Friday, January 4, 2019

Sci-Fi Horror by Women

I love sci-fi horror. Who doesn’t? However, it is ridiculously hard to find.  Of those that I did find – a very few happened to be written by women. I had been hoping to give you a list, but kind of despaired as I was stuck at a measily three. Luckily, Emily came through with a couple as well.  We figured we’d shout them out for you so you don’t have to look as hard as we did!

I guess we can’t even begin this list with anything other than Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Considering how many and how much people will argue about whether it is science fiction or horror, it’s the very definition of the genre, isn’t it?  However, Toni has already covered it in an earlier post, so I’m going move right on to other sci-fi horror books written by women.

The book cover for Parasite, the first book in the Parasitology series, by Mira Grant. An image of a red-backed pill packet with blue pills form the cover.

Parasitology series by Mira Grant – I’ve read two of the three books in this trilogy. I picked it up because I loved Grant’s Newsflesh series. While I didn’t like what I read quite as much as I liked the Newsflesh  trilogy, I still enjoyed it.  Here’s the synopsis for the first book:

“A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.

We owe our good health to a humble parasite – a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the tapeworm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system – even secretes designer drugs. It’s been successful beyond the scientists’ wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.

But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives…and will do anything to get them.

Parasite – Mira Grant
Book cover for Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. An artist's image of a chracter's face looking up into the sky, wearing steampunk goggles accounts for most of the cover.

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest – I’m in the process of reading this one right now. The cover put me off for a long time because while I’m a fan of Steampunk fashion, I’m not a fan of the sub-genre. What I’ve read so far seems decent.

In the early days of the Civil War, rumors of gold in the frozen Klondike brought hordes of newcomers to the Pacific Northwest. Anxious to compete, Russian prospectors commissioned inventor Leviticus Blue to create a great machine that could mine through Alaska’s ice. Thus was Dr. Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine born.

But on its first test run the Boneshaker went terribly awry, destroying several blocks of downtown Seattle and unearthing a subterranean vein of blight gas that turned anyone who breathed it into the living dead.

Now it is sixteen years later, and a wall has been built to enclose the devastated and toxic city. Just beyond it lives Blue’s widow, Briar Wilkes. Life is hard with a ruined reputation and a teenaged boy to support, but she and Ezekiel are managing. Until Ezekiel undertakes a secret crusade to rewrite history.

His quest will take him under the wall and into a city teeming with ravenous undead, air pirates, criminal overlords, and heavily armed refugees. And only Briar can bring him out alive.

Boneshaker – Cherie Priest
Book cover for Agents of Dreamland. A small lit-up farm house is at the bottom of the cover, and the rest is a murky image of the night sky with clouds of something billowing from the farmhouse windows.

Agents of Dreamland – Caitlin R. Kiernan – Ehm, okay, to be honest, I didn’t care for this book at all. However,  different strokes for different folks and all that. Just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean you won’t.

A government special agent known only as the Signalman gets off a train on a stunningly hot morning in Winslow, Arizona. Later that day he meets a woman in a diner to exchange information about an event that happened a week earlier for which neither has an explanation, but which haunts the Signalman.

In a ranch house near the shore of the Salton Sea a cult leader gathers up the weak and susceptible—the Children of the Next Level—and offers them something to believe in and a chance for transcendence. The future is coming and they will help to usher it in.

A day after the events at the ranch house which disturbed the Signalman so deeply that he and his government sought out help from ‘other’ sources, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory abruptly loses contact with NASA’s interplanetary probe New Horizons. Something out beyond the orbit of Pluto has made contact.

And a woman floating outside of time looks to the future and the past for answers to what can save humanity.

Book cover for Fright into Flight. A female warrior on a horse amongst the clouds forms the majority of the book cover.

Cargo by Desirina Boskovich (found in: Fright into Flight) – This one was recommended by Emily.  It was one of her 5* rated stories from the collection. 

From the earliest depictions of winged goddesses to the delicate, paperwinged fairies of the Victorians, from valiant Valkyries to cliff-dwelling harpies, from record-setting pilots to fearless astronauts, women have long since claimed their place in the skies, among the clouds and beyond.

Word Horde presents Fright Into Flight, the debut anthology from Amber Fallon (The Terminal, The Warblers), in which women take wing. In these stories connected by the unifying thread of flight, authors including Damien Angelica Walters, Christine Morgan, and Nadia Bulkin have spread their wings and created terrifying visions of real life angels, mystical journeys, and the demons that lurk inside us all. Whether you like your horror quiet and chilling or more in-your-face and terrifying, there’s something here for every horror fan to enjoy.

You’re in for a bumpy ride… So fasten your seatbelt, take note of the emergency exits, hold on to your airsick bag, and remember that this book may be used as a flotation device in the event of a crash landing.

Fright Into Flight – edited by Amber Fallon
Book cover for A Collection of Nightmares. An artist's rendering of a woman's face as she stars up into the sky from her position mostly submerged in water forms the cover.

A Collection of Nightmares by Christina Sng – This one was contributed by Emily as well.  It’s a poetry book filled with pieces that belong in various genres, but apparently there’s some good sci-fi horror in there too. Honestly, the way she talks about it makes me want to read it, and I’m not much for poetry. So, we’ll see!

Hold your screams and enter a world of seasonal creatures, dreams of bones, and confessions modeled from open eyes and endless insomnia. Christina Sng’s A Collection of Nightmares is a poetic feast of sleeplessness and shadows, an exquisite exhibition of fear and things better left unsaid. Here are ramblings at the end of the world and a path that leads to a thousand paper cuts at the hands of a skin carver. There are crawlspace whispers, and fresh sheets gently washed with sacrifice and poison, and if you’re careful in this ghost month, these poems will call upon the succubus to tend to your flesh wounds and scars.

These nightmares are sweeping fantasies that electrocute the senses as much as they dull the ache of loneliness by showing you what’s hiding under your bed, in the back of your closet, and inside your head. Sng’s poems dissect and flower, her autopsies are delicate blooms dressed with blood and syntax. Her words are charcoal and cotton, safe yet dressed in an executioner’s garb.

Dream carefully.
You’ve already made your bed.
The nightmares you have now will not be kind.
And you have no one to blame but yourself. 

A Collection of Nightmares – Christina Sng

Are there any sci-fi horror books by women that you know about that we didn’t list? Please let us know in the comments below!

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