content by

Leah Schnelbach

18 Spooky Stories Recommended by Our Favorite Classic Monsters

Surely nobody knows the horror genre better than the horrors themselves!

From the 1920s through the ’50s, Universal Pictures’ horror films ruled the silver screen, giving us classic portrayals of iconic monsters from Count Dracula to the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Whether you’ve seen the films or not, you know the creatures—the sinister predator, the curious monster, the transformed traveler, the cursed immortal, the mad scientist, and the tragic experiment.

So if you want a stack of books to sustain you through the rest of the Spooky Season, we’ve got recommendations directly from the Monsters…

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A Class Critique with IPods, Sears Catalogues, and Fairies: Kelly Link’s “The Summer People”

The Tor Dot Com Socially Distant Read Along is walking between a pair of apple trees and following a winding path through Kelly Link’s latest short story collection, Get in Trouble! Each Wednesday at 2PM EST we’re discussing a new story. Last week’s was “The Summer People”, and because I had a lot more to say after my time on Twitter was up, I figured I’d take a closer look at the way Link explores class and modernity via what is, at heart, a fairy tale.

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This Ghost Story Is a Love Story: The Haunting of Bly Manor

Let me open with a spoiler: the scariest monster in Bly Manor are a pair of pegged, tapered, pleated, high-waisted, light wash jeans.

Dani Clayton, Bly Manor’s newly-arrived au pair, wears these things in multiple scenes, and after marathoning the whole show on Friday I spent a sleepless night jolting awake out of nightmares where the jeans were somehow lighter and higher.

Not for the faint of heart.

On a slightly more serious note (but only slightly; those things are horrific) The Haunting of Bly Manor is as creeeepy and stylish as Flanagan’s take on The Haunting of Hill House. It has the same strong emotional core, and, I would argue, stick the landing better than its predecessor. My only true issue is that this is more of a “scary drama” than a true horror story.

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Go Further into Fandom with Media Tie-Ins for Avatar, Star Wars, and More!

Join some of the most loved creators of media tie-in works at work today! contributor and author Natalie Zutter speaks with F.C. Yee (Avatar: The Shadow of Kyoshi), Julie Murphy (Faith: Taking Flight), Jonathan Messinger (The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian series), Sheela Chari (The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel), Preeti Chhibber (Star Wars Clone Wars Anthology, A Jedi, You Will Be), and Matt Forbeck (Dungeons & Dragons: The Mad Mage’s Academy: An Endless Quest Book) about the ins and outs of expanding beloved fictional worlds.

Watch the whole panel here, and check out highlights below!

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A Few of our Favorite Authors Talk Fantasy Worldbuilding and Writing Advice!

A fabulous group of Penguin Teen authors came together to talk about Africanfuturism, Africanjujuism, reimagined Korean folklore, and, what else, the apocalypse! Check out this conversation between Nnedi Okorafor (Ikenga), Tochi Onyebuchi (Rebel Sisters), Kat Cho (Vicious Spirits), Lora Beth Johnson (Goddess in the Machine), and moderator and author Farrah Penn (Twelve Steps to Normal).

Watch the panel here and check out highlights below!

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Join the Cast and Crew of Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts for a Preview of the Final Season!

The final season of Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts hits Netflix on Monday, October 12th! Executive producers Radford Sechrist and Bill Wolkoff, story editors Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco, and voice cast members Karen Fukuhara (Kipo), Sydney Mikayla (Wolf), and Coy Stewart (Benson), came together to talk about the show, and preview season three at New York Comic-Con.

Watch the whole panel and click through for highlights!

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The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy Anthology Comes to New York Comic-Con!

Every year, The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy series collects some of the best examples of the genre, highlighting some of our greatest writers. This year’s anthology was guest edited by selected by Outlander author Diana Gabaldon and series editor John Joseph Adams. They’re joined by authors Charlie Jane Anders, Deji Bryce Olukotun, Rebecca Roanhorse, and moderator, author Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, for a conversation about the anthology, and that state of SFF. Watch the whole panel and check out highlights from the conversation below!

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Steven Universe Celebrates the End of an Era!

