It’s a magical thing when a genre that has, for years, seemingly experienced a drop in popularity finally comes around and becomes an exciting new space with countless new writers joining in to write and deliver truly revolutionary and remarkable stuff. Horror is having more than a moment. It’s been here for a minute and it’s not going anywhere. Many of the freshest and most fascinating titles are coming from LGBTQ+ authors taking all the usual tropes, turning them inside out, and making it their own.
We gathered some of the most revolutionary titles diversifying horror written by queer writers commanding worlds entirely their own.
No Gods for Drowning
When Piper won a Stoker for best first novel for Queen of Teeth, veteran readers of all-things horror unanimously called it a true win for the genre. Her latest, out in September, continues her masterful journey through the heights of modern horror. No Gods for Drowning tells the tale of Valentine, a city terrorized by a serial killer and the incoming menace of all-powerful ancient gods. The narrative twists and contorts around the hunt of the killer by two detectives and that of Lilac Antonis, who believes summoning her mother may help save the city before the floods—and the monsters—arrive to tear it apart. This novel looks to be an absolute page-turner, dripping with vivid worldbuilding and hefty ideas.
Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke
The indie lit sensation that took TikTok by storm, Eric LaRocca’s Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke is a must-read for anyone even remotely interested in the genre. The book is unrelenting in its depiction of obsession and infatuation, forcing the reader to surrender to the back and forth of emails and messages between two strangers as they begin to trust each other, giving into each other’s emotions, until things continue to worsen. LaRocca has managed to write something darker and more intensely layered than even Dennis Cooper’s The Sluts and that says a lot.
The All-Consuming World
Khaw wowed readers with their book, Nothing But Blackened Teeth, but it’s also worth noting that she has another masterpiece on the ready, just waiting for you to read it. The All-Consuming World demonstrates their incredible range as a writer. Using densely layered world building, Khaw brings us into a gritty world of anger and resentment, misfits and heists. At the center of the narrative are a group of misfit criminals that host a reunion to reminisce and relive their last mission which ended in tragedy. In doing so, they return to the setting, a planet that ruined their lives. The All-Consuming World is fearless in its willingness to be itself, no matter how much the reader might be put off by the world it crafts.
Flowers for the Sea
Rocklyn wrecks you with an enchantingly dark tale of a pregnant 16-year-old cast out to sea. Iraxi is all alone on a boat, forced to tend to all the lonesome terrors by herself. In so few words, the story blossoms into a powerful story about an equally powerful young woman. Readers will orbit questions surrounding her past, the reason for being cast out to sea, and of the unwanted pregnancy and the child (or is it?) that is on the brink of being born. The highly cerebral prose captures these pressures so wonderfully, and causes the reader to feel the terrors of motherhood and of isolation. So good you’ll read it in one sitting.
Hell Followed with Us
Time for some truly unique body horror. Andrew Joseph White’s Hell Followed with Us is about a group of queer kids living in a cruel, dead world that wants them dead. Readers get to meet a 16-year-old trans boy named Benji as he is fleeing desperately from the cult that kept him grounded and miserable. It’s no ordinary cult, either, responsible for quite literally causing Armageddon. It doesn’t help that Benji happens to be carrying a bioweapon highly precious to the cult. When he joins the group of queer kids, Benji is forced to contend with the fact that he is infected and will eventually turn into a monster that’ll finish off the rest of earth. Get ready for some truly heartrending horror!
Cradleland of Parasites
Tantlinger has been kicking ass for a while now, and in this inventive collection of historical horror, she offers poetry that’ll peel back your skin and force you to reevaluate how you see yourself and the world. The poetry is in many ways epic, focusing on the universe and all its darkness. Here, Tantlinger examines one of humanity’s grotesque tragedies, the Black Plague. She paints truly remarkable images of entrails and disease, pestilence and despair, with ease. It’s a collection that changes the way you view the past and poetry as a form.
I’m a sucker when it comes to anything paranormal. Haunted houses? Bring it on. Ghosts in desolate crumbling mansions? I’m there. So when Briana Morgan published Unboxed, I knew I had to bump it up to the top of my to-read pile.
The novel is told by way of a paranormal vlogger named Greg Zipper, who is conveniently obsessed with visibility and validation through social media. After an unfortunate quarrel with his girlfriend goes viral, he is desperate to wipe clean peoples memories by hitting a million subscribers. How? He traces the rumor of boxes bought off the dark web that can draw crowds if you unbox them. Naturally, these things exist and they act like a genie in a lamp, where the wish comes with its own horrors.
What happens to someone when they are passed over by time? Lucy and her roommate, Bee, know the truth behind some of history’s heroes. Both have known the true terrors of the evils of Edward Rochester and Dracula, and they wear their experiences like a curse, keeping a routine that ensures that they can overcome their traumatic past. Kiste crafts a plot and a tale that wins you over with both Lucy and Bee’s friendship full of its terrors and hardship. Kiste has been developing unique gothic horror for a while now, and with Reluctant Immortals we see her add another vial to her toolbox of enchanting terrors.