Summer is the scariest season–you’ve got bugs, thunderstorms, heat waves, and a big fiery star in the sky that wants to burn all your skin off. Better to stay inside. This month, look out for a new Ellen Datlow anthology from Nightfire, as well as a new collection from Craig Laurance Gidney, Eric LaRocca’s new grotesque dark fantasy novella, Andrew Joseph White’s queer rage-filled debut, Sam J. Miller’s first short story collection, an anthology of fat-empowerment horror from Sonora Taylor & Nico Bell, and much more.
From Nightfire, don’t miss Ellen Datlow’s newest anthology, Screams From the Dark, 29 all-original stories of monsters, monstrosities, and monstrousness from authors including Gemma Files, Daryl Gregory, Priya Sharma, Indrapramit Das, Richard Kadrey, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Chikodili Emelumadu, Stephen Graham Jones, Livia Llewellyn, Brian Evenson, Nathan Ballingrud, Cassandra Khaw, Laird Barron, Kristi DeMeester, Jeffrey Ford, John Langan, and many more.
June’s new horror titles:
- The Wasp Child, Rhiannon Rasmussen (June 6): This sci-fi novella breathes new life into some of Kafka’s themes about capitalist society and identity by setting them on Meridian Colony, an alien planet where corporate values dictate human worth. Kesh is afraid. Afraid of his classmates, his abilities, and his prospects for the future. He longs to escape. Then, his classmates kidnap and dump him in the middle of the alien rainforest. Alone. Faced with certain death, Kesh locates the sansik, giant bugs native to the planet. Though the sansik seem to care for him at first, they set off a horrific metamorphosis in Kesh, and when they trade him back to Meridian, he becomes a living scientific curiosity. A bleak future of analysis without autonomy awaits him. Trapped between the grasp of Meridian’s laboratories and a harsh alien world, Kesh must escape to have any chance of finding his purpose—and place—in the world.
- Aurora, David Koepp (June 7): From the author of Cold Storage comes a riveting, eerily plausible thriller, told with the menace and flair of Under the Dome or Project Hail Mary, in which a worldwide cataclysm plays out in the lives of one complicated Midwestern family.
- For The Throne, Hannah Whitten (Jun 7): The breathtaking sequel to For The Wolf, the instant NYT and USA Today fantasy bestseller. Red’s sister Neve is trapped in a mysterious land of twisted roots, lost gods, and mountains made of bone, and the only clues to her rescue are a magic mirror and a dark prince who wants to bring the whole thing crumbling down.
- From Below, Darcy Coates (June 7): No light. No air. No escape. Hundreds of feet beneath the ocean’s surface, a graveyard waits… Years ago, the SS Arcadia vanished without a trace during a routine voyage. Sixty years later, its wreck has finally been discovered more than three hundred miles from its intended course. Cove and her dive team have been granted permission to explore the Arcadia’s rusting hull, but the Arcadia has not yet had its fill of death, and something dark and hungry watches from below.
- Hell Followed with Us, Andrew Joseph White (June 7): A furious debut novel from Andrew Joseph White about embracing the monster within and unleashing its power against your oppressors. Perfect for fans of Gideon the Ninth and Annihilation.
- Little Bird, Tiffany Meuret (June 7): The skeletons in the closet have nothing on the one in your backyard. Freshly divorced and grieving the death of her father, Josie Lauer has caged herself inside her home, drinking heavily. Everything changes when Josie wakes to find a small shrub has sprouted in her backyard the morning after yet another bender. Within hours, the vine-like plant is running amok—and it’s brought company: a busybody new neighbor who insists on thrusting herself into Josie’s life, and a talking skeleton called Skelly that has perched itself in Josie’s backyard on a throne made of vines. As the strangely sentient plant continues to grow and twist its tendrils inside Josie’s suddenly complicated life, Josie begins to realize there’s a reason Skelly has chosen to appear. She must figure out what that reason is, or else she might find herself on the wrong side of catastrophe.
- The Nectar of Nightmares, Craig Laurance Gidney (June 7): The stories in The Nectar of Nightmares weave and remix myths, legends, and identities. Ranging from retold folktales to diverse settings like the Harlem Renaissance and the contemporary drag ball scene to phantasmagoric secondary worlds, this is a horror collection for those who have descended so far into the deep, there’s nothing left to fear. There is.
- Never the Wind, Francesco Dimitri (June 7): A bittersweet gothic fantasy of family, friendship, memory, and the uncanny told from the perspective of a blind teenager in Puglia, Southern Italy, set in the same world as The Book of Hidden Things, perfect for readers of Neil Gaiman, Donna Tartt and Haruki Murakami.
- Ordinary Monsters, J.M. Miro (June 7): A stunning new work of historical fantasy, Ordinary Monsters introduces readers to the dark, labyrinthine world of the Talents. What follows is a story of wonder and betrayal, from the gaslit streets of London, and the wooden theatres of Meiji-era Tokyo, to an eerie estate outside Edinburgh where other children with gifts – the Talents – have been gathered. There, the world of the dead and the world of the living threaten to collide. And as secrets within the Institute unfurl, Marlowe, Charlie and the rest of the Talents will discover the truth about their abilities, and the nature of what is stalking them: that the worst monsters sometimes come bearing the sweetest gifts.
