Tag Archives: john hornor jacobs

Three Great Horror Reads for Halloween 2019

Three Great Horror Reads for Halloween 2019

It’s Halloween today, the perfect time to curl up with a good scary story. I’ve been reading horror since I was a kid, and I wanted to share three of my favorites. Since I’ve read a lot of good horror, I figured it’d be best to limit myself to books I’ve read over the last few years. You can see my reading list for 2017 and 2018 here on my blog, and you can view my current list for 2019 over on Goodreads. So, what three did I choose? Why let me show you…

A Lush And Seething Hell by John Hornor JacobsA Lush And Seething Hell

by John Hornor Jacobs

I’ve just started into my reading of A Lush and Seething Hell, a book consisting of two masterful novellas of cosmic horror. The first, The Sea Dreams it was the Sky was one of my favorite books from last year [See my review here], and I’m finding myself falling into John’s beautiful and haunting prose all over again. Lyrical and evocative while remaining starkly human, I cannot wait to dive into the second story, My Heart Struck Sorrow. I’d also recommend John’s weird west series that begins with The Incorruptibles.


Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham JonesMapping the Interior

by Stephen Graham Jones

Jones is a modern master of horror and always approaches the genre in unique ways; Mapping the Interior is no exception. Told from 12-year old Junior’s perspective, the story is one part family-struggle and one part ghost-story all woven with a heartfelt earnestness that’s easy to believe and hard to shake. It’s a book about childhood, about family, about heritage, about legacy, and the cost and ramification of all four. The ending devastated me. I’d also recommend Jones’ Mongrels.


The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley JacksonThe Haunting of Hill House

by Shirley Jackson

A horror classic that I (oddly) hadn’t read until last year. This is the archetypical haunted house story that defined the genre for decades to come. You’ll recognize the tropes it established right immediately, but be drawn along by Jackson’s incredibly descriptive prose and the layer of uneasiness she weaves throughout. It’ll get under your skin, and you’ll see its fingerprints everywhere. I’d also recommend Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle.


So there are three of my favorite horror novels from the last several years. If you’re looking for something to read on a cozy and dark autumn night, you’d be hard-pressed to find better. What are your favorite horror novels from the last few years? Leave a comment below and let everyone know!

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Like My Books? Here Are Some Other Authors to Read...

Like My Books? Here Are a Few Recommendations…

I’m still hard at work on Gleam Upon the Waves, and while I’m making significant progress, I don’t have a specific timeline for release. So, if you’re a fan of my work and you’re looking for something to read in the interim that strikes a similar weird-fiction chord s, let me recommend a few of my favorite novels from a whole bunch of amazingly talented writers. In no particular order…

Cherie Priest

What to Read: Maplecroft & Chapelwood

Priest is a talented and multifaceted author who has written a great many books in a variety of genres. However, if you like books where heroes willingly fight against the madness of Lovecraftian monsters then I cannot recommend her series The Borden Dispatches enough—the first book is a solid new-mythos entry with great characters and a fascinating premise, but Priest really hits her stride in book two, Chapelwood, a humid deep-south foray into the mythos. Pick them both up and read ’em in order.

John Hornor JacobsThe Sea Dreams It Is the Sky by John Hornor Jacobs

What to Read: The Incorruptibles & The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky

Jacobs is well known among mythos enthusiasts for his 2011 novel, Southern Gods. But lately he’s stepped up his game; first, there’s his weird-west trilogy: The Incorruptibles, a combination of classic western, high-fantasy, and Roman mythology. His latest mythos novella The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky (one of my favorite books from last year) is an absolute masterpiece of modern cosmic horror—I can’t wait for the follow up: A Lush and Seething Hell.

China MiévilleThe Scar by China Miéville

What to Read: The Scar

If you like my strange city filled with a variety of even more unusual inhabitants, then you’ll love the steampunk-influenced world of New Crobuzon.  Miéville’s writing is evocative, his world rich and vibrant, his characters flawed yet relatable, and everything is weighted in a deep history that always leaves me in awe. While all three in the series are solid books and huge influences on me, my favorite is easily the middle novel, The Scar. A swashbuckling adventure that takes place in the mobile pirate-city of Armada.

