November 27, 2022

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10 of the best sci-fi horror books

6 min read

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Science fiction and horror: two great tastes that taste great together! Genre mashups are a blast. (Not a “pew-pew” blast, but a “rolling good times” blast.) And there are so many great subgenres: dystopian fiction, medical experiments, robots, space travel, aliens. Sometimes a few of these things at once. There are so many great books to choose from. That’s why we’re spotlighting some of the best sci-fi horror books of the last two years. So you’re about to read about alien robots in space conducting medical experiments or something similar that makes your brain happy. We got you boo

Scary creatures, spaceship massacre, natural disasters – these are just some of the scary events you will find in this list. And as always happens when I write these posts, I have a perfect title to recommend, but it’s not out yet. Curses! So I’m going to shout it out here for you to put on your TBR: The Scourge Between Stars by Ness Brown out April 4, 2023 to read when it becomes available. And The Deep Sky by Yume Kitasei, out July 18, 2023! I also loved this novel and it is also a thriller on board a spaceship. But enough about upcoming books. Let’s get weird and scary with books you can get now!

Full immersion by Gemma Amor

These three things bother you: 1. Being dead. 2. Find a corpse. 3. Not remembering anything. Now imagine if they were all performing at the same time. This is what happens with Magpie. She finds a body by the river and it’s her. How is that possible? She doesn’t know because she can’t remember what happened or how she got there. She also does not realize that she is being monitored as part of an experiment.

Cover of Dead Silence by SA Barnes, featuring an image of a gloved space suit hand pressed against the inside of a portal window

Dead Silence by SA Barnes

This is one of the best sci-fi space horror books to come out in recent times. It’s a bit like Event Horizon meets Avenue Five. The crew of Claire Kovalik’s salvage ship is about to complete their final mission when they meet Paydir: find the Aurora. The Aurora was a luxury cruise ship that disappeared two decades ago. Now it’s floating on the outer edge of explored space. Claire decides to check out the ship because the money they can get from a famous ship might solve their problems. But even though the ship has been missing for 20 years, the horrors that happened on board are still alive.

cover of Leech by Hiron Ennes;  Image of a glass bottle full of black smoke forming a castle

Leech by Hiron Ennes

So this is one of those books, the less you know the better. It’s gothic horror, but it’s also called science fiction. What? Yes. But to explain why that is would spoil the story. Let’s just say it’s a horror novel set in an abandoned castle involving doctors, a medical institute and a very unusual narrator. Oh, and it’s weird and gross AF, and you should read it now.

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Cover of Aurora by David Koepp;  Image of a tube in the dark under a sky full of stars

Aurora by David Koepp

Koepp’s last book, Cold Storage, was a body-counted biohazard horror novel about a deadly alien species that escapes from a military facility. This time he’s using reality to scare us. A huge solar flare could destroy our access to technology and electricity on the plane, and that’s exactly what’s happening in Aurora. In the world that follows such an incident, Aubrey Wheeler must protect her neighborhood from the very real violence that will ensue in the new dystopian reality. All the while trying to keep her ex-husband and criminals away from her home.

cover of We Have Always Been Here by Lena Nguyen;  Illustration of rock formations on an alien planet with a huge moon in the sky

We’ve Always Been Here by Lena Nguyen

Like many of the best science fiction novels, this one begins with space exploration. The Deucalion has left Earth to investigate a possible habitable planet. dr Grace Park is the ship’s assistant psychologist. She is usually there to observe, since a doctor is already taking care of the crew. But then things go very, very wrong. Grace must try to manage the meetings of an increasingly unpredictable crew. Meanwhile, the ship’s AI is also getting weirder and Grace discovers that there may be something hidden in the ship’s bowels that is causing all the problems.

Cover of The Void Ascendant by Premee Mohamed;  Black and white swirl

The empty ascendant of Premee Mohamed

This is one of two sequels I’d like to highlight on this list because the whole series is so damn good. In order not to spoil the first two books, I’ll give you a brief overview of the Beneath the Rising series. As they try to invent technology that will help the planet, humans instead create a device that will awaken the ancients who are not happy about being disturbed. At all. Now the human race must find a way to survive an entirely new thing they didn’t know existed. It all ends spectacularly in The Void Ascendant!

Covering your mind is a terrible thing;  Illustration of an outline of a person standing in front of a giant brain with tentacles

Your Mind is a Terrible Thing by Hailey Piper

First I want to say how much I love this title. There is an expression, “The mind is a terrible thing to waste.” And the Ministry album The Mind Is a Terrible Thing To Taste. (Omg I’m so old.) But this gets straight to the point: thoughts are terrible. Gosh, brain problems are sometimes. And in this spaceship horror novel, they’re going to cause a lot of trouble for humans when aliens figure out how to hack them like computers and turn humans into their puppets.

Cover of Elder Race by Adrian Tchaikovsky;  Illustration of the extraterrestrial habitat of a sunny planet

Elder Race by Adrian Tchaikovsky

More space horror! It’s the future and a demon is terrorizing a distant planet. The fourth daughter of the planet queen wants to try to save the people of the planet since the rest of her family doesn’t seem to want that. She might not be able to do it on her own, so she turns to the anthropologist from an Earth mission who has been in a deep sleep for several years awaiting new instructions. But demons were definitely not in the job description. It’s a bit of ancient horror, a little fairy tale, and a whole lot of fun.

Cover of The Legacy of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson;  Photo of a young black woman in profile, with a young white woman in the background

The Legacy of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson

That’s the other series I wanted to mention because it’s so scary and gory and such a great time. The Molly Southbourne series begins with a young girl who has big problems. If Molly ever spills a drop of blood, that blood will turn into a new version of her – and attempt to murder her. As you can imagine, it’s hard to go through life without ever getting a scratch or a bloody nose, and Molly has to kill MANY versions of herself. But why is she like this? where did she come from And what will happen when she gets the answers? Find out in this amazing ending, after reading the first two of course! And for a great space kill, read Thompson’s latest book, Far from the Light of Heaven.

Cover of Dead Space by Kali Wallace;  Up close image of an astronaut surrounded by a teal honeycomb pattern against a black background

Dead Space by Kali Wallace

And last but not least, an exciting story about a murder on a space station! The room suddenly feels a lot smaller when you’re sharing it with a killer. Hester Marley has a boring job as a security guard for a space company. Injuries sustained in a terrorist attack years ago shattered her dreams of space travel. Then she hears from an old friend who has new information about the attack. But before they can share it, he is murdered. Now Hester must figure out what he uncovered and who to trust.

Special credit to my friend Emily Hughes, who is an expert on all things spooky and was happy to chat with me about spooky sci-fi stories while I was making this post. And for more great reading, check out 9 Sci-Fi Horror Books That Will Challenge And Scare You, 20 Best Genre-Blending Horror Novels, and 20 Best Sci-Fi Books Of All Time.

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