What is the spooky season, if not an excuse to binge read horror?
I am a sucker for Lovecraftian horror. It is easily my favourite subgenre. They often discuss topics such as mental health, humanity and unspeakable evil. Not to mention how many authors these days use the subgenre to discuss real-world issues such as sexism and racism.
These types of horror stories tend to be much more creative and disturbing, with visceral imagery of eldritch horror.
I figured now was as good a time as any to share some Lovecraftian novels by contemporary writers. May they both terrify and entertain you during the spookiest month of the year.
A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill
A Cosmology of Monsters is, without a doubt, my favourite book on this list.
Some families are cursed with a string of bad luck. The Turners are no exception. If anything, they have it worse than most. Mental health issues plague the bloodline as well as unfortunate events and circumstances.
The youngest of the family, Noah, sees monsters. The same ones that his father saw, but instead of fearing them, he befriends them. The monster, in turn, seems to take a shine to him too. But what is the monster? What does it want with the Turner family? Noah might be the first Turner to find out the truth, provided he stays sane enough.
A Cosmology of Monsters is a brilliant example of Lovecraftian horror. In fact, Lovecraft himself is namedropped a few times. With otherworldly evil, a family trying to cope with trauma and a whole lot of creepy imagery, this book is a must-read for any horror fan.
I loved this book so much that I had to write a full review for it. To read my rants and raves about it in better detail, give it a read.
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
Ever been on one of those school trips where you end up in a group with people you don’t particularly like? Imagine that, but as a scientific expedition with a 100% casualty rating, your team is the twelfth to venture forth.
Written as the in-universe diary of the botanist of the team, she is joined by three other women on her mission to map out the mysterious Area X. Pretty early on, things are starting to get weird. Despite the numerous attempts to understand the area, they have no idea what they are in for. Nothing is as it first appears, including the botanist and her teammates. There is something dark hiding just out of view, but what does it want?
Annihilation is the first of the Southern Reach Trilogy. I still haven’t gotten around to reading the following two books, Authority and Acceptance.
Another book I have written a full review for. For a deeper insight, please check it out.
Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
Scooby-Doo meets Lovecraft.
Alright, obviously there is more to Meddling Kids than that, but it isn’t exactly wrong. You see, Meddling Kids follows a group of former friends who have since parted ways since their final case as the Blyton Summer Detective Club.
Thirteen years have passed, time has not been kind to them. One is on the run, one works a dead-end job in a bar and one is currently locked away in a mental asylum with only the last member of their motley crew to visit him. It’s a shame said friend died years ago.
The time has come for them to reunite and go back to where it all began. Unfortunately for the gang, it doesn’t look like a guy in a mask this time.
With eldritch horror, ghosts and themes of mental health, Meddling Kids will keep you laughing while creeping you out.
The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin
Every city has a dark area. That part of town that nothing good ever happens in, the one shady side street that is certainly haunted by now and that one pub that seems to call to all the worst people.
But enough about Glasgow, we are talking about New York City and her five protectors.
New York City is under threat. A powerful force of evil is attacking and only five chosen protectors, or avatars, can help.
“This is the lesson: Great cities are like any other living things, being born and maturing and wearying and dying in their turn.”
As a side note, I love that so many writers are using the arena that Lovecraft built while also flipping him off. I like his work, don’t get me wrong, but as a person? To say he sucked would be an understatement. On that, I think we can all agree.
I was encouraged to read a short story that serves as a somewhat prequel first, The City Born Great. I suggest you do so too, plus getting free short stories is never a bad thing for a reader.