Fonda LeeJade City by Fonda Lee

What to Read: Jade City

I discovered Lee’s work after sitting on a panel with her at OryCon in 2017. After hearing her talk about her urban fantasy wuxia novel, Jade City, I knew it would be something I enjoyed. I wasn’t wrong. The city is captivating, the worldbuilding fantastic, and Lee’s characters are grounded and flawed. There’s a lot here, and it’s worth exploring. If you like gritty cities and enjoy crime dramas, then I’d recommend you take some time and spend a few days in the streets of Janloon. (The sequel, Jade War is coming soon!)

Lost Gods by BromBrom

What to Read: Lost Gods: A Novel

My friend Brom is both an incredible artist and a fantastic writer. For me, his 2016 novel, Lost Gods, stands out. It’s a rich exploration into the bizarre and brutal world of Purgatory and the people, monsters, and strange creatures who live (and die) therein. It’s a vast story that mixes a variety of mythology and weaves a remarkable and splendid tapestry of broken and complex characters and has you cheering for an unlikely protagonist searching for a way home.

The Half-Made World by Felix GilmanFelix Gilman

What to Read: The Half-Made World

I love a good weird-west book, and there isn’t enough of them. The world of Gilman’s novel is stunning in its intricacies and feels vibrate and alive and offers up something unique and engaging that feels thoroughly fresh. I want more. There’s a lot of love: warring factions, a clash of cultures, an unlikely set of anti-heroes, and a surprising plot that feels as unique as it is enthralling. A rollicking gunsmoke-tinged romp that I found delightful.

There’s a wide variety in this list, everything from cosmic horror to steampunk to weird-west. I’m sure you’ll find something to enjoy. All the links go to Amazon, but if you can, I’d recommend asking for them at your local indie book store. Once finished, be sure to leave a review for other readers on Amazon and Goodreads and share your thoughts about the books. It’s a small but powerful way to help out an author and your fellow reader.

What about you? Do you have any reading recommendations for folks who enjoy my books? Leave a comment below and help others discover some of your favorite novels.

Happy reading!


My Reading List for 2018

My Reading List for 2018

2018 draws to a close, and I can’t really say I’ll miss it. However one of the best highlights from the last year was reading so many amazing books. Every year I compiled a list of the novels I’ve read over the last 365 days. Everything I this list was pleasure reading, I tend to skip listing research books.

“If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.”
—Stephen King

This list correlates with my Goodreads reading challenge but is always a few books longer since I can’t list the books I beta read on Goodreads. Overall, I’m pleased with myself this year. I surpassed my goal (thirty-five) and ended up reading the most books in a single year I’ve ever read.

Since this list is always enormous, l forgo reviews. However, follow me on Goodreads where I do occasionally leave reviews. As before, all links will go to Amazon as a default, but if one of these books sound interesting to you, then I encourage you to visit your local independent bookstore and purchase through them. It’s vital for your local economy to buy local whenever you’re able.

Okay, to the list!

