Are there any good scifi horror books out there?

Moggle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2009
Messages
317
I love scifi horror on film. But who are the John Carpenters, James Camerons and Ridley Scotts of the literary world? The only scifi horror story I ever read was Sandkings by George Martin. I'm looking for some amazing scifi horror books.
 

AE35Unit

]==[]===O °
Joined
Dec 8, 2007
Messages
7,170
Location
Somewhere near Jupiter
Well the only one that springs to mind is Who Goes There by John W Campbell jr which of course formed the basis of the movie The Thing (itself a remake of an earlier film) but its been so long since I read it I can't remember if it was written as a horror.
 

j d worthington

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
13,889
Well, as with anything else, it depends on what you're looking for.

Groff Conklin edited a book called Science Fiction Terror Tales (1955), which runs the gamut from the Fredric Brown classic "Arena" to the quiet, subtle "Flies", by Isaac Asimov, or from the pulpish (but quite nastily effective) "Microscopic Giants" by Paul Ernst to the almost lyrical but terrifying "Let Me Live in a House", by Chad Oliver. It's not terribly easy to find these days, but does show up occasionally, for very low prices. Here's the Wiki article on this one:

Science Fiction Terror Tales - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

While not exclusively horror, Jim Wynorski's 1981 anthology, They Came From Outer Space does contain a fair number of classic sf tales which became sf horror films:

Amazon.com: They Came from Outer Space: 12 Classic Science Fiction Tales That Became Major Motion Pictures (9780385185028): Jim Wynorski, Ray Bradbury: Books

Forrest J Ackerman also edited some sf anthologies which included sf horror tales:

Forrest J Ackerman - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And, of course, a fair number of Lovecraft's tales are a blending of science fiction and horror: At the Mountains of Madness, "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", "The Shadow Out of Time", "Through the Gales of the Silver Key", "The Dreams in the Witch House", "The Whisperer in Darkness", "Beyond the Wall of Sleep", "The Call of Cthulhu", "The Challenge from Beyond" (written with A. Merritt, C. L. Moore, Robert E. Howard, and Frank Belknap Long); "The Colour Out of Space", "From Beyond", "Herbert West -- Reanimator", "Hypnos", "In the Walls of Eryx" (written with Kenneth J. Sterling)....

Then there are the books listed in this little bit:

Gothic science fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There are also the "straight" sf stories which are chilling or terrifying in their visions of the future as well: "With Folded Hands", by Jack Williamson, for example...

Quite a few stories by Ray Bradbury would fit the bill as well, whether in The Martian Chronicles, S is for Space, R is for Rocket, I Sing the Body Electric, or numerous other collections (as well as a novel or two); Richard Matheson has blent the two quite often as well... Hell House, a story about a haunted house, is also a science fiction tale in its own way, while I Am Legend is certainly science fiction horror, as is The Shrinking Man, as well as quite a few of his stories in the Shock! series or The Shores of Space...

Also a number of Harlan Ellison's stories blend the two very well; you might especially want to look up the collection Deathbird Stories....

These are the ones which come to mind right off, but there may be others lurking there which haven't quite kicked in....
 

Fried Egg

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2006
Messages
3,517
Actually Michael Moorcock's "The Black Corridor" is a good SF psychologilcal horror story.
 

AE35Unit

]==[]===O °
Joined
Dec 8, 2007
Messages
7,170
Location
Somewhere near Jupiter
I think Arthur Conan Doyle might have written some 'horror SF' type stories with the likes of The Great Keinplatz Experiment, The Horror of the Heights and The Ring of Thoth tho I've not read them yet.
And earlier still Mary Shelley's Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus is an early example!
 

BookStop

If you see a stranger...
Joined
Apr 13, 2006
Messages
2,393
Location
If you see a stranger, follow him.
Dean Koontz, esp the early years, has sf-horror. Stephen King is quite prolific as well. The Mist is particularly chilling and I would say science fiction.

Lots of sf horror reads like a thriller with elements of the horrific and technology of sf. Take Michael Crichton, definitely thriller, sometimes with sf, sometimes with horror. Sphere is an example of combining all 3.

You can also try Whitley Strieber. SOme of books have a horror bend. There is a really chilling tale about a serial killer trying to make zombie slaves by giving lobotomies...I'm not sure about hte title, but worth a read if you can track it down. creepy to say the least.
 

