Furry Writers' Guild Forum

Looking for Horror and Dark Fantasy Novel Recommendations

I have two concepts that are currently at the end of a very long pipeline. One is a ghost story and the other is a dark fantasy. The last horror I read was The Shining (I think) and that was years ago. I read a bunch of Shirley Jackson in middle school including The Haunting, but I really want to read more examples like The Haunting rather than The Shining. I do not care if the example is cliched as many movies about ghosts have become so long as it is a good example.

I am also looking for a dark fantasy novel with a setting akin to the Demons/Dark Souls games’ setting. Kind of a fantasy post-apocalypse where there isn’t a whole lot in the way of “humanity” left and the only redeeming factors are the very few characters who still survive with a spark of hope (and not overwhelmed with “evil” intentions). So the adventure is more of survival and necessity than a journey for knowledge, riches, and fame.

Hope some of you have some good recommendations. About to finish The Name of the Wind and want something different for my next book.

Off the top of my head, the Dark Tower’s what you’re looking for, though you probably already read that. Dark fantasy/horror by Stephen King.

If you’re willing to compromise a bit, Dark Souls itself was based upon Berserk, a manga by Kentaro Miura. I’d suggest it, though be warned that it’s extremely graphic, extremely dark and most definitely NSFW.

‘Heart Shaped Box’ by Joe Hill (Stephan King’s son) is a chilling ghost story that was really well done. Much like his father, Hill does a very nice character driven story, but unlike his father, he’s a better writer. (King is a good story teller, but less of a writer) I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a ghost story.

I actually thought of Dark Tower as I was writing the post and I have the first book floating around somewhere, but I am trying to avoid the long multi-part series and look for one off works (or even one offs that occur in that same universe). I am familiar with Berserk, I watch the original OVA back in the day, the only problem with turning to a manga, like film, is as a visual medium most of the words are limited to dialogue and exposition. I want to see how a writer can create that mystery and wonder of a decaying fantasy world with words alone.

I will certainly look into that, but I am more after that haunted house sort of cliched story: outsiders move into the old house and start uncovering secrets (and ghosts) as they re-purpose the house to suit their needs. Like The Haunting, The Innkeepers, Woman in Black, The Orphanage, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark… to some extent the disembodied hands of Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast.

Heart Shaped Box is more a person being haunted than a place, but it’s worth checking out.

Does anyone read H. P. Lovecraft for horror any more, or just for laughs? It’s like the “Dracula” movie with Bela Lugosi; what used to be good for chills is considered high camp today. The original “Dracula” novel by Bram Stoker is still worth reading for horror.

This isn’t horror, but the only times that I’ve really felt like committing suicide was after reading a novel by Mark S. Geston – his “Lords of the Starship” and “Out of the Mouth of the Dragon” in particular. Frankly, I stopped reading Geston after those two books; I couldn’t take him. Talk about depressing!

Specifically ghost stories with old houses, there’s “Hell House” by Richard Matheson. It’s cited as similar to The Haunting. I tried to read both and found them too slow and dull for my tastes, but it seemed to have the same vibe, right down to paranormal investigators.

Bentley Little’s “The House” fits the bill also. The ending is too happy, but it’s at least an interesting application.

“14” by Peter Clines is lovecraftian horror, not a ghost story. However it is very much about people discovering the mysteries of their apartment building.

There’s of course “The Mammoth Book of Haunted House stories” but those are short stories, so they likely don’t have the depth you’re looking for.

Finally, a movie suggestion: Sinister. It’s not strictly a ghost story, but it’s close enough I think it’s worth a watch; the way the house plays a role is interesting, at least.

Some of the books I came across are the books of Edward Plunkett, Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, Wolfe’s Shadow of the Torturer, House of the Borderland, Dying of the Light, Daughter of the Blood.

For ghosts: Turn of the Screw, We Have Always Loved in the Castle, The Seance, A Dark Dividing, This House is Haunted.

I came across Hell House in my search, but I originally ignored it because it made me think of House of the Devil, which wasn’t about ghosts. So I will look into it.

For now I’m thinking I’ll check out Turn of the Screw and Borderland.

Mentioning Lev Grossman’s “House of the Borderland” has reminded me of William Hope Hodgson’s “The House on the Borderland”, which of course has reminded me of Hodgson’s “Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder”; a classic collection of haunted house stories if there ever was one.

It may not be what you’re looking for, though. Thomas Carnacki is a psychic detective who investigates haunted houses. In about half the stories he finds the ghosts are genuine; in half they’re hoaxes. The question is, which will each one be.

Haven’t read this yet myself, but http://www.amazon.com/Journal-Plague-Year-Omnibus-Post-Apocalyptic/dp/1781082464 might cover yr dark fantasy post-apocalypse requirements - and has a story by One Of Us, Malcolm ‘foozzzball’ Cross.