- Screams From the Dark: Tales of Monsters and the Monstrous, ed. Ellen Datlow (June 7): A chilling anthology featuring 29 all-original tales of monsters from bestselling and award-winning authors, edited by Ellen Datlow, one of the top editors in horror, and featuring stories from authors like Stephen Graham Jones, Richard Kadrey, Cassandra Khaw, Gemma Files, and more. (A Nightfire title)
- Blood Mountain, Brenda S. Tolian (June 8): In this mosaic of Southwestern Gothic Horror, a primordial goddess awakens deep within the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The mountain hungers for revenge as invaders leave her emaciated with their greed and brutality. She cries out for blood, infusing the minds of those who do not belong—twisting them outwardly into the dark forms of their true intentions.
- Boys, Beasts, & Men, Sam J. Miller (June 14): Queer infatuation, inevitable heartbreak, and satisfying revenge seamlessly intertwine in Sam J. Miller (Blackfish City, The Art of Starving)’s long-awaited debut short story collection. Whether innocent, guilty, or not even human, the beings in Miller’s gorgeously-crafted worlds can destroy you—yet leave you longing for them even more.
- The Hangman Feeds the Jackal: A Gothic Western, Coy Hall (June 14): Elijah Valero is a gunfighter afflicted with terrifying hallucinations, including a pervasive one of The Hangman out to kill him. Dogged by the relentless specter of the Hangman, Valero mistakenly kills innocent victims and is forced to hide in an abandoned monastery for his own safety and for that of others. Once there, he encounters far greater dangers than the imaginary Hangman, and gains a bid for redemption as he faces down some silver-hungry drifters out to terrorize a town for its riches.
- Diet Riot: A Fatterpunk Anthology, ed. Sonora Taylor & Nico Bell (June 21): It’s time to reclaim the “f” word. Diet Riot is dedicated to empowering fat characters within the horror community. Fat people are often degraded in literature, especially in horror. It’s disheartening to see someone’s natural body be portrayed as disgusting and inherently bad. We aim to give that trope the heartiest “fuck you” that our big selves can muster.
- The House Across the Lake, Riley Sager (June 21): The New York Times-bestselling author of Final Girls and Survive the Night returns with a new novel of suspense, a tale of voyeurism and suspicion that morphs into a story of guilt, obsession and how looks can be very deceiving.
- Juniper & Thorn, Ava Reid (June 21): From highly acclaimed bestselling author Ava Reid comes a gothic horror retelling of The Juniper Tree, set in another time and place within the world of The Wolf and the Woodsman, where a young witch seeks to discover her identity and escape the domination of her abusive wizard father, perfect for fans of Shirley Jackson and Catherynne M. Valente.
- Not Good for Maidens, Tori Bovalino (June 21): ‘Salem’s Lot meets The Darkest Part of the Forest in this horror-fantasy retelling of Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market.” They’ll lure you in with fruit and gems and liquor and dancing, merriment to remember for the rest of your life. But that’s an illusion. The market is death itself.
- This Wicked Fate, Kalynn Bayron (June 21): How much would you risk to save the ones you love? Would you tempt even the most dangerous fate? Bestselling author Kalynn Bayron continues the story of Briseis and her family’s deadly magic in the sequel to This Poison Heart.
- We Can Never Leave This Place, Eric LaRocca (June 24): A precocious young girl with an unusual imagination is sent on an odyssey into the depths of depravity. After her father dies violently, young Mara is surprised to find her mother welcoming a new guest into their home, claiming that he will protect them from the world of devastation and destruction outside their door. A grotesque and thrilling dark fantasy, We Can Never Leave This Place is a harrowing portrait of inherited grief and familial trauma.
- The Clackity, Lora Senf (June 28): Reminiscent of Doll Bones, this deliciously eerie middle grade novel tells the story of a girl who must enter a world of ghosts, witches, and monsters to play a game with deadly consequences and rescue her aunt.
- The Hideous Book of Hidden Horrors, ed. Doug Murano (Jun 28): The horror is closer than you think. From Bram Stoker Award-winning editor Doug Murano and today’s biggest names in dark fiction comes a new vision of terror. It’s lurking under the surface. It’s waiting around every corner. It’s hiding under your bed. it’s buried in the backyard. It’s whispered, implied, unspoken. This is The Hideous Book of Hidden Horrors.
- Katzenjammer, Francesca Zappia (June 28): Told in chapters alternating between the past and the present, Francesca Zappia weaves a spine-tingling, suspenseful, and haunting YA story about tragedy and the power of memories.
- Our Crooked Hearts, Melissa Albert (June 28): Secrets. Lies. Super-bad choices. Witchcraft. This is Our Crooked Hearts, a darkly gripping contemporary YA fantasy from Melissa Albert, the New York Times bestselling author of The Hazel Wood.
- The Path of Thorns, A.G. Slatter (June 28): A gorgeous dark gothic fairy tale from award-winning author Angela Slatter, sure to delight readers of Naomi Novik and Erin Morgenstern.
- Patricia Wants to Cuddle, Samantha Allen (June 28): Both a queer horror comedy that careens toward a last-girl-standing conclusion and a scathing indictment of contemporary American media culture, Patricia Wants to Cuddle is also a love story: between star-crossed lesbians who rise above their intolerant town, a deeply ambivalent woman and her budding self-actualization, and a group of misfit islanders forging community against all odds.
As always, if we missed anything, let us know in the comments!