Robbi here! It’s the day before the best day of the year. But don’t let Halloween end on midnight of November 1st. Here are three phenomenal horror books to help you extend the spooky season well into Christmas:
1) The Imago Sequence & Other Stories
by Laird Barron
My favorite short-story collection of all time. Laird achieves an atmosphere of cosmic horror by putting emphasis on the inherent “carnivorousness” of existence and positioning humankind much lower on the food chain than is comfortable to think about. The protagonists in this collection are fighters — hardened detectives, bounty-hunters, gangsters — and watching them go up against the dark entities in these stories is much like watching that YouTube video where a rabbit fights off an enormous snake. The stories across this volume, his other two collections, and his two novels, are interconnected, and personally I find the “Barron mythos” far more compelling than Lovecraft’s.
2) Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe (Penguin Classics)
by Thomas Ligotti
A collection of bleak, dream-like stories with an oppressive atmosphere. Ligotti’s work is often labelled as “philosophical horror” and that’s not an unfair designation. For example, he takes up the philosophical notion that “all created things—appearances to the contrary—are of a single, unified, and transcendent stuff, an emanation of a central creative force,” but offers a twist by asserting that this Anima Mundi –this first matter of which everything else is a projection– is essentially evil in character.
3) Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy
by Jeff VanderMeer
A trilogy of novels collected together in one book. Labeling this as merely “horror” is a gross oversimplification. There’s this government agency called The Southern Reach that has been sending expeditions into a ‘haunted’ coastal region that goes by the designation of Area X (which has been closed off to the public ever since an unspecified ‘incident’ that occurred decades ago.) Past expeditions have come back changed or not at all, and the video footage that the Southern Reach does have… well, only top operatives are allowed to view it, and only in very short intervals at a time (for the sake of their mental health.) On the surface, these novels reminded me a bit of the SCP creepypastas mixed with House of Leaves, but there’s so SO much more here.