Pride Month is nearly over, but that doesn’t mean the celebration of LGBTQ+ books needs to end! In fact, we need to be putting the spotlight on queer books year-round, in particular in a time when book bans are more common than ever before, especially for queer authors. So for your reading pleasure, here are five recent queer horror books from the past year that belong on your bookshelf.
This fantastic novella by the multi-award-nominated J.A.W. McCarthy is one wild ride. A band of succubi travels across the country, playing gigs in grimy bars and surreptitiously feeding off the unsuspecting locals. The de facto den mother of the group, Ronnie is the one always working the merch table, and she’s gotten accustomed to the monotony of the road. That is until she meets Helene.
Soon, the band is on the run, doing their best to escape a dangerous disease that only affects their own kind, and Ronnie finds herself continuously drawn closer to Helene. With Ronnie and Helen’s complicated queer relationship at its heart, Sleep Alone is highly recommended during Pride Month as well as any other month on the calendar.
It Came from the Closet: Queer Reflections on Horror
This anthology of nonfiction essays about the horror genre is one of a kind and absolutely worth a place on your reading list. With musings on films including Halloween, Eyes Without a Face, Dead Ringers, Sleepaway Camp, and more, an illustrious group of queer authors turns the spotlight on the rich history and LGBTQ+ subtext of the genre.
Reading this book will remind you once again that we don’t have nearly enough nonfiction books that highlight the queer history of horror, which of course only makes It Came from the Closet that much more vital. Pick up a copy of this book today, and enjoy its clever, heartfelt, and always horrifying essays.
A biracial, queer, nonbinary retelling of Frankenstein, Unwieldy Creatures is a novel that should be on your TBR pile right now. Without a doubt, this is among the most innovative retellings I’ve ever read, and as a big fan of retellings, I’ve read a lot. That’s how truly unique and unforgettable this book is.
With a gender-swapped scientist at its heart, and a quest to create a child with neither sperm nor egg, Unwieldy Creatures simultaneously manages to pay beautiful homage to Mary Shelley’s original novel while also exploring a modern world of scientific and moral questions—all while spotlighting an incredible cast of queer characters. The end result is a powerful tale and one that shouldn’t be missed.
Our Wives Under the Sea
In this beautifully strange novel, Miri’s wife Leah at last returns from a deep-sea mission, and with her beloved back at her side, Miri is sure that everything will be better now. Except there’s one thing Miri didn’t count on: something else returns with Leah, something sinister that’s come out of the ocean, and it threatens everything that Miri has held dear about her relationship with her wife.
This exceptional debut novel from author Julia Armfield is literary horror at its very best. A finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, Our Wives Under the Sea is at once deeply unsettling as well as utterly heartbreaking—and a perfect example of why queer horror books are some of the very best reading in the horror genre right now.
And let’s finish this list of fabulous queer books with one that hasn’t quite yet made its debut. Lavender Speculation is Jamie Zaccaria’s forthcoming collection from Wildling Press, and what a marvelous collection it is. The locales of this book are far-ranging—from familiar American landscapes to worlds far beyond our own. The horror too is surprising and eclectic with everything from witches to the weird to the domain of fairy tales.
But at its heart, these tales focus on the experiences of queer women and how they deserve to have their space in the horror genre and in the world itself. Be sure to pick up a copy of Lavender Speculation as soon as it’s released in October, because this is a queer horror collection you won’t want to miss it.
Note: This book will be available for pre-order soon! Check out the publisher's page for more info.