(Poll) Stephen King fans: What other horror authors have you read?

Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m one of those people who can’t stand Stephen King. Furthermore, one of my pet theories is that the people who do like Stephen King are ignorant louts who are pretty much clueless about the rich tapestry of horror and dark fantasy literature.

However, I’m willing (just barely, of course) to be disabused of this notion. So tell me: What other authors working in the genres of horror and dark fantasy have you read? Did you like 'em? Why or why not?

(This is the most recent thread that piqued my curiosity on the subject.)

Ok, first off, as stated in that thread you cited, I’m not a Stephen King fan. I’ve read a few of his books, liked some, didn’t like others. In fact, I think he’s stronger as a short story writer than a novelist.

I had a period of time where I loved Dean Koontz. I think the reason I liked him more is that I’m a sci-fi fan and his horror more often had a scientific basis than in King’s books.

However, Koontz would reusue plots and characters alot and he had a real tendency to overwrite his books. It was very often that I would be ready for th ebook to end and still had 50 pages left.

I enjoy some of Peter Straub’s work, but most of today’s horror novelists other than King and Straub are pretty bad, IMHO. Dean Koontz has interesting plots, but his writing style makes me want to scream. And not in a good way.

I used to read a lot of John Farris’s stuff, but it has been a while since I tried Farris, so I don’t know what he’s doing lately.

The best non-King horror novel I’ve read in recent times is Swan Song , by Robert McCammon. It’s an epic that has some similarities to King’s The Stand. Very well done.

Dean Koontz is like Harlan Ellison. When you first start reading him, you think he’s pretty good. Then, as you read more, you realize you are reading the same stories in the same style over and over again, and it can get tiring. But though I’ve read a lot of his books and say I’m tired of him, if someone gave me one I hadn’t read I’d probably finish it in a day or two. If you’ve never read him before,pretty much anything of his (except for that screwball comedy one that I forgot the name of) is a good introduction to him. Keep reading until you thing ‘This seems a little familiar’ and STOP THEN.

BTW, he was a science fiction author when he started out, and a lot of his horror has SF elements. I read an amazing short story in ‘Again, Dangerous Visions’ that he wrote in 1970 that would have led most people to believe he was going to be a big name in SF, instead of a successful hack horror author.

Clive Barker is pretty awesome. His later work has moved away from horror and towards dark fantasy (and it’s damn good), and it may not be to most people’s taste, but his earlier work was very imaginative and evocative horror. Clive Barker has left many disturbing images and ideas in my mind that will probably never leave me.

I’ve read some Anne Rice, but that doesn’t really seem like horror to me (except the horror I feel at how bad some of it is).

A lot of people talk trash about her, but Poppy Z. Brite’s first novel, ‘Lost Souls?’ was pretty good in my opinion. Someone could describe it as Southern Gothic + Vampires, but the setting is so fully realized and detailed that it almost feels like science fiction with the vampires being an interesting alien race, which is evolving to become more and more like it’s prey - each generation is less powerful than the one before, but also lacks some of the weaknesses that kept other vampires from being able to mingle with humanity (i.e. inability to drink alcohol, sensitivity to sunlight, etc.). I’ve tried to read one of her later books (‘Drawing Blood’, abominable) and I read a collection of her short stories (mostly bad), but ‘Lost Souls?’ is worth reading. She shoulda pulled a Harper Lee and stopped before we realized that was the only good story in her.

The only thing by Straub I have read is that collaboration he did with King, which I didn’t care for (and I like most King, even some of the ones that most people hate like Insomnia or Rose Madder. I can’t think of any other horror authors (oh, except Lovecraft and Poe) but I’m sure more will occur to me.

Lovecraft, Barker, Straub, Koontz, Lumley, Serling, Blatty, Harris, Poe-- these are just a few off the top of my head. I have read quite a few horror anthologies as well.

I like King, but love Lovecraft.

Lovecraft, Koontz, Straub, Barker, Saul. That’s all I can think of off the top of my head.

Oh, yeah, the Necrowhatever series by Lumley. Forgot about that.

Brian Lumley
There is an author that took a good idea and eventually drove it into the ground over too many books.

The orginal first few were good, and I liked the math savant angle too, but too many books written.

I have mixed feeling about King I think that people enjoy the rich characters in his stories than some of the actual plots.

I have also read Clive Barker, Brian Lumley, Dean Kootz, Michael Crichton, and Anne Rice with varying levels of interest. For this genre I have to say that Clive barker is my favorite.

I must second Robert R. McCammon’s Swan Song as well as a few of his other works. I remember enjoying Mine a great deal but I was much younger then. He is a great alternative to King and Koontz.

I like early King, all Barker, some lumley, some Koontz .
One I haven’t seen mentioned is Brit author James Herbert. I liked some of his stuff.

