Hey Kids! Happy Halloween! We hope you’re all enjoying being spooky, and following the correct instructions with whatever rituals you may be performing on this dark and blessed night.
Novella November starts tomorrow here on Happy Goat Horror, so we thought we’d start you off with some suggestions.
If you’re like me and prefer to enjoy a complete story in one sitting, novellas are perfect. For you, I have compiled a list of some of my favourites, to keep you company and spook you as we head into the darkest season.
For the sake of this list, I’ve chosen books that are around 100 pages or less. There are conflicting opinions about what actually constitutes a novella, so this list is for the books you can sit down and enjoy within a couple of hours or so. There are many other wonderful shorter novels I would have loved to include, but you’ll see those in a different list in the near future.
In no particular order, I present to you…
Skinwrapper – by Stephen Kozeniewski
This splatterpunk sci-fi space horror is a prequel to Kozeniewski’s novel, The Hematophages, but can be read as a standalone. It’s a perfectly normal day for our protagonist until her ship is boarded by a band of skinless, murderous space pirates. It’s tense, fun, violent, and scary. Need I say more?
The Vampyre – by John Polidori
The first vampire story (well, vampires as we now know them). It inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula, and presented the kind of vampire that we still know and love to this day. Polidori is to the vampire what Romero is to the zombie.
Fun little fact: Polidori was (in the literary world) a nobody, and this story was probably only circulated widely enough to gain its fame and popularity because his name wasn’t on the cover. Lord Byron – a celebrity of the time – was incorrectly credited with writing The Vampyre, and it was his name that was printed on the cover for several years before the error was corrected, and the rightful author named.
The Company of Words – by J. R. Park
Andrew is manning the security hut late at night. A storm’s a brewing, both externally and internally. Something…. is f***y. Great, tense, mysterious story, and an interesting and entertaining narrative structure. This is definitely one for a rainy night, in a cosy chair, preferably facing a window so you can occassionally stare out into the dark. Just pray that something isn’t staring back at you…
Metamorphosis – by Franz Kafka
Hey, do you know what you need? A creepy and somewhat confusing Czech story about a guy who turns into a huge insect. Is it a metaphor, an allegory… symbolism? Is the dude still human, but not very well? It’s for you to decide. However you take this story, I’m pretty confident that you’ll enjoy it.
Ketchup on Everything – by Nathan Robinson
This is a horrifying and emotional story about loss and regret. It strikes a fine balance between horror and heartbreak, and I can’t tell you anything else because if I reveal the subgenre, it’ll spoil it. Just trust me – it’s great.
Sour Candy – by Kealan Patrick Burke
Okay, now I don’t want to sound too opinionated here but if you haven’t read this, then what have you been doing with your entire life? This is so creepy, so intriguing, so anxiety-inducing… it’s glorious. A guy pops out to the shops one day. When he leaves the house, he has a loving partner and a childfree life. But when he returns, everything is different, his partner is not only NOT his partner, but doesn’t have any memory of their relationship and.. oh what’s this? Who the f*** is this kid living with him?! Reminds me of an episode of Tales from the Darkside.
A Small Thing for Yolanda – by Jan Edwards
Once again, I don’t want to reveal the subgenre because it’s a spoiler. It’s a well-written, interesting, noir-horror, with a revelation that – believe me – you will not see coming. It’s a real gem of a book.
Carmilla – by Sheridan Le Fanu
Some people view this as a story of love, some think it’s about the pitfalls of lust, and many view it as a tale about the perils of being manipulated by someone captivating, who then wants to prey on you. Regardless of how this reads to you, it’s much MUCH more than just “that lesbian vampire story” – a gross oversimplification and objectifying way of viewing a story about the last great, complex female vampire character for literal decades after this came out.
The Last Bus – by Paul M. Feeney
Hey, do you guys like apocalyptic madness and survival stories, but don’t feel like reading an epic tome? Then I recommend this bite-size end of world tale – it’s tense and fast-paced and super creepy.
Dear Laura – by Gemma Amor
Gemma Amor came out of the gate swinging with this debut. Rarely do I read something that packs so much of a punch. It’s the story of a girl whose best friend is kidnapped, and then each year on her birthday she receives a disturbing letter from the guy who claims to be responsible. It’s creepy as hell, emotional, and really well-written.
I hope you found something on this list that interests you! I’ve got to be off now… I have a Halloween date with Skully McBonehead here (we’re reading as many novellas as possible)!
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