There are books that everyone talks about. Ender’s Game, N0S4A2, IT, just to name a few. Thousands of people read them. Even people who haven’t read them generally know what book you’re talking about when you say the title. And, love or hate them, you can’t deny that they’re the celebrities of their genre. And they’re generally good, too. But it doesn’t hurt that the writers got picked up by major publishing houses, are related to someone in the industry, or have just been prolific enough that everyone knows their name.
It is what it is, and stories about stories that garnered acclaim on the weight of the story alone are rare. Sometimes, even books repped by major publishing houses get shoved to the side rather quickly. And that’s just…life. Sucks, but again, it is what it is.
However, for this Top Ten Tuesday (brought to you courtesy of Broke and Bookish), we’re going to look at a few of sci-fi & horror’s hidden gems. These ones may be new, they may have been around for a while. They might be repped by one of the big five, or a tiny little 1 man publishing house you’ve never heard of it. None of that matters. What does matter is that these books deserve your attention just as much as the bright and shiny books do.
They just need their chance to shine.
A Few of Sci-Fi & Horror’s Hidden Gems
Phaethon by Rachel Sharp – Sci-Fi & Fantasy – with a measly 29 ratings and 12 reviews on Goodreads. It’s not gonna blow your mind, but it will thoroughly entertain you when you need to turn your brain off and just enjoy something.
Apophis by Caron Rider – Post-apocalyptic Science Fiction – One of the more interesting, imaginative takes on the post-apocalyptic world that you’ll see. What happens when humanity evolves along two separate lines when the world ends? A ridiculous 5 ratings and 5 reviews on Goodreads. So many of you would enjoy this book if you actually read it!
Guns, Gods, and Robots by Brady Koch -4 ratings, 3 reviews on Goodreads. A collection of science fiction and horror short stories that actually held my attention. A collection of science fiction and short stories that held my attention. Yes, I repeated myself and I did it for a reason. While you see anthologies listed on this site, they’re almost exclusively reviewed by Grace. I like my stories to be in depth, so it takes something special in a collection to make me glad I picked it up.
The Killbug Eulogies by Will Madden is the newest entry on this list in terms of publication date, but it’s a few months old and still only has 9 ratings and 8 reviews. If you follow me on Twitter, or even just read this site regularly, you’ll know that I have a very base sense of humor. When I’m not laughing at fart jokes, I’m cracking up at dry British humor, so I tend to run the gamut, but regardless, for a book to amuse me, it’s really got to hit a specific series of notes. This book had me rolling, y’all. You need to give it a go.
New Tales of the Yellow Sign by Robin Laws – With 8 reviews and 60 ratings this book based in the King in Yellow universe really deserves to be more widely known. Even if you’ve never read the actual King in Yellow stories these are just good, solid horror stories all the way around.
Shadows in the Asylum: The Case Files of Dr. Charles Marsh by D.A. Stern – Set up to look like actual files it’s not all gimmick and no story. The story is solidly creepy and if you decide to give it a look I urge you to get the physical book. The kindle version tries admirably to recreate the illusion of it but the physical book really sells the idea of it.
The Price by Alexandra Sokoloff – This one probably has more ratings than most of the other books on here but is still way too unknown. It actually brought tears to my eyes and that’s not easy to do. I highly recommend it but I’m also hesitant to because of the subject matter. It might bother some people. It’s a short but powerful book.
They Return at Evening by H.R. Wakefield – These are classics that are majorly overlooked. Wakefield is often compared to M.R. James which really does Wakefield a disservice. Not that I don’t love James but Wakefield keeps his horror creepy, chilling and descriptive but doesn’t dive fully into the gore pool.
The Year’s Best Horror Stories XXII – edited by Karl Edward Wagner – I recently re-read this because it had been a while and I have to say the stories in it are fantastic! Published in 1994 if you can find a copy I strongly suggest it because it’s a great mix and there’s sure to be something to please everyone. And the editor’s notes are hilarious.
So, there you have it ladies and gents. Another entry into our “For the love of Sweet Baby Cthulhu, would you please read these ruddy books?!” log for everyone.
So, uh… “For the love of Sweet Baby Cthulhu, would you please read these ruddy books?!”
(Psst: If you did a post like this, feel free to let us know so we can check yours out!!)
Lilyn G is the founder of Sci-Fi & Scary, and leader of the Coolthulhu Crew. She does book and film reviews for both genres the site focuses on. Her tastes run towards creature features, hard science fiction, and lots and lots of action. She also has a soft spot for middle-grade fiction that rears its head frequently.
She is also a co-founder of Ladies of Horror Fiction, though she has stepped down to regular crew level.
Feel free to chat her up on Twitter as long as you aren’t hitting her up to review your book.