I’ve read so many that it is hard to keep track. I like Straub (though I really didn’t like the last book of his I read, In The Night Room). Then there is Clive Barker though I did not like Coldheart Canyon that much. It was ok, not great. I need to pick up his latest, Abarat, one of these days. Weaveworld, The Damnation Game, Imajica and Everville rocked.

I liked Koontz until I realized that all the books were exactly the same. Blue Ruin pretty much hit it on the head when it comes to Koontz.

I like Robert R. McCammon’s Swan Song, Mystery Walk, Boy’s Life and Ushers Passing. They are pretty good The only one that seems to stick out is Boy’s Life, I really liked it.

I’ve read about a kajillion other horror novels and most of them just suck. Finding a good horror writer these days isn’t easy. The last new horror book I picked up was “To Wake The Dead” by Richard Laymon. I didn’t even finish it because it was so bad.

I read alot of non-horror as well. I average about 3 novels a week. Right now I am on a mystery kick. I’m reading Stephen Whites Blinded right now. Not bad so far.


What? No V.C. Andrews? No Anne Rice? :: snerk ::

My diet of horror is seriously impoverished. Stephen King (Pre-TOMMYKNOCKERS) and Clive Barker (anything). I’ve read very little Lovecraft and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Early Alan Moore (SWAMP THING, issue #15 of MIRACLEMAN) and Neil Gaiman (THE DOLL’S HOUSE). I’m presently re-reading Octavia Butler’s WILD SEED and MIND OF MY MIND and I find they have a lot of horrific elements: Doro is a scary fuck.

Koontz has a few gems out there amidst the reruns. The Christopher Snow books Fear Nothing and Carpe Noctem are great. Lightning and Watchers are among my all time favorites as well. (If you have been unfortunate enough to have seen the movie made from Watchers kindly go wash your brain before picking up the book!) His recent stuff, notably From The Corner Of His Eye and to a lesser degree By The Light Of The Moon are very good. Some repetition of characters, but they have been fleshed out a good deal and they really roll along.

I agree with most of the authors already listed. I’ve read a couple good ones by F. Paul Wilson - his earlier books are better, the later ones are formulaic. And I really like some of the short stories by Richard Christian Matheson - “Red” is one that I read years ago and thinking about it still makes me shiver. It’s only a few pages long, but it just hits you.

Try The Good House by Tananarive Due. It’s a good old-fashioned story with voudou and a curse.

Darker Than You Think by Jack Williamson is in the Gollancz Fantasy Masterworks series. The story is a bit dated – references to what things cost and what people wore in the 40’s will do that. But it’s the best story I’ve ever read about the allure of evil.

Many horror fans think Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin is one of the best vampire stories ever.

For werewolves, I liked The Wolf’s Hour by Robert McCammon, and two books by Donna Boyd, The Passion and The Promise

Wolfen by Whitley Streiber isn’t about werewolves, but it’s tense and interesting.

If you like a good monster that terrorizes a whole town, read Stinger by Robert McCammon.

Scientific experiment gone awry – The Sandkings, also by George R. R. Martin.

Coming of age novels with a horror theme –

Hit the wrong button – coming of age novel – Summer of Night by Dan Simmons and It by Stephen King. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury fits here too.

Blind Voices by Tom Reamy is like Something Wicked, only it’s more adult, if you know what I mean.

All of them? Okay, not really, it just feels like it some times.

Dean Koontz, Peter Straub & John Saul I’ve read most of the books they’ve published. Clive Barker, Anne Rice & Robbert McCammon, I’ve read at least 1/4th to 1/2 of their books. James Herbert, Bentley Little, Dan Simmons, Mark Danielweski, Frank Peretti, Gary Devon, Michael Stewart, Elizabeth Hand & Matthew Costello I’ve only read one or two books each by, and there are a ton of one-off novels by other people I can’t recall at the moment. I’ve also read short stories by Lovecraft and Poe, of course.

I’m not sure if Laurell Hamilton or Michael Crichton are horror or not, but I read them as well. Ditto for Terry Brooks’ The Word and the Void Trilogy.

I don’t read other horror novelists because I’m really not interested in horror novels at all. When I started reading King, I enjoyed the books, but they never really scared me. I never even thought of him as a horror novelist, though I know to everybody else is obvious. I just enjoyed his stories and his characters.

I personally like John Saul, but all of his books generally run on the same plot. No big deal, since I consider them light reading, but if you want something different, he’s not for you.

I second Lovecraft. I only started reading the Cthulhu Mythos and I’m hooked.

You know what just occurred to me? I lied. I forgot last year I took a Horror Novel course. :rolleyes:

I really, really, really like Robert Bloch.