It is all too easy to imagine what terrors there are for us in the deep of the ocean, or adrift on a boat at sea. Some of the creatures that really do exist are scary enough, but horror writers don’t stop with what’s real, because that would be nonfiction. No, instead they magnify our fears by confronting us with giant monsters from the deep, supernatural predators who have us trapped in a boat, and even the things we do to each other in our most desperate moments.
The Monster Librarian used to tell a story about watching Jaws on a field trip for a college class in marine biology, just before a day of scuba diving. I’m going to suggest that you save these books for rainy days when you’re far away from dangerous waters, but given the sensibilities of the average horror reader, perhaps they’ll turn out to be perfect beach reads.
Jaws by Peter Benchley
The classic novel of deep sea monster terror: killer shark vs. man. Steven Spielberg made it into a blockbuster movie that changed popular culture and brought sharks into the spotlight. I’m not sure that this was the best method to bring about support for shark conservation, but Benchley continues to advocate for the protection of sharks through educating fans of the book.
Dead Sea by Tim Curran
A cargo ship drifts into the Bermuda Triangle into another dimension, where the travelers must contend with alien and undead creatures. I hear great things about this book: it was released originally as a limited edition but is now available as an ebook. For just the rest of today it is .99.
Sadie Walker is Stranded by Madeline Roux
In this post-apocalyptic tale, Sadie, her nephew, and her best friend, escape Seattle with a motley crew of others via boat just as the undead breach the walls. Unfortunately, the zombies can swim. Eventually, stranded on a desert island, they find that not only do they have to contend with zombies, but there is a human monster in their midst. This is a sequel to Allison Hewitt is Trapped, which is a stronger book, I think, and I recommend reading it first, since, while she doesn’t appear in the book, she does have an important role in the development of the plot.
The Map of The Sky by Felix J. Palma
The Map of the Sky is a sequel to The Map of Time, and is more on the science-fictiony end of things. The Map of Time took place in the Victorian era, around the events of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, while The Map of The Sky takes place after the publication of The War of the Worlds. The beginning, which takes place in Antarctica, borrows from the John Campbell novella “Who Goes There?”. An explorer determined to discover the entrance to Symmes’ Hollow Earth leads his ship’s crew into danger after they discover an alien creature that can change its appearance. H.G. Wells and Edgar Allan Poe both make appearances, as do characters from the previous book. There is humor, the supernatural, a surprising love story, and alien horror. While it has been criticized as being less strong than The Map of Time, it is a fascinating and suspenseful read. I have read this one, and I do think it can stand alone, but readers may want to start with The Map of Time. This is also a great way to connect readers to early science fiction such as Wells and Campbell, and to introduce John Carpenter’s The Thing.
Night of the Crabs by Guy N. Smith
Guy N. Smith’s Crabs novels move at a brisk pace. They sacrifice character development, dialogue, and general common sense in favor of campiness and killer animal mayhem. Night of the Crabs is the first of a series. It starts with mysterious drownings along the coast of Wales… and then, the crabs come out from the depths. Readers who like Smith’s Crabs books will probably also like Clickers by J.F. Gonzalez and Mark Williams, and Crustaceans by William Meikle. Note: It’s best to buy this on Kindle, because physical copies look to be selling for around $250 on Amazon right now.