Called a “necessary reimagining of genre fiction” by Wired and a “middle finger to a century of racist sci-fi, HBO’s newest series, Lovecraft Country, based on the novel by Matt Ruff, follows Atticus Freeman on a road trip across 1950s America in search of his missing father and struggles to survive the racist terrors of Jim Crow-era America and the terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a Lovecraft paperback.
If you’re inspired to explore more stories of race through the lens of pulp, sci-fi and horror give these five books a try.
Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones
He was born an outsider, like the rest of his family. Poor yet resilient, he lives in the shadows with his aunt Libby and uncle Darren, folk who stubbornly make their way in a society that does not understand or want them. They are mongrels, mixed blood, neither this nor that. The boy at the center of Mongrels must decide if he belongs on the road with his aunt and uncle, or if he fits with the people on the other side of the tracks. For ten years, he and his family have lived a life of late-night exits and narrow escapes-always on the move across the South to stay one step ahead of the law. But the time is drawing near when Darren and Libby will finally know if their nephew is like them or not. And the close calls they’ve been running from for so long are catching up fast now. Everything is about to change.
Book | Hoopla Ebook | Hoopla Audiobook | Audiobook CD
We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin
“You can be beautiful, even more beautiful than before.” This is the seductive promise of Dr. Nzinga’s clinic, where anyone can get their lips thinned, their skin bleached, and their nose narrowed. A complete demelanization will liberate you from the confines of being born in a black body—if you can afford it.
In this near-future Southern city plagued by fenced-in ghettos and police violence, more and more residents are turning to this experimental medical procedure. Like any father, our narrator just wants the best for his son, Nigel, a biracial boy whose black birthmark is getting bigger by the day. The darker Nigel becomes, the more frightened his father feels. But how far will he go to protect his son? And will he destroy his family in the process?
Book | Overdrive Ebook
Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark
D. W. Griffith is a sorcerer, and The Birth of a Nation is a spell that drew upon the darkest thoughts and wishes from the heart of America. Now, rising in power and prominence, the Klan has a plot to unleash Hell on Earth.
Luckily, Maryse Boudreaux has a magic sword and a head full of tales. When she’s not running bootleg whiskey through Prohibition Georgia, she’s fighting monsters she calls “Ku Kluxes.” She’s damn good at it, too. But to confront this ongoing evil, she must journey between worlds to face nightmares made flesh—and her own demons. Together with a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter, Maryse sets out to save a world from the hate that would consume it.
White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
There’s something strange about the Silver family house in the closed-off town of Dover, England. Grand and cavernous with hidden passages and buried secrets, it’s been home to four generations of Silver women—Anna, Jennifer, Lily, and now Miranda, who has lived in the house with her twin brother, Eliot, ever since their father converted it to a bed-and-breakfast. The Silver women have always had a strong connection, a pull over one another that reaches across time and space, and when Lily, Miranda’s mother, passes away suddenly while on a trip abroad, Miranda begins suffering strange ailments. An eating disorder starves her. She begins hearing voices. When she brings a friend home, Dover’s hostility toward outsiders physically manifests within the four walls of the Silver house, and the lives of everyone inside are irrevocably changed.
Book | Overdrive Ebook
The Good House by Tananarive Due
Angela hoped her grandmother’s famous “healing magic” could save her failing marriage while she and her family lived in the old house the summer of 2001. Instead, an unexpected tragedy ripped Angela’s family apart.
Now, two years later, Angela is moving past her grief and taking control of her life as a talent agent in Los Angeles, and she is finally ready to revisit the rural house she loved so much as a child. Back in Sacajawea, Angela realizes she hasn’t been the only one to suffer a shocking loss. Since she left, there have been more senseless tragedies, and Angela wonders if they are related somehow. Could the events be linked to a terrifying entity Angela’s grandmother battled in 1929? Did her teenage son, Corey, reawaken something that should have been left sleeping?
With the help of Myles Fisher, her high school boyfriend, and clues from beyond the grave, Angela races to solve a deadly puzzle that has followed her family for generations. She must summon her own hidden gifts to face the timeless adversary stalking her in her grandmother’s house — and in the Washington woods.