We’ve been waiting to roll this post out! While we’re going to be doing a “Best of 2017” in early January, we wanted to devote one list solely to small press and self-published authors that we’ve read this year. Now, unlike the Best of 2017 list, which has the qualification of must be published in 2017, because it is so much harder for self pubs and small press work to get attention, we relaxed that rule a bit. These are the best indie sci-fi and horror we read in 2017. Publication date does not matter.
Note: We’ve listed these in alphabetical order by title, not in order of preference.
Best Indie Sci-Fi of 2017
Chimera Catalyst by Susan Kuchinskas
Dark & Stars by J.B. Rockwell
Kings of this World by Peter Bailey
The Killbug Eulogies by Will Madden
The Slant Six by Christopher Cobb
Lilyn’s Notes: This was a hard list to settle on. I knew I had to stick to five, so naturally there was some weeding going on. These are the ones that stood out in the end, though. Chimera Catalyst had one of the most believable near-future settings I’ve seen. Dark & Stars had the rare distinction of being better than the first book (how often does that happen?) and I loved the first book!, Kings of This World was everything a post-apocalyptic novel should be but rarely is, and The Slant Six.. well, that was just downright funny, and it’s hard to make me laugh in a book. I won’t say more because the titles link to the reviews, and those say it best.
Best Indie Horror of 2017
Crow Shine by Alan Baxter
The Darklights by MichaelBrent Collings
The Ghost Club by William Meikle
Rites of Azathoth by Frank Cavallo
Wicked Witches Anthology edited by Scott T. Goudsward, David Price and Daniel G. Keohane
GracieKat’s Notes: It’s probably pretty easy to tell from my list that I love short story collections and anthologies. Crow Shine impressed me because of its consistently good stories throughout. It’s true that a single author collection is much easier to sustain the goodness level than a multi-author one but really, Crow Shine had awesome stories throughout. The Darklights really surprised me because it seemed to be more science fiction but after reading a few chapters it really didn’t matter. I was hooked. And it is definitely horror. The Ghost Club was a late entry and I’m so glad it was. I knew William Meikle could write well in period language from his Carnacki books but I was still very surprised at how well he was able to write in the style of other, varied authors. To the Manor Born was certainly my favorite in that collection. Rites of Azathoth was a very good book. I can’t say I enjoyed the main character much, but the rest was great Lovecraftian gooey-ness. It’s also a testament to just how good the rest of the book was for me to overlook a few issues and put it in one of my top spots for the year. Remember what I said about multi-author anthologies? Wicked Witches was one of the few that I honestly can’t think of a story that didn’t blend well. And that’s no mean feat considering it was not only multiple authors but themed as well.
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.
Though no longer involved with Ladies of Horror Fiction due to other responsibilities and a too-full plate, she was one of the original 4 co-founders.
Feel free to chat her up on Twitter as long as you aren’t hitting her up to review your book.