Steven Universe ended earlier this year, with an amazing finale season/epilogue that wrapped most of the plotlines up and delivered Steven and his friends into a hopeful future. New York Comic-Con hosted a virtual retrospective panel discussing the show and Chris McDonnell’s retrospective book, Steven Universe: End of an Era, with io9’s Charles Pulliam-Moore moderating a talk with Rebecca Sugar, McDonnell, Kat Morris, a writer/storyboard supervisor,/supervising director for the show, and Alonso Ramirez Ramos (a producer and director for Steven Universe Future).

You can watch the full panel, or check out a few highlights below!

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Jim Butcher, Jim Butcher’s Cat, and James Marsters Talk 20 Years of The Dresden Files!

The Dresden Files are hitting their 20th Anniversary! In celebration of this landmark, and the two newest books in the series, Peace Talks and Battle Ground, fan and audiobook narrator James Marsters spoke with author Jim Butcher about the books. You can watch the panel here (the two discuss translating noir into narration, jumping through different vocal registers, and Butcher’s plans for future books—including some spin off plans) and check out some panel highlights below!

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Nick Frost and Samson Kayo Hunt Ghosts (And Maybe Stop the Apocalypse) in Truth Seekers!

Truth Seekers is a comedy series about a team of paranormal investigators who hunt ghosts across the UK, but as their experiences get more intense, they begin to suspect that a larger conspiracy lurking in the wings—one that might bring about Armageddon itself. Gus (Nick Frost) starts a Youtube series called Truth Seekers partly to distract him from his boring job installing broadband connections, and partly in a surprisingly dark search for his deceased wife. His search hits a new level when he’s partnered with a young man named Elton (Samson Kayo), who reluctantly joins the ghost hunt, and the two men end up helping a woman named Astrid (Emma D’Arcy) with a frightening paranormal experience. As the stakes get higher, Elton’s sister Helen joins the group, along with Gus’ dad Richard.

Watch the full panel, and check out panel highlights below!

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A Definitive Ranking of All the Superhero Origin Movies I Could Remember

We’re about two decades into an era that history will remember as That Time Humans Demanded At Least Four Comic Book Movies A Year. (I’m guessing this era will be remembered for other things, too, but I’m trying to stay positive for once.) My colleagues and I talk about comics characters pretty much every day, and those conversations lead me to mull a specific type of comic book movie: the Superhero Origin Story.

Before I even knew what was happening, I found myself drawn, inexorably, as if by some force powerful destiny, to rank those stories. In reverse order from worst to best.

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Bilbo Baggins Is the Ultimate Icon of Self-Care

We’ve heard a lot of talk of self-care since the beginning of quarantine. For some, this has taken the form of face masks and day-drinking. For others it’s meant disconnecting from the internet as much as possible, or hurling themselves into cottagecore fantasies.

But we think these people are amateurs. You want self-care? Look no further than Bilbo Baggins.

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Bill and Ted Face the Music Made Me Cry, and It’s the Best I’ve Felt All Year

If you haven’t watched Bill and Ted Face the Music yet I recommend that you do so. In fact, if you haven’t watched any of the Bill and Ted movies in a while, I suggest you watch all three. Bill and Ted Face the Music is such a pure shot of joy, and such an epic reply to our current moment, that I think it might be exactly what this timeline needed right now.

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Building a Queer Catholic SpecFic Canon With Gideon the Ninth and The Young Pope

Let us assume, for the sake of this essay, that most of the really great things about Catholicism come from queerness. The focus on aesthetics, the dedication to DRAMA, the development of theater, the devotion to art and study, the clothing, all of Michelangelo’s painting and sculpture, the longing, the devotion.

Gideon the Ninth is both extremely queer and extremely Catholic.

[Gideon, The Young Pope, and The New Pope walk Into a bar]

A Few of Our Favorite Devils in SFF

The Devil is one of the greatest literary characters in human history. From Dante’s slobbering monster to Milton’s charming tyrant to Goethe’s cunning trickster, He Who Has So Many Names is the perfect antagonist—or, sometimes, the perfect tortured protagonist. It’s no wonder then that Old Scratch shows up so often in SFF film and television, often stealing the spotlight in scenery-chewing performances. We’ve got nearly 30 devils gathered below, but be sure to add your own picks in the comments!

[Wouldst Thou Like To List Deliciously?]

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