I’m a big fan of the Dead Space video game franchise. You play the engineer Isaac Clarke (even if the name is a bit on-the-nose) who is on a huge mining ship when something goes very wrong. Armed with a welding gun (at first), you have to discover what happened and if you can save any of your crew members. That horrifying and gravity-defying game is getting a remake on January 27. How better to get in the mood for this game than with some space horror books?
Yes, I know. I’ve written before about how I don’t find horror books that scary. I still think that’s true. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy these books, though. Combine that with my love of science fiction and I’m all over a good space horror book. Maybe it’s aliens on a spaceship. Could be religious fanatics on a frozen planet. Ooh, or there’s the old alien virus on a space station — though, technically, that’s just tiny aliens on a larger spaceship. Whatever. Space is scary, y’all, so adding extra horror elements just ups the ante.
Here are ten great space horror books to get you in the mood for the upcoming remake of Dead Space. Proceed with caution…
Space Horror Books: Comics
Blame! by Tsutomu Nihei
In a massive city in the future of our solar system, Killy is looking for something. Armed with a powerful weapon, he’s searching for a genetic mutation that used to allow humans to access the cybernetic Netsphere. Every manner of human, transhuman, and horrific inhabitant of this giant city is going to stand in his way, though.
Gantz by Hiroya Oku
Kei and Masaru are just a couple of Tokyo teens going about their day until they’re killed by a train — except that they wake up in a room with an orb. That orb equips them and orders them to fight wave after wave of horrifying aliens. Can they win their freedom or just die for real?
Nameless by Grant Morrison, Chris Burnhamm, et al
This six-issue comic book series from 2017 sees an occult hustler known only as Nameless sent on a suicide mission. An asteroid is on a collision course with Earth. It’s no mere asteroid, though. It’s a piece of a lost planet long destroyed by elder gods. What’s more, one of those horrifying gods is in the asteroid just waiting to exact revenge.
Space Horror Books: Prose
Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes
Imagine the Titanic in space. Now, imagine that the lost wreckage of that luxury spaceliner has been found. That’s what Claire and her beacon repair crew discover. Maybe they can strike it rich, or maybe whatever happened to the spaceliner will happen to them, too.
Dead Space by Kali Wallace
No, I’m not cheating. This book actually has nothing to do with the video game franchise.
Hester’s life was going well until an attack left her injured and stranded on a mining colony. Now she works security for the owners. When a friend of hers is murdered, Hester is in on the investigation, but what she finds sheds light on her own injury and so much more.
Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear
One man wakes up cold, naked, and wet. He’s aboard a spaceship. He doesn’t know where it’s going or why. He does know that he’s surrounded by monsters and other survivors who don’t seem much safer. He has a lot to uncover if he can survive.
Ship of Fools by Richard Paul Russo
Generation ships are often tales of heroism. In Ship of Fools, their enormous ship has been flying in circles looking for any sign of life, a safe place to land. When they follow a strange transmission, they find something that horrifies them deeply, and sends them hurtling toward even more space horror.
Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty
Maria has died before. She always awakens in a cloning vat, her last memory of her death. But now she’s awakened with no memory of her death. Blood streaks her vat. And she’s not the only member of her spaceship crew to have died recently. But how? Why? And who is responsible?
The Wasp Child by Rhiannon Rasmussen
If you think your childhood bullying was bad, meet Kesh. Living on a colony dictated by corporate values, his classmates kidnap him and leave him in the middle of an alien rainforest. He then meets the giant, bug-like alien inhabitants. They seem friendly, but they soon trade him back to the colony as a scientific curiosity. Everything for Kesh goes from bad to worse to horrifying.
We Have Always Been Here by Lena Nguyen
This novel is a different kind of horror, one of the mind rather than the body. Dr. Grace Park isn’t great with people. She’s more comfortable around androids. Now she’s the ship psychologist on a top-secret mission to a strange world. But when the crew starts acting strangely, human and android alike, Dr. Park might be their only hope.
There are so many great space horror books out there, and these are just a few. Check out 14 Space Horror Books for Those Who Dare to Believe and The Call is Coming from Inside the Spaceship: 6 Works of Space Horror for another 20 great space horror novels.