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The Best Alien Horror Books On Earth...And Beyond

These chilling books will abduct you.

three children looking up into the green light of an alien space ship
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  • Photo Credit: Danie Franco / Unsplash

With all the talk of alien invasion, UFO sightings, and the congressional UFO hearings, the question is no longer “do aliens exist?”—but rather, “where are they?”

At this point, I think most of us can agree that the universe is just too big for Earth to be the only planet out there with intelligent life on it. But if that’s the case, then how long will it be before the others make themselves known?

Or perhaps they already have. Perhaps, they’re currently living among us. 

This post isn't meant to scare you, of course; but one can't help but wonder what could happen if we can’t all learn to co-exist peacefully.

Many different types of aliens are presented in these pages: erotic aliens, aliens who take over their hosts to survive, aliens who wish to reach out to Earth’s most intelligent scientists in an attempt to bond…hopefully emotionally, and not physically—if you catch my drift. 

Whether you’re a believer or a skeptic, these are some of the best alien horror books you can read—and they are sure to make you wonder what else is out there.

The Border

The Border

By Robert McCammon

An exhilarating apocalyptic, alien invasion novel, The Border is not simply human vs alien; it’s alien vs. alien, with humans simply as collateral damage.

The Gorgon ships arrived one random day in April, their introduction huge explosions that shook the skies. The skeletal Cyphers arrived soon after, but instead of through ships, through portals—both species using Earth as their battlefield.

In Colorado, just over 100 survivors have shacked up in an abandoned apartment building, fearing both the alien races as well as the mutated humans who are also hunting them down. Hope and supplies dwindling, the survivors live in fear daily; but one day, a teenage boy who appears to have suffered catastrophic injuries but is just as powerful as the Gray Men shows up.

He can’t remember where he came from, nor does he understand the intensity of his powers–but his dreams tell him to find “the white mansion,” and all of these clues may just inspire enough hope in the survivors to actually survive.

They Walked Like Men

They Walked Like Men

By Clifford D. Simak

A horror, thriller, and science fiction trio, They Walked Like Men is a terrific classic from Science Fiction Grand Master Clifford D. Simak.

Parker Graves, returning home from a night out, walks up his front steps to narrowly miss a mysterious bear trap. Continually perplexed, he watches as it changes from a bear trap to a bowling ball and rolls off into the night all on its own. The question is not only who put it there and why, but also, what the heck is it? 

The next day, at the newspaper office where he works, peculiar news keeps on coming: someone with seemingly limitless funds is buying up hundreds of homes and businesses, just to close up shop and tear them down. People are quickly running out of places to live and work.

Parker suddenly finds himself in the middle of an unbelievable story; and with a little help from a fellow reporter and an unusual visitor, he may just be able to stop the madness—but only if he can survive it first…



By Robert McCammon

Taking alien horror in a slightly different direction, Stinger makes you feel empathy for most of the alien race. With the closing of a copper mine in a West Texas desert, racism, gang wars, and anti-Mexican sentiment have been driving the inhabitants of the place apart. But nothing unites folks like watching a UFO soar through the sky. 

Daufin, a young alien who landed on Earth through a UFO crash, is on the run from a brutal alien bounty hunter named Stinger. Because Daufin has taken on the form of a human, Stinger can’t be sure who she is, so when he arrives in town to hunt her down, he vows that the rest of the town will bleed and burn for choosing to protect her.

Though the West Texas desert civilians unite to save the world from total annihilation, Stinger is a relentless killing machine that will make his abilities for death and destruction known for the next 24 hours. 

Life Form

Life Form

By Alan Dean Foster

If you’re convinced that intelligent alien life is out there, Life Form is your next read. Straight from your dreams (or rather, your nightmares) Earth’s most elite scientists make a shocking discovery: planet Xica, a life-sustaining planet not within our solar system. It’s inhabited by an advanced, intelligent, and human-like species with a civilization and society similar to ours. 

The scientists are invited to visit the planet, where they explore a civilization so similar to ours, yet one that defies the very laws of nature as they know it. But every planet has secrets…and Xica’s may threaten to destroy Earth and everyone living within it. 

Alien Sex

Alien Sex

By Ellen Datlow

An erotic, fantasy/sci-fi/horror short story collection, Alien Sex covers all the bases. Harlan Ellison, Richard Christian Matheson, Connie Willis, and many others come together to contribute to navigating an out-of-this-world type of love…literally.

Whether it be aliens posing as high school girls and sleeping with teachers, an engineer creating a robot during the end of the world that results in surprising repercussions, or a man becoming an alien invader’s pet, there’s a story in here for you.

After all, sometimes aliens come from other worlds but sometimes they live among, or even within, us. There’s nothing quite so horrifying as loving something you know nothing about. 

Your Mind is a Terrible Thing

Your Mind is a Terrible Thing

By Hailey Piper

While our first ideas of alien horror usually result in an alien invasion on Earth, Your Mind is a Terrible Thing shows just how terrifying it would be to face off against aliens abroad; especially when this alien is like no other.

