Books for Fans of John Carpenter, "Black Mirror," & "Stranger Things" | #LibrarianRecs

In this inaugural #LibrarianRecs column, we compile crowd-sourced book recommendations for readers who can't get enough of John Carpenter's The Thing, Ridley Scott's "Alien" franchise, and Netflix's Black Mirror and Stranger Things series. Dive deep, fans of body horror, technothrillers, space monsters, and dark fantasy!

Welcome to the inaugural #LibrarianRecs column, where we pose a readers' advisory (RA) question and crowd-source recommendations from librarians and library workers. This week, I tweeted an RA question on behalf of myself: "I like sci-fi/horror. My favorite movies/shows are John Carpenter's The Thing, the Alien franchise, Stranger Things, & Black Mirror. What books would you recommend?"

screengrab of tweet

Librarians from around the country chimed in with more than 60 excellent reading suggestions spanning body horror, interstellar monster tales, technothrillers, and more. Here are their picks.

SF Horror and Dark Fantasy #LibrarianRecs

book covers

The Fever by Megan Abbott (Little, Brown, ISBN 9780316231053)

Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda (Feiwel and Friends, ISBN 9781250085894)

The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anderson (Tor, ISBN 9780765379962)

"Incarnations of Immortality" series by Piers Anthony

Ghoster by Jason Arnopp (Orbit, ISBN 9780316362283)

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (Flatiron, ISBN 9781250313072)

World War Z by Max Brooks (Three Rivers, ISBN 9780307346612)

She Said Destroy by Nadia Bulkin (Word Horde, ISBN 9781939905338)

The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey (Orbit, ISBN 9780316278157)

The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang (Subterranean, ISBN 9781596063174)

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang (Vintage reprint ed., ISBN 9781101972120)

Rin Chupeco (all)

"Expanse" series by James Corey

The "Passage Trilogy" by Justin Cronin

The Troop by Nick Cutter (Gallery, ISBN 9781501144820)

No Mercy by Alex de Campi, illus. by Carla Speed McNeil (Image, ISBN 9781632154439)

Philip K. Dick (all)

Vita Nostra by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko (Harper Voyager, ISBN 9780062694591)

Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant (Subterranean, ISBN 9781596067080)

The "Parasitology" series by Mira Grant

book covers

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins (Broadway, ISBN 9780553418620)

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix (Quirk, ISBN 9781594745263)

My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix (Quirk, ISBN 9781594748622)

Full Throttle by Joe Hill (Morrow, ISBN 9780062980571)

The "Locke & Key" graphic novel series by Joe Hill, illus. by Gabriel Rodriguez & others

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (Morrow, ISBN 9780062200570)

Children of the Dark by Jonathan Janz (Sinister Grin, ISBN 9781944044145)

The Grip of It by Jac Jemc (FSG Originals, ISBN 9780374536916)

N.K. Jemisin (all)

Stephen King (all)

Cold Storage by David Koepp (Ecco, ISBN 9780062916433)

The Hemotophages by Stephen Kozeniewski (Sinister Grin, ISBN 9781944044558)

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty (Orbit, ISBN 9780316389686)

The Fisherman by John Langan (Word Horde, ISBN 9781939905215)

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand (Katherine Tegen Bks.: HarperCollins, ISBN 9780062696601)

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin (Penguin Classics, ISBN 9780143111597)

book covers

The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie (Orbit, ISBN 9780316388702)

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu (Tor, ISBN 9780765377067)

Noumenon by Marina J. Lostetter (Harper Voyager, ISBN 9780062497840)

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf, ISBN 9780385353304)

The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy (Houghton Harcourt, ISBN 9781328904072)

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel (Del Rey, ISBN 9781101886717)

Binti: The Complete Trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor (DAW, ISBN 9780756415181)

Breed by Chase Novak (Mulholland, ISBN 9780316198561)

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel (S. & S., ISBN 9781481432337)

Night Film by Marisha Pessl (Random, ISBN 9780812979787)

The Wilder Girls by Rory Power (Delacorte, ISBN 9780525645580)

The "Arc of a Scythe Trilogy" by Neal Shusterman

Thornhill by Pam Smy (Roaring Brook, ISBN 9781626726543)

The "Morning Glories" graphic novel series by Nick Spencer

The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling (Harper Voyager, ISBN 9780062846907)

"The Riverman Trilogy" by Aaron Starmer

book covers

Neal Stephenson (all)

The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross (Ace, ISBN 9780441013654)

Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Thomas Sweterlitsch (Putnam, ISBN 9780425275412)

Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay (Morrow, ISBN 9780062363275)

"Southern Reach Trilogy" by Jeff VanderMeer

Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan, illus. by Cliff Chiang, Jared K. Fletcher, and Matthew Wilson (Image, ISBN 9781632156747)

Salvation Day by Kali Wallace (Berkley, ISBN 9781984803696)

The Last Astronaut by David Wellington (Orbit, ISBN 9780316419574)

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig (Del Rey, ISBN 9780399182105)

The Mind Parasites by Colin Wilson (Monkfish, ISBN 9780974935997)

John Dies at the End by David Wong (St. Martin's Griffin, ISBN 9781250035950)

What did we miss? Add your reading suggestions in the comments below.

Have an idea for a future #LibriarianRecs RA question? Email Kiera Parrott.

Kiera Parrott is Reviews Director, LJ and SLJ

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing