


I thought The Passage was good. Didn't care that much for the second in the series, though.

Not sure about 'peed in your pants scary', Silvana, but a horror novel that also has sf elements to it which I enjoyed was The Girl with All the Gifts.

As for something more conventionally horror, I also enjoyed Michael McDowell's The Elementals.


message 23: by Mark (last edited Jul 11, 2016 06:37AM) (new)

Mark (markmtz) | 2244 comments Silvana wrote: "How about The Passage by Justin Cronin? more thriller or horror?"

The Passage is thriller and horror in a post-apocalyptic setting, but the horror elements are few and far between the world-building and the main characters' travels. When I finished, I wasn't sure if I wanted to move on to the next book in the series. The third book in the story arc was published recently.


message 24: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 1616 comments @Walter: I see. The Girl with All the Gifts is also recommended by two friends so I will surely check it out.

@Mark: Thanks. So it involves lots of travelogue? Description of places and those kinds of stuff? I am no fan of travelogue in non-travelogue books. I did read the sample chapter and liked it.


message 25: by Mark (new)

Mark (markmtz) | 2244 comments Silvana wrote: "@Mark: Thanks. So it involves lots of travelogue? Description of places and those kind..."

Several of the characters make a long journey through what's left of the western United States.

Just saw this Kindle deal for a short story collection The Best Horror of the Year, Volume 6, published in 2014:

https://www.amazon.com/Best-Horror-Ye...


message 26: by David (new)

David (dbigwood) Not much of a horror reader but here are some I've enjoyed. Anything by Lovecraft. I've read a couple of books by William Hope Hodgson that were very creepy. The House on the Borderland is a good read. I've never cared for the documentary evidence style of Dracula but Lair of the White Worm was an good story. Lots of atmosphere. I've got some others by Stoker on the "To Be Read" pile. A kids book but one I found very disturbing is Gaiman's Coraline.


message 27: by AndrewP (last edited Jul 11, 2016 01:56PM) (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2455 comments Silvana wrote: "Anyone read NOS4A2 by Joe Hill? Scary or not?
The Kindle sample is quite intriguing."


It's pretty good but I wouldn't say it was really scary. More creepy.
"Come along kiddies, come to Christmasland and meet the gas mask man". That's the memorable theme of the book. Sound good to you then you will like it.

FYI - The audible book is read by Kate Mulgrew. I was skeptical but it turns out she does a phenomenal job.


back to top