With nods to The Thing, this novella features communications specialist Alto as he wakes from a tryst to find every crew member aboard the Starship M.G. Yellowjacket vanished. Not only that, but a sinister presence has slithered aboard, and it has the ability to reach into your thoughts and make you see and feel what it wants. 

Alto, ridden with anxiety, is perhaps the least qualified person to go head to head with this thing, but if he can just get to the ship’s bridge he can reunite with the crew and give them a chance to call for help. But what he doesn’t know is that the unwelcome presence aboard the ship isn’t the only problem, and discovering the truth will bring Alto face to face with a horror beyond flesh and thought. 



By Jeff Vandermeer

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the world for decades, and for good reason.

The first exploration of the area reported an idyllic and Edenic landscape; but it all went downhill from there. The second expedition resulted in mass suicide, the third pinned members against each other until it ended in gunfire, and the members of the 11th expedition returned strangely unlike themselves, and all died of cancer within weeks. The members of the upcoming 12th expedition are expecting the unexpected, but are hopeful that their preparations will aid them. 

The members of this expedition are four capable women: an anthropologist, a surveyor, a psychologist, and de facto leader, and our narrator, a biologist. They are to map the terrain, record all observations of both their surroundings and one another, and most importantly, avoid becoming contaminated.

But all of that is only possible if they refrain from keeping secrets from each other, which proves to be much more difficult than fighting Area X itself…

Dreamcatcher: A Novel

Dreamcatcher: A Novel

By Stephen King

The defining moment of their boyhood in Derry, Maine, four young boys stood together and did a brave thing. A life-changing thing, in fact, even if they don’t fully understand it.

Twenty-five years later, they don’t talk at all except for their annual hunting trip in Maine’s north woods. But this year, a disoriented man stumbles into their camp, lost and muttering something about lights in the sky. 

Before long, these old friends will have to dig up the courage they found in their boyhood as they once again join forces to struggle with a horrifying creature from another world. The only way they stand a chance is locked in their past—and in the Dreamcatcher. 



By Octavia E. Butler

An alien story like no other, Dawn is one of the only books on our list that outlines the physiology, gender, sexuality, and society of the alien invaders in question. 

In it, we meet Lilith Iyapo, who had just lost her husband and son when atomic fire swallowed earth—the last stage of the planet’s final war.

Hundreds of years later, Lilith awakes, and finds herself within an Oankali spacecraft, as they arrive just in time to save humans from extinction. The Oankali kept the survivors asleep for centuries, giving them time to learn all they could about Earth; but now, Lilith is tasked with taking them back to her home planet, even though life on Earth will not be like anything it was before. 

The Oankali survive by genetically merging with primitive citizens–whether their new hosts consent to it or not. While some things about Earth will be just like it was, such as growing grass and a sunrise every morning, some will not. For example, their children will not be human.

Not completely, anyway.

Video Night: A Novel of Alien Horror

Video Night: A Novel of Alien Horror

By Adam Cesare

A terrifyingly fun choice for horror fans, Video Night is a contemporary story about an alien invasion…that also happens to disrupt Billy Rile’s routine.

Billy is smart, adept at Nintendo, and a huge horror fan. And for a while, life is good. He has a best friend, a killer Hi-Fi setup, and a weekly video night that he thoroughly enjoys. But that’s all about to change when an alien lifeform infects his town, a creature that overtakes and transforms its host. 

These aliens shape-shift, and could be anyone; the pizza delivery guy, a classmate, or the neighbors next door. But then Billy’s weekly movie night is disrupted by the otherworldly horror, and he and his best friend and their dates will have to recall all of their horror movie knowledge if they’re going to make it through video night alive. 

Bird Box: A Novel

Bird Box: A Novel

By Josh Malerman

A household name in horror fan homes, Josh Malerman’s Bird Box is a little more horrifying than the other alien horrors on our list. Something deadly lingers, something that mustn’t be seen because one glimpse will drive a person to fatal madness. No one knows what it is or where it came from. 

Five years after it arrived, few survivors remain, but Malorie and her two young children are determined to stay alive. They’ve been inhabiting an abandoned house by the river, but now her children are old enough that they may flee to somewhere safer–except the journey requires a 20-mile down-river ride, blindfolded.

Relying on her wits and her children’s trained ears, they make the journey; but something is following them, and they don’t know what it is.

Bent Heavens

Bent Heavens

By Daniel Kraus

Two years ago, Liv Flemmings’ father disappeared, not long after claiming to be abducted by aliens. Though Liv has long accepted that he’s dead, every Sunday she and her best friend Doug Monk check the traps her father left behind in the woods, to see if the “aliens” have been caught. 

But Liv is done with the absurdities. No more childhood fantasies, no more pretending she believes, no more simply going through the motions for Doug’s sake. But on the day she decides to destroy the traps, one of them has caught a creature so inhuman that the only explanation is that it’s an alien. Which means her father was right–and no one believed him. 

So she and Doug have a choice to make: turn the creature over to the authorities, or take matters into their own hands. 

Featured image: Danie Franco / Unsplash