Our Most Anticipated Upcoming Horror and Weird Fiction
It is my opinion that we are living in a golden age of horror literature. It’s a cliche by now, as we’ve seen the world of horror grow and mature in popular culture thanks to the likes of The Babadook, It Follows, Get Out, and The Witch, but it stands true for books too. Literature tends to be viewed as the robed, basement-dwelling older brother, dragged out into sunlight for October top tens and Instagram posts. But, despite horror lit’s relative invisibility (which is getting better, by the way—Laird Barron has a movie now, if you forgot), we’re not just getting a lot of books, we’re getting a lot of great books. That’s right. There’s more talent now than you can fill a shelf with, and it just keeps coming.
We took it upon ourselves to take a look at what’s coming down the pipeline and pick some of our most anticipated. If there’s something you’re hyped about that’s not on here, give us a shout out, we want to hear it!
Anyways, without further ado, here’s the goods.
Nox Pareidolia (Nightscape) Anthology (TBA)
Nightscape is one of those newish publishers that began turning heads in the last year or so. With their focus on weird contemporary horror and a willingness to push the genre to its literary extremes, they’ve pleased readers with a number of high quality (and gorgeous looking) releases. The charitable chapbook line alone is worth a look, but what brought most folks into the Nightscape fold was Ashes and Entropy, a quality anthology filled with tons of talent (Laird Barron, John Langan, Nadia Bulkin, and Jon Padgett—just to name a few).
If that sort of taste and high-profile pull is any indication, the upcoming Nox Pareidolia is sure to be a pretty important release. Although there’s no official table of contents yet, there’s no doubting that Nox will have some serious talent behind it.
And if that’s not enough, take a look at that cover. Striking. We can’t wait. Nox Pareidolia is available now for pre order.
Everything Is Beautiful and Nothing Bad Can Happen Here – Michael Wehunt (Nightscape) (9/24/2019)
Greener Pastures was a total sleeper hit in the world of weird fiction. Michael Wehunt made waves with his debut collection and it’s no wonder. I’m not sure I could name a more humanistic and soulful writer of the weird in recent history. Wehunt gets people just as well as he gets monsters.
Coming down the pipeline from Nightscape is another in their charitable chapbook line. The blurb goes as follows:
This is a ghost story. It has those that scratch at bedroom doors and tap at windows, wanting to be let in. It has those that haunt all of us, long after the others tire of the scratching. For some, doors are not enough.
Bea Holcombe loves her life in Fontaine Falls, a perfect little town tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. She has never thought to question that love until her next-door neighbor opens fire on a crowd of black demonstrators gathered in the city park to protest the town’s Confederate statue. Lester Neal has torn open an invisible wound in Fontaine Falls, and what festers inside of it will change Bea, her family, and the dimming mind of her mother forever.
As the national media descends and violence spreads, the town endures a conflict it is no longer insulated from. Bea is given a special sight so that she may witness how deep the rot has burrowed inside the postcard charm of Fontaine Falls. And she will be asked to turn the light of scrutiny and complicity upon herself as she is visited by horrors that won’t rest quietly. “This is a ghost story,” she tells us repeatedly. This unflinching, poetic novella is an examination of that claim—its layers of truth, of untruth, and the uneasy specters that inhabit modern America.
If it’s anything like Greener Pastures, we’re in. Nightscape has Everything is Beautiful available for preorder as well.
The Tribe (July 2019)/ The Spirit (August 2019) Paperbacks from Hell Reprints (Valancourt)
Paperbacks From Hell held its own sort of magic. You know the kind—used book stores, lazy afternoons; the thrill of the hunt and the joy of discovery. It made horror paperbacks into a sort of vintage quest. But for those of you who just want to read the damn books, Valancourt has got you covered.
The Tribe by Bari Wood and The Spirit by Thomas Page both look like they have that insane energy from the time before Literary Horror and Good Taste. If you like your books railing coke and giving no shits, I couldn’t think of a better way to shake my head and mouth what the fuck repeatedly. You can check out all of Valancourt’s Paperbacks From Hell line here.
Into Bones Like Oil – Kaaron Warren (Meerkat) (November 2019)
I haven’t read much of Warren yet, but I’ve read enough to know that it’s to my detriment. She’s a powerhouse writer, the sort who demands attention with any new release. Into Bones Like Oil is a novella concerning a beach side rooming house called The Angelsea. From what the blurb suggests, it seems a little too restful a place. Combine that and a grief stricken protagonist and you have a recipe for a dark and melancholy haunting.
I’m personally always down for more novellas, and its my opinion that horror works particularly well in the format. Into Bones Like Oil looks to be a promising and almost classical chiller, perfect for a cold night and grey sky. Preorder it directly from Meerkat here.
Velocities- Kathe Koja (Meerkat) (April 2020)
The Cipher is perhaps the greatest horror novel I’ve ever read. I knew it within the first twenty pages. Koja’s prose is wild and controlled, strung together with expert punctuation that gives it the breathing, stuttering cadence of real human dialogue. Her weird is grimey and bohemian, populated with artists, wannabes, and blue collar losers.
Velocities is a new short story collection, in the author’s own words “a long-awaited follow-up to Extremities.” Meerkat Press promises two brand new unpublished stories in the collection. And if that’s not enough Koja for you, keep your eye out on the calendar, because Meerkat’s also reissuing The Cipher.
A Sick Gray Laugh – Nicole Cushing (Word Horde) (August 2019)
Have you read Mr. Suicide?
I saw the cover and laughed. I won’t play around here, it’s a bad cover. It took some convincing, from multiple sources for me to pick it up. But man, I did not regret a second of it when I did. Holy shit. I got a chill of frisson from Mr. Suicide that’s been hard to chase since. Transgressive, witty, subversive, and literary all the way—Nicole Cushing has a reader for life.
Which is why A Sick Gray Laugh (which actually has a fantastic cover) is my most anticipated new release. Word Horde and Cushing are a match made in heaven (or Hell), and the blurb promises a story that’s not too worried about playing nice:
Award-winning author Noelle Cashman is no stranger to depression and anxiety. In fact, her entire authorial brand, showcased in such titles as The Girl with the Gun in Her Mouth, Leather Noose, and The Breath Curse, has been built on the hopeless phantasmagoric visions she experiences when in the grip of paranoid psychosis. But Noelle has had enough, and, author brand be damned, has found help for her illness in the form of an oblong yellow pill, taken twice daily.
Since starting on this medication, Noelle’s symptoms have gone into remission. She’s taken up jogging. She’s joined a softball team. For the first time in Noelle’s life, she feels hope. She’s even started work on a nonfiction book, a history of her small southern Indiana town.
But then Noelle starts to notice the overwhelming Grayness that dominates her neighborhood, slathered over everything like a thick coat of snot, threatening to assimilate all.
It reads almost like a satirical horror novel of ideas. Like a bitter Animal Farm for mental health and pharmaceuticals. Whatever it is, I’m ready for it. Word Horde has it available for pre-order.
Check out all these books at the links provided, add them to your lists, pre-order, or just share this article and let your friends know what you give a shit about. The wheels of any niche community are turned by its community members. Be brave. Talk about horror.