📚 Novels

  1. Last First Snow (Craft Sequence #4)
    by Max Gladstone
  2. Those Across the River
    by Christopher Buehlman
  3. Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) 🎧
    by Leigh Bardugo
  4. Caliban’s War (The Expanse #2)
    by James S.A. Corey
  5. Railsea …again
    by China Miéville
  6. Foreign Devils (The Incorruptibles #2)
    by John Hornor Jacobs
  7. Outlander (Outlander #1) 🎧
    by Diana Gabaldon
  8. Beta Reading
  9. The Etched City
    by K.J. Bishop
  10. The Force: A Novel 🎧
    by Don Winslow
  11. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
    by Robin Sloan
  12. Xenos (Eisenhorn #1)
    by Dan Abbet
  13. Lexicon
    by Max Barry
  14. Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard #2) 🎧
    by Scott Lynch
  15. Poor Man’s Fight (Poor Man’s Fight #1)
    by Elliott Kay
  16. Side Life
    by Steve Toutonghi
  17. Heart of Darkness
    by Joseph Conrad
  18. Rencor: Life in Grudge City
    by Matt Wallace
  19. Scourge of the Betrayer (Bloodsounder’s Arc #1)
    by Jeff Salyards
  20. The Stone Boatmen
    by Sarah Tolmie
  21. The Ballad of Black Tom
    by Victor LaValle
  22. Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archives #3) 🎧
    by Brandon Sanderson
  23. All the Birds in the Sky (All the Birds in the Sky #1)
    by Charlie Jane Anders
  24. Sip
    by Brian Allen Carr
  25. Vurt (Vurt #1) 🎧
    by Jeff Noon
  26. The Hike: A Novel 🎧
    by Drew Magary
  27. Fates and Furies
    by Lauren Groff
  28. The Twilight Pariah
    by Jeffrey Ford
  29. City of Stairs (The Divine Cities #1)
    by Robert Jackson Bennett
  30. Random Acts of Senseless Violence (Dryco)
    by Jack Womack
  31. Borne: A Novel 🎧
    by Jeff VanderMeer
  32. Blackfish City
    by Sam J. Miller
  33. A Song for Quiet (Persons Non Grata #2)
    by Cassandra Khaw
  34. Lost Gods: A Novel
    by Brom
  35. Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos #1) …again 🎧
    by Dan Simmons
  36. Between the Shadow and Lo
    by Lauren Sapala
  37. The Haunting of Hill House
    by Shirley Jackson
  38. Titus Groan (Gormenghast #1) 🎧
    by Mervyn Peake
  39. The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time #1)
    by Robert Jordan
  40. The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky
    by John Hornor Jacobs
  41. Adulthood Rites (Xenogenesis, #2)
    by Octavia E. Butler
  42. Artemis 🎧
    by Andy Weir
  43. Senlin Ascends
    by Josiah Bancroft

🏆 Favorite Novel of 2018:

Vurt by Jeff NoonVurt
by Jeff Noon

A wild trip of a ride. A cyber-punkish exploration of addiction and depravity, but told through the technicolored language of beauty and desire. I was stunned. I couldn’t put it down and months later I still find myself hankering for a jam fix and dreaming of feathers.

🏅 Favorite Novel Runners-up of 2018:

A Note: This was so hard. I mean seriously, picking two runners-up was nearly impossible this year. I read that many good books. That said, while Vurt eventually won out there were two others in serious contention.

The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky: A Novella of Cosmic Horror by John Hornor Jacobs The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky
by John Hornor Jacobs

A masterpiece of modern cosmic horror that grounds itself in humanity. The setting and characters are captivating and unique to the genre. The result is a surprisingly deep novella that recasts cosmic horror’s themes with raw originality. I was enthralled.

Side Life by Steve ToutonghiSide Life
by Steve Toutonghi

Any attempt to encapsulate Side Life in a small review will ultimately do it an injustice. It is a book of facets, and each reflects a theme as varied as the realities explored within its pages. A study on love, loss, and family, an introspection on humanity, reality, and self-identity. Utterly tragic and yet ultimately hopeful.

🎈 Honorable Mentions

This year was different than previous years so I have a few other Honorable Mentions. These are books that resonated with me long after I had finished them and they deserve a little callout. In no particular order…

  • The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
    A modern retelling of The Horror at Redhook.
  • Lexicon by Max Berry
    Language as powerful mind-twisting magic.
  • Sip by Brian Allen Carr
    A post-apocalyptic tale where people drink and become addicted to shadow.
  • The Force by Don Winslow
    A dirty cop tries to navigate his web of lies while protecting his city.
  • Lost Gods by Brom
    A lost soul discovers that purgatory is a dangerous place to live.
  • Between the Shadow and Lo by Lauren Sapala
    A young alcoholic struggles to find hope in the rainy streets of Seattle.
  • City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
    A spy struggles to solve a murder in a city where dead gods once reigned.

💥 Graphic Novels:

Normally I list the graphic novels I’ve read over the year here.

But… uh, I didn’t read too many graphic novels.