GOLLUM

Moderator
Joined
Mar 21, 2005
Messages
9,035
Location
Australia
Perhaps we could include Stanislaw Lem's Solaris, being an example of psychological horror?
 

paranoid marvin

Run VT Erroll!
Supporter
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Messages
3,435
In fact a LOT of the more modern Stephen King work is sci-fi , including The Tommyknockers and the brilliantly chilling The Langoliers
 

J Riff

The Ants are my friends..
Joined
Apr 11, 2010
Messages
4,969
Location
Sleeping in Lab
Space-HoRRoR! Love it, used to hunt it down. Deep space stuff usually, earthmen, explorers, miners or whatever, the typical Alien or Black Destroyer setting, and anything goes. Some of these stories scared me so bad that I can't remember much anymore. So they must have been really good. Some of my writing is pretty horrifying.
 

WizardofOwls

King of Typos
Joined
Dec 17, 2005
Messages
252
Location
Wytheville, VA USA
Sci-Fi horror.... reminds me of a comic book I read once. A bunch of people are on a space ship heading to a colony on another planet when people start turning up dead with 2 holes in their necks. It is finally decided that there is a vampire on board and the only way to kill it is a wooden stake in through the heart. However, being a space ship there is no wood on board, except for this one old man's cane. And in the final picture, you see the cane slowly floating away from the ship out in space.
 

vgunn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Messages
71
Well the only one that springs to mind is Who Goes There by John W Campbell jr which of course formed the basis of the movie The Thing (itself a remake of an earlier film) but its been so long since I read it I can't remember if it was written as a horror.

I would say so, though more psychological than outright gore. Loved the story, certainly worth a read.
 

vgunn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Messages
71
I would add Robert McCammon's Stinger to the list. A blend of SF and horror, though the action takes place on earth.
 

BAYLOR

There Are Always new Things to Learn.
Joined
Jun 29, 2014
Messages
18,840
Killer by Karl Edward Wagner and David Drake. It takes place in ancient Rome . A deadly alien creature gets turned lose on Earth. It's quite good.:)
 

Zoe Mackay

Not all those who wander... Oh, actually, I am.
Supporter
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
490
Location
London
It's been a while since I read them, but Dan Simmons' Hyperion books are fairly bloody and scary, if I recall properly.
 

Randy M.

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
2,065
A few years ago I noticed how often I saw something like this question asked, so for another website I compiled this list. Some of these entries, though dark reading, only bordering horror.
(Please excuse some repetition of titles already mentioned.)

S.f. & horror: 13x2 stories, and a few bonus stories


According to Brian Aldiss, modern science fiction stems from the Gothic novel and its very first appearance was Frankenstein.

I wouldn’t argue with Brian Aldiss, though I believe several critics do, since his assertion in essence supports mine: S.f. and horror have been close partners since pretty near the beginning of modern s.f. And I’ll support my statement by noting that a good number of the following stories can be found in The S. F. Hall of Fame, Adventures in Time and Space, The Norton Book of Science Fiction, and various year’s best s.f. anthologies, among others.


a. “The Invisible Man” by H. G. Wells
b. ‘Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell, Jr.
c. “Black Destroyer” by A. E. Van Vogt
d. “Microcosmic God” by Theodore Sturgeon
e. “They” by Robert Heinlein
f. “Mimsy Were the Borogroves” by Henry Kuttner & C. L. Moore
g. ”With Folded Hands” by Jack Williamson
h. “The Little Black Bag” by C. M. Kornbluth
i. “The Nine Billion Names of God” by Arthur C. Clarke
j. “Fondly Fahrenheit” by Alfred Bester
k. “Born of Man and Woman” by Richard Matheson
l. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
m. “It’s a Good Life” by Jerome Bixby
n. Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney
o. Quatermass by Nigel Kneale (screenplay)
p. “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury
q. “The House the Blakeney’s Built” by Avram Davidson
r. “Passengers” by Robert Silverberg
s. “Window” by Bob Leman
t. “Carcinoma Angels” by Norman Spinrad
u. “The Last Flight of Dr. Ain” by James Tiptree, Jr.
v. “Sandkings” by George R. R. Martin
w. “The Autopsy” by Michael Shea
x. “Tissue Ablation and Variant Regeneration: A Case Study” by Michael Blumlein
y. “All My Darling Daughters” by Connie Willis
z. Punktown by Jeffrey Thomas


