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Scared Silly

It's October, dear readers, and you know what that means: Christmas decorations are going up at the mall!  (Sadly, yes, but not quite the sort of spirit I had in mind.)  No, October means Halloween, and for speculative fiction readers that means lots of hair-raising, spine-tingling, soul-chilling HORROR!  Unless, of course, you're me: a self-confessed horror... wimp

I have a love/hate relationship with horror.  I like werewolves and I have a bizarre fondness for zombies.  I can even deal with the occasional vampire story, as long as it doesn't get too gory.  I love a well-written tale of the supernatural that gets under my skin and makes me alive to the secrets that lurk just beyond the light.  However, I am not terribly fond of the weeks of nightmares my overactive imagination will conjure up after a really good horror novel.  I'll read traditional horror, but only during the daytime... with the lights on.  After I've checked the locks.  And the closets, and under the bed.  With an emergency teddy bear within reach.  And a baseball bat... just in case.  (The lesson here is never to sneak up on me while I'm reading horror.)

I've learned that there is one sure-fire method of conquering fear, though: laugh at it.  It's impossible to feel true dread for something that tickles your funny bone.  Just try it-- the next time you have a nightmare, picture your object of terror in polka-dotted boxer shorts and a silly hat.  (Granted, this works less well if you're afraid of clowns.)  Injecting some humor into the horror works like a charm for me.  While I might hesitate to pick up a traditional horror novel, I have no compunctions about reading (or watching) comic horror.  (Poltergeist? I'll be in the next room with my head under a pillow-- tell me when it's safe to look.  The Evil Dead trilogy? Bring 'em on-- Ash is my hero!)

For this October, I've put together a list of Halloween reads that horror wimps like me can get behind: horror and dark fantasy with a healthy dose of wit, dark humor, or downright silliness to temper it. If you're not too sure about this "horror" thing, if you're a confirmed scaredy-cat (like me!), or if you'd just like a good laugh to go with your thrills and chills, check out one of the titles from this month's list!  (Note: if you're really really leery of horror, you might want to stay away from the Fingerman, Hooper, and Wong selections-- they all have strong darkly comic elements, but they can still be pretty scary and/or gory.) 

Pull the covers over your head, turn on your flashlight, and prepare to be scared... silly.

Life Sucks by Jessica Abel et al. (741.5973 Abel)
Blood Lite by Kevin J. Anderson, ed. (Pbk-Horror Blood)
Brains: A Zombie Memoir by Robin M. Becker (Horror Becker)
Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, eds. (YA Short Stories Zombies)
Play Dead by Ryan Brown (Horror Brown)
Breathers: A Zombie's Lament by S. G. Browne (Horror Browne)
Accidentally Dead, Again by Dakota Cassidy (Pbk-Romance Cassidy)
The Gates by John Connolly (Fantasy Connolly)
Meowmorphosis by Coleridge Cook and Franz Kafka (Horror Cook)
Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia (Pbk-Fantasy Correia)
Wild Ride by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer (Fantasy Crusie)
Betsy the Vampire Queen by MaryJanice Davidson (Horror Davidson)
Bottomfeeder by B. H. Fingerman (Horror Fingerman)
Fat White Vampire Blues by Andrew Fox (Horror Fox)
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (Fantasy Gaiman)
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, Jane Austen, and Tony Lee (741.5973 Lee)
The Radleys by Matt Haig (Horror Haig)
Dead until Dark by Charlaine Harris (Pbk-Horror Harris)
Death's Excellent Vacation by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner, eds. (Horror Death's)
Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry (Horror Henry)
Midnight Movie by Tobe Hooper (Horror Hooper)
Johannes Cabal: The Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard (Horror Howard)
The Living and the Dead by Jason (741.5944 Jason)
Carpe Demon by Julie Kenner (Horror Kenner)
Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz (Horror Koontz)
The Best of Joe R. Lansdale by Joe R. Lansdale (esp. "Bubba Ho-Tep") (Horror Lansdale)
Tales of Supernatural Law by Batton Lash (741.5973 Tales)
Sad Monsters by Frank Lesser (Fantasy Lesser)
Gil's All-Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez (Fiction Martinez)
Kraken by China Mieville (Fantasy Mieville)
Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter by A. E. Moorat (Horror Moorat)
You Suck: A Love Story by Christopher Moore (Fantasy Moore)
Married with Zombies by Jesse Petersen (Pbk-Horror Petersen)
Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett (SF Pratchett)
The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing beneath the Bed by Patrick Rothfuss (741.59 Rothf)
My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland (Pbk-Horror Rowland)
Shaun of the Dead by Chris Ryall and Zach Howard (741.5973 Pegg)
Wormwood, Gentleman Corpse by Ben Templesmith (741.5994 Templ)
This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It by David Wong (Exp Horror Wong) (COMING SOON)
A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny (SF Zelazny)

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