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Books and Reading: Horror Fiction

Defining Horror Fiction

Defining Horror fiction

"Horror is one of the most straighforward genres to define and understand on a very basic level.  The goal of Horror fiction is to produce fear in readers, sometimes through psychology, sometimes through gory details, and its appeal occurs on a very deep emotional level.  It contains a monster of some type, and supernatural elements figure prominently."... "What is important is the feeling of foreboding that permeates the novels, the sense of unease as we await the unexpected.  Horror novels, then, are stories of nightmares come to life, complete with monsters of various descriptions; and, as in all our nightmares, surprise is a crucial element. We never know exactly when the terror will invade our lives… .

From The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction. 3rd edition by Joyce Saricks.  Chicago, ILL: American Library Association, 2009



Subgenres of Horror Fiction with Book Title Examples

Apocalypse - The Stand by Stephen King

Cosmic HorrorThe Best of H.P. Lovecraft by H.P. Lovecraft

Dark FantasyThe Darkest Part of the Woods by Ramsey Campbell

Demonic Possession/InvasionThe Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

GhostsThe Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Haunted HousesThe Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

MonstersThe Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Psychological Horror/Serial KillerThe Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

SplatterpunkThe Books of Blood by Clive Barker

VampiresDracula by Bram Stoker

WitchcraftThe Witching Hour by Anne Rice

ZombiesThe Rising by Brian Keene


Horror Fiction Awards

Aurealis Awards

Bram Stoker Awards

Shirley Jackson Awards

The Shirley Jackson Award will be voted upon by a jury of professional writers, editors, critics, and academics, with input from a Board of Advisors. The awards will be given for the best work published in the preceding calendar year in the following categories: Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Single-Author Collection, and Edited Anthology