In fact, I read only a handful.

I finished the latest in Matt Nelson’s Catbeard series (Book Five is out! Go buy it, I wrote the forward) and completed my reading in Lars Brown’s Penultimate Quest. (Go buy that as well.) So you get a few recommendations here but no real list. Sorry, perhaps next year?

So, that’s my list! Overall, I’m content with my reading for the year. It’s been a blast to lose myself in so many imaginative worlds and discover new and fresh perspectives on life and humanity. Books are a gateway and one I am eager to step through—so thanks, 2018. Here’s to more books in 2019!

Are you looking for a good book? Want to see my reading lists from previous years? Check any of the links below and see what I was reading in the bygone halcyon days.

 2013 • 2014 • 2015 2016 • 2017

Next year, why not join me? Goodreads does a reading challenge every year, and I am an active participant. First, follow me on Goodreads (leave me a review while you’re there), and once the New Year arrives, participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2018.

Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

The 2015 Lovecraftian-Inspired Gift Guide

The 2015 Lovecraft-Inspired Gift Guide

Last year I assembled a fun little list of Lovecraftian gift ideas for the holidays. It ended up being popular so I figured since the holiday season is upon us yet again I’d do it one more time! As before, if you’re a fan of the Cthulhu Mythos or have someone on your list who is, I figured it’d be helpful to put together a little gift guide linking to some of my favorite Lovecraftian merchandise from across the web.

Like before, I’ve organized the list by category and ordered them by price making it easy to browse. Have a favorite New Weird or mythos-themed item I left off? Leave a comment and let us know!

❅ Quick Jumps ❅


[About the Art:] This year’s gift guide’s Featured Image comes from the artist Mark Helwig. Check out the full-color version on Deviant Art.


Chapelwood by Cherie PriestChapelwood by Cherie Priest
$11.98 + Free Shipping (Paperback) $9.99 (eBook)
Last year I featured Maplecroft, the first in Cherie Priests New Mythos series, The Borden Dispatches. I’m pleased to say that book two is even better than the first. Borden finds herself assisting an old friend in the deep south investigating strange disappearances and an even stranger church.

Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs
$13.30 + Free Shipping (Paperback) $9.99 (eBook)
Part southern gothic and part Lovecraftian, John Hornor Jacobs debut novel from 2011 follows the story of muscle-for-hire Bull Ingram as he’s tasked with following the trail of the musician Ramblin’ John Hastur, who has been rumored to have sold his soul to the devil.

Red Litten WorldRed Litten World by K. M. Alexander
$15.00 + Free Shipping (Paperback) $4.61 (eBook)
In the third installment of my Bell Forging Cycle, Caravan Master cum Guardian Waldo Bell returns to the multileveled megalopolis of Lovat and finds himself thrust into a conflict that will lead him to the cities blood-soaked spires.

Cthulhu Fhtagn!Cthulhu Fhtagn! Anthology
$19.99 + Free Shipping (Paperback) $9.99 (eBook)
A fantastic anthology assembled by Ross Lockheart that happens to be one of the best Lovecraft-inspired collections to date. There’s a lot to love here. Cosmic horror tales from names like W. H. Pugmire, Laird Barron, Cameron Pierce, Wendy N. Wagner, Ann K. Schwader, and loads more.

The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft edited by Les Klinger
$27.78 + Free Shipping (Hardcover) $22.99 (eBook)
I’m keeping this on here from last year. This gorgeous coffee table book annotated by Les Klinger is now the definitive collection of Lovecraft’s best work. If you have a fan on your list or wanted to spend a little bit of time with Lovecraft’s works, this is the book to get.

Not finding a book you like? Check out last year’s list →


 Azathoth by Cryo Chamber CollaborationAzathoth by Cryo Chamber Collaboration
$9.00 (Digital Download) $20.00 + Shipping (CD)
Once again the dark-ambient label Cryo Chamber has created another collaboration named after one of Lovecraft’s monsters. This set is themed around the Azathoth, the outer god, and the album has a tone of ancient otherworldliness drenched with vast echoes, terrifyingly wonderful.

