Saturday, December 12, 2020

Five tense books that blend sci-fi & horror

A.K. Larkwood studied English at St John’s College, Cambridge, and now lives in Oxford with her wife and a cat. The Unspoken Name is her debut novel.

At, Larkwood tagged five "books are all scary in their own way, but what they also have in common is absolutely blistering pacing, combined with a creeping tension that cranks higher and higher as you turn the pages." One title on the list:
The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling

Cave-diving is the worst thing I can imagine voluntarily doing so GOOD NEWS this book is about cave-diving solo on an alien planet where you may be attacked by monsters at any time. And also, ghosts??? In fact, for me the scariest part of this book was the slipperiness of both the main character and her handler: both of them are lying to you at one time or another and there is a pervasive sense that either of them will do just about anything to achieve their goals. The whole book is about two characters having a series of remote conversations while one of them is down in a cave, and on this restricted canvas Starling manages to pull off some rich SF worldbuilding, a properly thorny, weird, tense f/f relationship, a wonderful monster, and some truly gruesome and terrifying moments.

Bonus points: you will never feel the same way again about your phone battery running out.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Luminous Dead is among Jeff Somers's seven scariest science fiction horror novels ever written.

The Page 69 Test: The Luminous Dead.

--Marshal Zeringue