Short Spooks: 3 Frightening Story Collections

In the horror mood but not ready to commit to a whole novel? Into scary stories but looking for something a little bit shorter? Here are three short story collections to start the Halloween season out right!

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
$14.40, paperback

Her Body and Other Parties is the sort of anthology I wish existed when I was younger — intense, unapologetic, and angry. You owe it to yourself to read this book if you love: speculative fiction, short fiction, the feeling of slowly being haunted. Start with: “Especially Heinous,” an experimental novella that structures itself around Law and Order: SVU episode titles.

Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree, Jr.
$15.26, paperback

One of the great writers of New Wave science fiction, Tiptree (the pseudonym for Alice Sheldon) wrote stories that challenge how we think about gender, mortality, society and our tenuous connections to each other. While Tiptree’s works are science fiction through and through, many of them are also utterly terrifying. Start with: “Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death” for a truly alien love story, “The Screwfly Solution” for a story of a world in which men are suddenly and violently turning against women, or “A Momentary Taste of Being” for the most existentially haunting deep space exploration ever.

Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson
$14.40, paperback

Most famous for her short story “The Lottery” and her ghostly novel The Haunting of Hill House, all of Jackson’s work is worth checking out. Her stories are eerie and unsettlingly close, The Twilight Zone on one of its more ambiguous days. Psychological horror at its finest. Start with: “The Story We Used to Tell,” about a woman who gets lost in a painting.