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This list of space horror books was originally published in our science fiction and fantasy newsletter Swords & Spaceships. Sign up here to receive sci-fi and fantasy news, reviews, offers, and more!

I noticed that the Halloween-themed Friday Free Association are all geared towards the fantasy side of things (aside from science fiction writers, bring it together. I want some ghosts in space! And other space witches than the one I wrote!). So this time it’s all sci-fi or at least sci-fantasy for our slightly horror-tasteful offerings.

Salvation Day by Kali Wallace

The House of Wisdom was a huge exploration ship; Now it’s a ghost ship that was abandoned for a decade because of a deadly virus outbreak on board, and all of its crew – minus one – killed in a matter of hours. Every possible shipwreck has a rich destination, and all they have to do to accomplish it is not worry about the disease’s survival potential … and kidnap the only survivor of the disaster whose genetic code allows entry to the ship. Zahra leads a ship’s crew brave (and stupid) enough to do just that … but none of them are prepared for what to expect on board.

Toxic by Lydia Kang

The Bioship Cyclo holds many secrets – one of them is Hana, a child who is hidden by her mother in a secret room until one day the entire crew simply disappears. But the Cyclo is also meant to die, and a group of mercenaries were sent to watch her die. One of the mercenaries befriends Hana, and the two must figure out how to survive the dying ship and all the secrets that the human government would like to die with her.

The book cover of Luminous Dead

The glowing dead of Caitlin Starling

An expedition to map mineral deposits promises worldly dangers such as malfunction of equipment and collapses of the cave. The fat paycheck seems to be worth the risk for Gyre … until she gets Em as her surface contact. Em who has no problem manipulating her with drugs, withholding information, and blackmailing her. And there’s more to the caves than just gyre – there’s the tunneler that calls you home and the ghosts in your own head that keep getting louder.

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Blindsight by Peter Watts

Two months ago, 65,000 alien objects covered the Earth’s atmosphere, shouting that people would be watched for a brief second before they burned up in the atmosphere. After those days of tense silence, a near-malfunctioning probe is picking up a strange signal – but it’s not there to talk to us. Something comes and it doesn’t care about humanity. The only hope of attempting first contact with a disinterested alien spirit is to send a group of people who seem alien to their own species and hope that they can deal with what is waiting for them.

Cover image of Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

Human civilization is dying, and the key to saving it could be in the hold of the USS John Muir, a piece of earth that was taken from the planet long before the strait got this bad. The crew of the John Muir have been in cryogenic sleep for centuries and have no idea what’s going on … but that’s not a problem for the ship robber Laura Cruz. But soon they and the no longer sleeping crew have another, immediate problem: extraterrestrial monsters that can kill with a sound.

Ring by Koji Suzuki, translated by Glynne Walley

You may be familiar with the films that produced this book – the evil videotape that kills, the mysterious monster named Sadako that crawls out of your TV. But the deadly threat that kills in seven days has an entirely different – and much more science fiction – origins in the book and a much more tragic and terrifying story. I will also note that this is one of the best translations from Japanese that I have ever read that was not a Murakami novel.