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Friday, February 2, 2018

Diverse Readalikes for Stephen King [updated 2.18]

In response to this Call to Action which I posted on RA for All, I am going to start a long term project to create author readalikes lists for popular horror authors for you to use at your library. As I also mentioned in that post, too many of our lists are not diverse. We put all the diverse authors in lists with other diverse authors and don’t mix them in with the authors they are most similar to. That is a very short paraphrasing of my longer post; click here for a lot more.

In that post I acknowledge that I am as guilty as everyone in this problem. And, as the main resource for library workers on horror, I should start solving the problem where I can.

Also, please note, “diverse” readalike lists does not mean only non-normative options will be here. True diversity includes all voices, white included.

I will also organize these readalike lists into their own page here and note the last time they were updated both for your information and also so I know when things are getting stale and need a new look. Also, my readalike authors will only include people who are alive and currently writing.

So where to begin? Well with Stephen King, of course.

Here is the thing about Stephen King, he is a bestselling author, read by everyone, even people who say they don’t like horror.  There are many reasons why people like him that the old school horror suggested readalikes lists don’t usually capture. So this new readalike list is not only more diverse in the traditional sense, but also, it is more broad in that it considers all of the reasons why people read King beyond his “horror” designation. 

Here is an excerpt from a longer piece I have written about King, available on NoveList:
These readalike options reflect this generalized appeal of King. Also the authors listed below were included precisely because like King, while the menacing tone is always underlying their stories [even those that are not outright horrific], they do not stick to one genre. They all write genre blends. What genre is blended with the “horror” and how much of each bleeds through differs, but the underlying anxiety, darkness, and unease is always there.

Readalikes for Stephen King
  • Margaret Atwood
  • Jeffrey Ford
  • Gillian Flynn
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Joe Hill
  • N.K. Jemisin
  • Stephen Graham Jones
  • Victor LaValle
  • Ken Liu
  • George R.R. Martin 
  • Robert McCammon
  • Bracken MacLeod
  • China Mieville
  • Haruki Murakami
  • Joyce Caroll Oates
  • Dan Simmons
  • Tananarive Due
  • Jeff VanderMeer
  • Sarah Waters
  • Connie Willis

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