Although the horror genre has a decidedly volatile history when it comes to including marginalized voices, it’s obvious that such standards are now being upturned in favor of a more inclusive community of authors. In fact, the genre seems to have been revitalized by countless up-and-coming voices from marginalized communities.
Readers in search of diversity have a wealth of offerings to choose from with compelling fiction being written by shining talents like Gabino Iglesias, V. Castro, and Johnny Compton to name only a mere few. However, it’s an especially exciting era for Queer Horror with so many richly textured and dynamic voices taking control of the genre’s traditionally heterosexual and cisgender narrative.
The following authors are the writers I consistently look to for inspiration when I find myself consumed with self-doubt or incapable of writing the next sentence. Not only are they supremely talented fantasists, but they each craft deeply intimate and compelling portrayals of the queer experience.
Moreover, their stories convey to readers that queerness is not a monolithic experience. We are complex creatures and, therefore, we are capable of containing multitudes. These writers are shaping the future of Queer Horror with scythes raised high—slashing away at the traditional and the commonplace, guiding us further and further ahead toward the dark.
Queen of Teeth
Of course, many readers are most likely already familiar with Piper’s impressively prolific catalog of fiction. The author of several novellas (Your Mind is a Terrible Thing, The Worm and His Kings) and most recently, a highly-praised novel (No Gods for Drowning), Piper is most likely best known for her Bram Stoker Award-winning novel, Queen of Teeth. Lauded by Rue Morgue as one of the Best Horror Novels of 2021, Queen of Teeth chronicles a young woman’s grotesque transformation after she discovers teeth between her thighs.
While Piper’s writing is tremendously absorbing in all her published works, Queen of Teeth is an especially compelling novel with its visceral and disturbing elements of body horror. Hailey Piper remains positioned at the forefront of the horror genre, crafting bold and powerful fiction.
Gretchen Felker-Martin’s Manhunt was unquestionably one of the most bombastic and startling releases we saw in 2022, especially from a larger publishing imprint like Tor Nightfire. Felker-Martin’s shocking Grand Guignol post-apocalyptic nightmare continues to endure in my mind as one of the most seminal and courageous works of fiction I’ve ever encountered.
Set on the desolated New England coast, Manhunt chronicles the plight of Beth and Fran—two trans women who are desperate to survive a cruel, unforgiving landscape fraught with feral men and other perilous hazards. As always, Felker-Martin’s prose is witty, corrosive, and sharp. Fans of Manhunt will be delighted to know that Felker-Martin’s next release, Cuckoo, will be released by Tor Nightfire in 2024.
Tell Me I'm Worthless
Alison Rumfitt will undoubtedly be known by many more readers in 2023 and on with the Tor Nightfire release of her debut novel, Tell Me I’m Worthless. A bleak and haunting meditation on the trans experience, Tell Me I’m Worthless is one of the most uniquely devastating books I’ve encountered in quite some time. Rumfitt’s work is aggressive, challenging, and always decidedly dark.
Fans of her debut will be pleased to know that Rumfitt is looking forward to the October 2023 release of her second novel, Brainwyrms. I had the honor of reading an advance copy and it’s one of the most revolting books I’ve ever read. I say that with the utmost admiration and love for Rumfitt’s exceptional work.
David Demchuk stands out on this list as one of the most captivating and compelling writers of our time. Demchuk rose to notoriety with the 2017 release of his debut novel, The Bone Mother—a deeply intimate collection of interconnected short stories of Slavic origins that will capture the imaginations of even the most temperamental of readers.
His second novel, Red X, is equally brilliant and chronicles the disturbing disappearances of several men from Toronto’s gay village. Demchuk’s work is poignant, intimate, and profoundly intense. He remains one of the few authors I find myself tongue-tied around because I’m truly in awe of the enormity of his talent.
Paul D. Ashe
We Are Here to Hurt Each Other
Paula D. Ashe is undoubtedly one of the most exciting and original new voices of transgressive horror fiction to appear on the scene in quite some time. It feels as if Ashe crash-landed out of nowhere when her debut collection, We Are Here to Hurt Each Other, was released in 2022 from Nictitating Books.
Featuring some of the most unnerving body horror and brutality I’ve encountered in a debut, We Are Here to Hurt Each Other, is an exemplary collection of interconnected tales and has since been nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Fiction Collection. Ashe is unmistakably one of many up-and-coming queer writers who are eager to disturb and terrify you.