And some of these writers went on to write more than one s.f./horror story:

aa. H. G. Wells: The Island of Dr. Moreau; “The Strange Orchid”; “The Crystal Egg”; “The Sea Raiders”
bb. Henry Kuttner & C. L. Moore: “The Twonky”
cc. Ray Bradbury: “The Sound of Thunder”; “The Veldt”
dd. Richard Matheson: I am Legend
ee. Nigel Kneale : Quatermass II (screenplay); Quatermass and the Pit (screenplay)
ff. Bob Leman: “Instructions”
gg. James Tiptree, Jr.: “The Screwfly Solution”
hh. George R. R. Martin: Fevre Dream; ”Nightflier”
ii. Michael Blumlein: “The Brains of Rats”


My favorites above include “The Invisible Man”; “Who Goes There?”; “The Little Black Bag”; “Fondly Fahrenheit”; “There Will Come Soft Rains”; “Passengers”; “The Autopsy;” and almost anything produced by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore fits in my list of favorites.

I feel pretty certain that this only scratches the surface. I purposely avoided Lovecraft since I had offered up a reading suggestion earlier just of his stories. And it occurs to me that I didn't even think of George Langelaan's "The Fly."

Randy M.
(Sheesh. I must have been half-thinking. I not only missed Langelaan's "The Fly," I missed Kornbluth's "The Mind Thing" among other stories)
 
Last edited:

Randy M.

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
2,065
I would say so, though more psychological than outright gore. Loved the story, certainly worth a read.

Just to point out, you do not need gore to write horror: "The Fall of the House of Usher"; "The Black Cat"; "The Colour Out of Space"; "Small Assassin"; ...

The horror of "Who Goes There?" is about loss of identity and dissolution of community: the people you rely on for your well-being you not only can no longer trust, you may find them to be enemies.

Randy M.
 

J-Sun

Joined
Oct 23, 2008
Messages
5,035
There's a related thread on this that's restricted to space-based stories. I'm replying as though both threads were one.

I'll second Toby Frost and Randy M. on some van Vogt stories, especially "Black Destroyer" and some of the rest of Voyage of the Space Beagle. Ditto j.d. and hypnos164 on many Ellison stories, especially those found in Deathbird Stories (and also some in Alone Against Tomorrow). Ditto moggle and Randy M. on Martin stories - I'd add at least "Override" and a story or two from the Tuf series ("The Plague Star", I think (and maybe "Guardians"?)) in addition to "Nightflyers" and "Sandkings". Martin, like John Shirley, is probably more a horror writer than SF in ways. Speaking of Shirley, there are also guys like Leiber and Bloch who might not write a lot of "horror SF" but write a lot of horror while also being connected strongly to the SF world. And I'd ditto Bick on Asher's stuff, especially stuff with prador, like Prador Moon and "Alien Archaeology". Of this, some of the van Vogt and Martin are space-based and the Asher is.

I'd add Richard Calder's Dead Girls/Dead Boys/Dead Things series. It's not quite horror in the way the titles make them sound, but they are still pretty messed up. Many of Robert Reed's stories are pretty horrific and the Great Ship ones, among others, are space-based or take place in a milieu which assumes space even when they take place on planets. Cordwainer Smith's "A Planet Named Shayol" is pretty horrible in ways and some of his Instrumentality stories have a weird darkness to them though most don't fit. And, for a weird one, Jack McDevitt's The Devil's Eye is a somewhat atypical Alex Benedict novel in which the mystery revolves around the death of a horror writer and which introduces some frissons of semi-horror along the way.

I'd also add a mention of Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette's "Boojum" series (space-based). For a brief review of one (as well as a couple of Reed stories - both "Great Ship") and a couple of other related stories, there's this section of my take on a Dozois annual which includes five SF horror stories.
 

Alecc0

Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2015
Messages
13
The Dark Tower series is a must - it's usually referenced as part horror, although mostly fantasy/sci-fi. Worth checking out, especially as it's considered Stephen King's greatest works (whether that means anything to you or not!?)
 

Similar threads


Top