Horror Fiction that isn't by White Men
June 10, 2019 10:18 AM   Subscribe

Most of the contemporary horror recommendations I get are for white male authors and while some of their work is great, I need recommendations for women, poc, and lgbtq authors of horror.

I've long been a fan horror (films, movies, books, and short stories) and recently I've been frustrated lately that all the recommendations I get for contemporary horror are by white men. I did recently read Victor LaValle's The Changeling, which I really enjoyed if that helps. I've read some pretty hardcore stuff (I just finished a book of body horror short stories) so I'm as comfortable with gore as with a slow burn "atmospheric" tale like Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House.

Bonus points: I'm a disabled person and so stories/novels that deal with disability and chronic illness are of special interest to me.
posted by miss-lapin to Writing & Language (28 answers total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
It seems like Carmen Maria Machado's work would be right up your alley. Her Body and Other Parties is a collection of her short stories, and it is so good.
posted by witchen at 10:30 AM on June 10, 2019 [13 favorites]

Elizabeth Hand is great for atmospheric creepy-ass stories, I especially love Wylding Hall.
posted by leesh at 10:30 AM on June 10, 2019 [7 favorites]

If you're open to comics as a medium, Emily Carroll does some great short horror comics.
posted by terretu at 10:47 AM on June 10, 2019 [6 favorites]

Muriel Gray might fit the bill?
posted by bifter at 10:52 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Junji Ito is the preeminent horror manga artist. Here's a recent short story of his that's pretty representative of his style.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 10:56 AM on June 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

You might like the Mira Grant books; Into the Drowning Deep comes to mind as having disability rep, and Final Girls as arguably being more purely horror than some of her other books.

Maybe also take a peek at Women Destroy Horror, People of Colo(u)r Destroy Horror, and Queers Destroy Horror - those are all short pieces but might lead you to authors you like and want to eplore further.
posted by Stacey at 10:57 AM on June 10, 2019 [7 favorites]

Tananarive Due writes horror centered on black characters. I've only read a couple of her books so far, My Soul to Keep and The Between, but liked both of them. (I also just now discovered that she worked on a new documentary called Horror Noire that sounds interesting.)
posted by therewithal at 10:57 AM on June 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

Caitlín R. Kiernan - The Red Tree
posted by moonmilk at 10:58 AM on June 10, 2019 [6 favorites]

Caitlín R. Kiernan is a trans woman who is regularly hailed as one of the very best modern practitioners of "weird fiction" in the tradition of Machen/Lovecraft/Blackwood. She recently had a career spanning best-of collection released: The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan.

Gemma Files is highly regarded, though I've only read a couple stories.

Ann and Jeff Vandermeer's giant anthology "The Weird" will generate lots of other suggestions.
posted by eugenen at 11:04 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Two of Karen Russell’s short stories from Vampires in the Lemon Grove would qualify:

“Reeling For the Empire”
“The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis”
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:06 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Came here to recommend Mira Grant / Seanan McGuire as well, specifically "Into the Drowning Deep". (And also the short story "Spores".)
posted by sailoreagle at 11:08 AM on June 10, 2019 [6 favorites]

Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enríquez is a collection of short stories sometimes called horror, maybe more accurately described as macabre. Enríquez is Argentinian, and also has a great graphic novel and another short story collection that as of yet have not been translated into English.

Seconding Carmen Maria Machado. You also may enjoy The Juniper Tree by Barbara Comyns which is less horror and (again) more macabre/modern fairytale but she's a fantastic writer I think more people should read : )
posted by lefty lucky cat at 11:09 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


Generally, there is a print version for the story and there is always a reference to the source. (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April 1977; "Horrors! 365 Scary Stories: Get Your Daily Dose of Terror")

Look for the Artemis Rising selections, which are currated for underrepresented genre writers.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 11:12 AM on June 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Since you mention short stories, here are a bunch of contemporary recommendations that are on the weird fiction / strange imagery / ghost stories border with horror, all by women and several by PoC authors:
posted by Wobbuffet at 11:13 AM on June 10, 2019 [6 favorites]

Kameron Hurley - The Stars are Legion is creepy science fiction with a lot of body horror.
posted by moonmilk at 11:15 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Previously: Horror Fiction by Authors of Color
posted by ShooBoo at 11:31 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Come Closer by Sara Gran is very creepy and good.

The Grip of It by Jac Jemc is not as creepy but still very good!
posted by cakelite at 11:54 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yes to Tananarive Due! She's the one who recently taught a class on black horror at UCLA that went viral (she had Jordan Peele surprise the class).
posted by missmary6 at 11:55 AM on June 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
posted by jennypower at 12:04 PM on June 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: All of these answers are wonderful! And I actually had Her body and other parties on my library hold list. It's popular so it'll take a while before I read it.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:21 PM on June 10, 2019

You can get a taste of Tananarive Due's prose on LeVar Burton Reads, episode 38, where he read her short story Free Jim's Mine
posted by ringu0 at 1:44 PM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

This may already be on your radar, since you already mentioned Victor LaValle, but his Ballad of Black Tom is explicitly about rewriting a deeply racist Lovecraft story from the point of view of PoC. (It’s also really good).
posted by firechicago at 1:48 PM on June 10, 2019 [7 favorites]

I finished reading Alma Katsu's "The Hunger" in one creepy sitting. A historical fiction horror novel about the Donner Party, recently listed in the NYT "Best Books of Summer."
posted by thenewbrunette at 2:22 PM on June 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Kelly Link may be more of a fantasy writer(?), but her story The Specialist's Hat stands out to me as being scarier the second time I read it.
posted by adventitious at 5:56 PM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Some novels I'd recommend in particular are Samanta Schweblin's Fever Dream, Helen Oyeyemi's White is for Witching and Kathe Koja's The Cipher. I would say they fall more on the dread side of the horror spectrum.

Some great horror/weird short story writers not mentioned yet:

Kaaron Warren
Helen Marshall
Nadia Bulkin
Chavisa Woods
Livia Llewellyn
Kristi DeMeester
SP Miskowski
Rios de la Luz
posted by fryman at 6:13 PM on June 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

"The Marrow Thieves" by Cherie Dimaline is a YA dystopian/speculative fiction novel.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 10:56 PM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you can read in Spanish at all and you have a Scribd subscription, set your account language to Spanish and do some searching over there. I just did this about 30 minutes ago and I'm being blown away by the quality of the selection.

Not horror per se, but I just found this great-sounding anthology of fantastic writing by Spanish and Latin American women.

Spain's Wikipedia entry on tales of terror makes some suggestions as to authors.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 3:03 PM on June 11, 2019

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