The Curious Sea Shanties of Innsmouth, Mass.The Curious Sea Shanties of Innsmouth, Mass.
$15.00 (Digital Download or CD) + Shipping (CD)
What do the sailors of Innsmouth, Massachesues sing while out on their boats? You’d be surprised. In this collection, the Miskatonic Connolly Memorial Men’s Chorus explores the Innsmouth variants of classic shanties. The tunes might be familiar but the lyrics… the lyrics are very different.

Dark Adventure Radio TheaterDark Adventure Radio Theater
$12.00 (Single Downloads) – $200 (Full Collections) + Shipping
Dramatizations of H. P. Lovecraft’s words done radio-theater style. The quality is fantastic, and I highly encourage getting the CDs that include the props as well. Makes it all the more fun to follow along with the story.

Not finding the right music? Check out last year’s list →


Bell Caravan Patch Now AvailableBell Caravans Patch
$5.00 + Shipping (Order by Dec. 11th for Christmas Delivery.)
This beautiful 3″ patch, designed by illustrator Sean Cumiskey, is the perfect way of declaring your loyalty to your beloved caravan master. Put it on your backpack, a tote, or display it on the sleeve of your jacket, just make sure the world knows who you roll with.

Cthulhu BandanaCthulhu Bandanna
$10.00 + Shipping
Bandanas are handy, but why not have one that is slightly different from the rest. Featuring an original border design that incorporates Cthulhu, Nightgaunts, The Hounds of Tindalos, and more! Available in black, green, red, teal, and hot pink.

Cthulhu Varsity JacketCthulhu Varsity Jacket
$90.00 + Shipping
When a tee shirt just isn’t enough and you need to take your love of the mythos to the next level. Features a wool body and leather sleeves with an embroidered HP on the chest and a large Cthulhu on the back.

Looking for something else? Check out last year’s selection →


The Last Door: Season 2 Collector EditionThe Last Door: Season 2 – Collector’s Edition
$7.99 (Digital Download) FREE (In-Browser)
I loved Season 1 of this old school adventure game and Season 2 was just as gripping. Heavily influenced by turn-of-the-century horror and the writing of H.P. Lovecraft, The Last Door: Season 2 places you at the center of a mysterious conspiracy of darkness and terror.

Sunless SeaThe Sunless Sea
$18.99 (Digital Download)
After playing and loving Failbetter Games’ browser game Fallen London, I immediately ran out and picked this up from Steam. One of the few games I have spent any time with this year. The tone and music are wonderful, the locations and exploration superb. What will you find the in vast oceans of the Unterzee?

Eldritch HorrorEldritch Horror
$43.64 + Free Shipping
In this cooperative board game (similar to Pandemic), you and your fellow investigators travel the globe in an attempt to thwart the plans of Lovecraft’s Great Old Ones while trying to stay sane in the process.

None of these games sounding interesting? Here’s last year’s list →


Miskatonic University StickerMiskatonic University Sticker
$3.50 + Shipping
With these handy stickers you can make anything in your home an official product of the Miskatonic University. Slap ’em on a notebook or a mug or a water bottle. It’s a handy (and cheap) was to show your pride in your school.

Miskatonic University Lapel PinMiskatonic University Alumni lapel pin
$10.00 + Shipping
An elegant little lapel pin features a purple logo of Miskatonic University. A nice subtle way to confuse your coworkers as well as show your alumni allegiance to the Ivy League school that never was. Ex Ignorantia Ad Sapientiam; Ex Luce Ad Tenebras.

http://store.cthulhulives.org/collections/apparel/products/miskatonic-antarctic-expedition-sweatshirtMiskatonic Antarctic Expedition Sweatshirt
$55.00 + Shipping
The “official” gear from Professor Lake’s ill-fated 1931 Miskatonic University Antarctic Expedition. Features the logo of the MU Biology Dept. on the front and the Expedition logo on back. Comes in a combo ($72 + Shipping) with the sweatshirt, a radio play, and a personalized letter from Professor Dyer.

No Miskatonic related items you wanted? Here was last year’s list →

❅ Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! ❅