Small press and self-pub authors have it hard. They can produce some excellent work but have trouble getting the circulation that they need. As a result, lots of people miss out on some truly excellent books. Don’t get me wrong, I do think self-publishing has done a lot to flood the market with some seriously subpar work. However, every once in a while, a gem will shine through that deserves recognition. It’s easier to find good work among the small press publications (there’s a lot to be said for access to an editor!), but they can still end up struggling a ridiculous amount to get their work attention.
So, today we’re taking some time to recognize some of the best small press and self-pub novels we’ve read since the inception of Sci-Fi & Scary. This is a Top Ten Tuesday post (brought to you by Broke and Bookish) but there won’t be ten on the list. These are the best of the best of the underrated in my opinion. Books I’d like to have multiple copies of so I can shove them into people’s hands in hopes they’ll actually read them.
*All listed books also have less than 75 reviews on Goodreads, and covers go to Goodreads.
Underrated Science Fiction & Horror Novels
Review Excerpt: A wonderfully written work by Chris Chelser…These stories are also what I would consider ‘clean’, as there was no mention of sex, drug, or alcohol abuse. There might have been a couple foul words (though none that I can recall off the top of my head) but certainly nothing outrageous or in excess. There were a couple of possibly squicky scenes (if you have a very weak stomach), but nothing that even came possibly close to approaching gory.
Review Excerpt: I AM works on a peculiar, exponential time-scale that actually works in its favor when it comes to the characters being believable. Drakich gives fun nods to the things that have made science fiction so fun, from the original space-bot to star trek phasers, and – of course – the mothership. He also covers evolution and religion in a way that makes you laugh as you realize how silly it sounds until you sit back, think about it for a second, and find yourself thinking “Uhm…y’know…actually… I could see it working this way. That would make a lot of sense.
Review Excerpt: So, on top of the awesome monster, snappy dialogue, and almost non-stop action, there’s even more about Monstrum to love. Diverse main characters! Minorities take the center stage in this rather epic monster thriller book. The fact that they’re highly intelligent and have some interesting skills (such as fencing!) make it even better. The author definitely avoids the stereotypes (for a quite understandable reason!) and gives us great teens to read about.
Review Excerpt: Well-written and poignant, the novella takes you through the last day of the 80 year old former starship captain. He knows it will be his last day, and he is determined to face it with dignity. At the same time, he is human and he rails against the idea of dying. It just proves that even when you know it’s for a reason – even when you know it’ll be an easy passing – man is not meant to go gentle into that good night.
Review Excerpt: It’s unique, imaginative, and creepy. Believable characters doing logical things slammed against an unbelievable evil. It makes for a read that inserts itself firmly into your psyche, ensuring you’re going to experience a lingering unease.
Review excerpt: Leigh M. Lane’s The Private Sector is terrifying. Especially right now, with a malignant cesspool of racism and greed being the president-elect. There are so many things in her book that strike a chord of terror even King couldn’t incite on his best day. Because you can see it happening. Heck, you can see it happening right now! Lane’s vision of the future in The Private Sector feels almost disturbingly prophetic.
What books would you have put on this list of underrated science fiction and horror instead?