Riffle Editor's Choice: Essential Horror Books for November 2017
I started this year's November horror book offerings with a special bonus book: Searching for Sycorax: Black Women's Hauntings of Contemporary Horror by Dr. Kinitra D. Brooks.
I have to say I'm less than pleased with my note about the book, but I only had 420 characters to work with and I haven't read the book, yet. But I think this is an important book for everyone who wants to write horror stories, to write about horror, to review horror or even recommend horror books and talk about them -- like me.
So I'm going to copy and paste the official publisher's blurb for the book which convinced me I needed to save my pennies for it and add it to this list.
First, who is Dr. Kinitra D. Brooks?
This is from her website:
Kinitra D. Brooks is the Ricardo Romo Endowed Chair of the Honors College and Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her research interests include contemporary African American and Afro-Caribbean literature, black feminism, and horror studies.
What the book is really all about:
"Searching for Sycorax highlights the unique position of Black women in horror as both characters and creators. Kinitra D. Brooks creates a racially gendered critical analysis of African diasporic women, challenging the horror genre’s historic themes and interrogating forms of literature that have often been ignored by Black feminist theory. Brooks examines the works of women across the African diaspora, from Haiti, Trinidad, and Jamaica, to England and the United States, looking at new and canonized horror texts by Nalo Hopkinson, NK Jemisin, Gloria Naylor, and Chesya Burke. These Black women fiction writers take advantage of horror’s ability to highlight U.S. white dominant cultural anxieties by using Africana folklore to revise horror’s semiotics within their own imaginary. Ultimately, Brooks compares the legacy of Shakespeare’s Sycorax (of The Tempest) to Black women writers themselves, who, deprived of mainstream access to self-articulation, nevertheless influence the trajectory of horror criticism by forcing the genre to de-centralize whiteness and maleness."
Note: The hardcover version of Searching for Sycorax goes on sale in November while the trade paperback and ebook version go on sale in December.
I think it is important that anyone who loves horror fiction, try to get a well-rounded exposure to horror from other countries and cultures and even by people of races and genders different from your own. Reading fiction does a lot of things for you but, most importantly, it develops your empathy (Neuroscience studies have proven this) and how better to see the world from another person's point of view than to read about their point of view?
To see additional Essential Horror Books lists, check out the links below:
If you have any suggestions, feel free to mention them in the discussion section below the list.
This book list is a work in progress. Check back occasionally for more updates. Published: 10/23/2017.
Updated: 11/4/2017 re-formatted the book list post.
Kinitra D. Brooks
BONUS BOOK: "Searching for Sycorax: Black Women's Hauntings of Contemporary Horror" by Kinitra D. Brooks. In this important monograph, Dr. Brooks examines the expanding and changing roles of Black women in horror as characters and as creators. Black feminist theory has ignored horror fiction which Dr. Brooks now takes steps to rectify. This is an important work for those wanting insight into the future of horror.
1 / 11
"We Should Have Left Well Enough Alone" by Ronald Malfi. This debut collection of twenty short stories by Malfi, "explores a wide range of human failings, foibles, and flaws" according to Publisher's Weekly. This is a must-have for fans of Malfi's horror novels and a great introduction for the new fans-to-be.
2 / 11
Alexander Gordon Smith
"The Devil's Engine: Hellwalkers" (The Devil's Engine Trilogy #3) by Alexander Gordon Smith. Marlow followed Pan into Hell to save her. There, he makes a final deal with the Devil to take Pan home. But home is about to be invaded by Hell and its many strange and powerful demons. The surviving members of the Hellraisers must band together -- but without super-powers or weapons, how can they possibly save Earth?
3 / 11
"Black Goat Blues" (The Mythos War #2) by Levi Black. Charlie Tristan Moore was once an unwilling acolyte of The Man In Black, a diabolical Elder God who taught her to use her dark magic. He had a plan to use her to slay the other Elder Gods. She broke free of his control and now she is hunting him down. This is dark fantasy with a decidedly Lovecraftian twist.
4 / 11
"Into the Drowning Deep" by Mira Grant. This sequel to "Rolling in the Deep" picks up seven years after the loss of the ship "Atargatis." The crew of the "Atargatis" intended to film a "mockumentary" about legendary sea creatures. A new ship and crew assembled to determine what happened to the lost ship. Among the crew is a scientist named Victoria Stewart who lost her sister seven years ago.
5 / 11
Jonathan L. Howard
"After the End of the World" (Carter & Lovecraft #2) by Jonathan L. Howard. Daniel Carter and Emily Lovecraft live and work in the Unfolded World where the Soviet Union never rose to power and Germany is the premier superpower. Dan must investigate a scientific project which leads him and Lovecraft into the grip of a conspiracy that just may cost Emily her sanity.
6 / 11
"Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra" by Anne Rice and Christopher Rice. Ramses the Great awakens in Edwardian England, along with his fellow Egyptian rule and immortal, Queen Cleopatra. As they vie with each other in their attempts to understand the potion of immortality, they begin to get the sense of another, far older presence, bound to them in ways they don't understand.
7 / 11
"Deadknobs and Doomsticks" written and illustrated by Joe Pasquale. This collection of twelve short stories exhibit a range of humorous horror stories from the surreal to the dark and bizarre. Wit and a sense of dark, biting humor suffuse every story. Joe Pasquale is one of UK's popular stand-up comedians and entertainers who is now turning his talents to writing.
8 / 11
Eric Del Carlo
"The Vampire Years" by Eric Del Carlo. Fifty years ago, humanity lost a war against the vampires. The survivors are relegated to reservations. With the development of synthetic blood, vampires no longer need to kill humans. No humans have died for some time, until now . . . a human body discovered with puncture wounds on the neck. And it threatens the truce between humans and vampires.
9 / 11
"Until the Last Dog Dies" by Robert Guffey. An apocalyptic virus is striking humanity, not killing people but targeting a portion of the brain -- destroying a person's sense of humor. Elliot Greeley is a comedian in Los Angeles, whose life is being slowly torn apart by the virus in increasingly personal ways. It is a unique look at the end-of-the-world story.
10 / 11
BONUS BOOKS: "Childgrave" by Ken Greenhall. This is a reprint of a 1982 mass market paperback horror novel, one of many lost in the deluge of Stephen King knock offs published at that time. Slowly we're finding the gems lost in the dreck. When four-year-old Joanne's invisible friends are photographed by her father, he begins to realize that these are spirits, tied to a town called Childgrave.
11 / 11