This Top Ten Tuesday’s prompt was an exciting one for us. Considering the variety we come across in reading science fiction and horror, it’s high time we acknowledge these stand-outs. Whether it be for plot or characters, you won’t be forgetting these unique science fiction or horror reads anytime soon.
Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you courtesy of Broke and Bookish.
Lilyn’s Most Unique Science Fiction and Horror Reads
Author: Harry Harrison
Genre: Science Fiction
It’s unique because of: The setting. The title of the book should give you a clue. On Pyrrus, everything – from the smallest animals to the very grass itself – is out to kill you. And yet humans are just too stubborn to go live somewhere else. Nature vs Man on an epic level.
Title: Apocalypse Cow
Author: Michael Logan
Genre: Horror / Comedy
It’s unique because of: The zombie cows. Seriously, zombie cows. “Forget the cud, they want blood.” Not only are they zombie cows, but they’re horny zombie cows.
Title: On the Edge of Gone
Author: Corinne Duyvis
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
It’s unique because of: A young female with autism is the main character in this science fiction novel. Other diverse elements included as well.
Title: Puppet Skin
Author: Danger Slater
Genre: Bizarro Horror
It’s unique because of: The premise itself. When kids reach a certain age, they get turned into living puppets. And then there are things that come from the wood. And a trip to somewhere unexpected, and we can’t tell you more without spoiling it, but you’ll definitely be wanting a strong stomach to read this at times.
Title: Manhattan Projects Vol 1
Author: Jonathan Hickman
Genre: Alternate History Science Fiction
It’s unique because of: Albert Einstein doubling as a barbarian badass. This is not the first book, nor will it be the last, to do alternate history with recognizable figures. However, it’s uniqueness lies it’s in its complete lack of giving a flying frog about respecting the reverence with which we traditionally treat major characters in science.
GracieKat’s Most Unique Horror Reads
Title: House of Leaves
Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
It’s unique because: Besides the very different, twisty-turny format with the creative layouts it is also an interestingly multi-layered story. Part of it is told through an unreliable narrator, through meandering footnotes, transcripts of a tape that may or may not exist and letters.
Title: Entwined – Tales from the City
Author: A.J. Armitt
It’s unique because: The book is a series of short stories with each successive story tying into the previous one via a character from the preceding story. Sometimes it’s the main character, other times it’s a side or a very minor background character. The tales are woven together very well. They also skim from realism, fantasy, fairy tale and straight up horror. It’s a mix that should not work together well, but they do.
As a side note, I was a little disappointed and is also one of the common perils of reading indie authors. The end previews a teaser for a sequel that, to my knowledge, hasn’t been written yet and I was very interesting to know where else it could go.
Title: Shadows in the Asylum
Author: D.A. Stern
It’s unique because: I like the way it was set up as a case file with diary entries, newspaper clippings, etc. The transcripts of Dr. Marsh and his patients are interesting in the way it shows his progression into madness and obsession but yet he remains (realistically) oblivious to it. I would recommend buying the physical book.
Title: Shock Rock
Editor: Jeff Gelb
It’s unique because: Even though metal and horror often walk hand in tattooed hand it’s very rare to find a novel or even short story linking the two together. It may be more common of late but when I first came across Shock Rock I was ecstatic. A book uniting my two greatest loves! Music and horror. Swoon! (There is also a Shock Rock II but in my opinion Shock Rock I is the better of the two. Not that Shock Rock II is terrible by any means, I just think the first is better.)
Title: The Emo Bunny That Should – A Story for Demented Children
Author: John H. Carroll
It’s unique because: John H. Carroll’s Stories for Demented Children are a fun spin on the typical children’s books. They take a normal fairy tale type trope and spins it around. My son and I read these together and absolutely loved them. His favorite of the series was Zachary Zombie and the Lost Boy. Another favorite was The Attack of the Sugar Plum Fairies.
It’s your turn! What are your most unique books? (They don’t have to be unique science fiction or horror!) Let us know!
I own Apocalypse Cow and The House of Leaves and am thrilled to see them on your list. I just need to make some time for them.
How have you resisted the siren song of horny zombie cows?!
House of Leaves can be daunting, it is thick and all of the wandering footnotes can be somewhat hard to follow. There is a companion piece to it called The Whalestoe Letters that supposedly adds to it but most of the letters within are printed in House of Leaves. I think there are two or three that are not but there’s nothing major or enlightening about it. So I guess if you can get it cheap it’s worth it, otherwise I wouldn’t bother.
I can’t help but laugh when I see the title Apocalypse Cow!
You needs to read it for the rest of the giggles!
Not sure I can face having this title in my Kindle, haha!
Oh, c’mon, doesn’t it “Moooooo”ve you?
I can totally see Apocalypse Cow as a SyFy channel movie.
Oh God… Yes. SO much yes! That would be awesome.
Speaking of treating historical figures, even Albert Einstein, irreverently, “Masks of the Illuminati” (1981) by Robert Anton Wilson featured both Einstein and James Joyce AND (famous name withheld). Einstein and Joyce jointly solve the mystery posed by the protagonist, each using reasoning characteristic of their respective disciplines, but also get involved in some very wild behavior at the end.
Ooooh, I may have to check this out. You got me curious on the famous withheld name!
A personal top ten of the odd:
Bierce, Ambrose. “The Parenticide Club.” 1890? Think killing your parents could be fun? Bierce offers his takes on the subject.
Wharton, Edith. “Afterward.” 1909.
There’s no point in describing this ghost story; just read it.
Stoker, Bram. “The Lair of the White Worm.” 1911.
Sometimes taken as evidence that Stoker was going crazy at the end of his life, it features an immense worm that poses as a lady, and a malevolent kite.
Smith, Clark Ashton. “Genius Loci.” 1935.
While Clark’s Averoigne stories are my favorites, this one about an evil landscape bothers me.
Finney, Charles G. “The Circus of Dr. Lao.” 1935. Illustrated by Boris Artzybasheff.
A circus on serious drugs.
Stephenson, Carl. “Leiningen Versus the Ants.” 1937.
There is NOTHING supernatural about this suspenseful horror story, and it’s a fair contest.
Smith, Cordwainer. “Under Old Earth.” 1964.
One of the Lords of the Instrumentality up against a man who isn’t quite a man anymore; it reads more like a legend than a factual story set in Smith’s universe.
Du Maurier, Daphne. “The House on the Strand.” 1969.
Is it time travel to medieval England … or drugs?
Amis, Kingsley. “The Green Man.” 1969.
A drunken innkeeper goes up against a long-dead magician, who’s not at his best, either.
Bloch, Robert. “The Oracle.” 1971.
Want to take over the United States? Well, you can’t. But the Oracle offers a horrifying start.
Oh boy! All of these are new to me! Happy Horror dancing right now. LOL