9 Mind-Blowing Eco-Horror Books to Make You Question Nature

If you’re a horror lover who wants a bit of realism and a dash of nature in your read, we’ve got just the recs for you!

Horror Recommendations
two eco-horror book covers on a dark blue background with lightening and trees

Nothing captures the darkness of our imagination better than what mysterious creatures lie shrouded in the shadows of our forests. For many centuries, tales of ancient spirits, encounters with unexplained creatures, and mysterious disappearances at sea and in the mountains have captured various types of media. From ghostly reality shows to podcasts interviewing real people who have seen legendary cryptids, the ever-present power and mystery of nature has captured our minds and hearts.

Readers of modern horror cannot deny the rise of lesser-known genres like folk and eco-horror. Both enrapture us with dark tales of nature’s unknowns. Sometimes, though, finding the perfect tale of nature behaving badly can be heard due to the size of such a genre.

Fear not, dear readers, we are no different and have you covered! Make your camping trip more terrifying by adding these spine-tingling tales to your backpack!

The Ruins by Scott Smith

Cover to The Ruins by Scott Smith

Scott Smith does an amazing job of combining folk horror with the dark side of nature. Set in Mexico, this novel follows a group of friends who adventure to a crumbling set of Mayan ruins isolated in the middle of the jungle. When they arrive at the ruins, they face otherworldly forces where nature longs for blood, and the locals aren’t willing to let their sacrifices leave the ruins’ poisoned ground. It’s the perfect camping read that will leave readers chilled and wondering if that friendly vine is about to drag them into the darkness.

The Troop by Nick Cutter

Book cover for Nick Cutter's The Troop

Any fan of eco-horror is incredibly familiar with Nick Cutter’s popular work. You only have to speak with those who have encountered this amazing author’s work to learn they will agree The Troop is unsettling in every sense of the word. The story follows a Boy Scout troop who takes a trip to an isolated island. After running into a mysterious stranger, their world turns upside down in an Aliens meets mad science. Cutter does an amazing job at tapping into mankind’s fear of parasitic invasion and the reality that nature can’t be controlled, no matter how much science likes to tell itself otherwise.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Book cover for Josh Malerman's Bird Box

Sandra Bullock fans unite! What eco-horror list would be complete without Bird Box? Though an older title, Bird Box has re-captured the public eye with the recent release of the Netflix adaptation of this truly unsettling novel. Malerman does a tremendous job by embracing one of horror’s most powerful tools: the unseen terror in this riveting tale of a mother trying to keep her children safe from invisible monsters capable of driving you mad the moment you set your eyes on them. It’s the perfect combination of the human condition versus nature and the ideal companion on your nature outings.

The Silence by Tim Lebbon

Book cover for Tim Lebbon's The Silence

Tim Lebbon’s impact on nature horror comes to life in The Silence. This terrifying creature feature joins Netflix’s growing list of novel to screen adaptations and grips the reader from page one. The story follows Aly, a deaf girl used to living in a world of silence. Since the creatures of this tale are blind and hunt primarily by sound, Aly’s family must use their daughter’s unique gift to fight for survival in a chaotic world. This is a unique tale because of the representation of deafness and gives a decent look into what life would be like living in a world where silence kept you alive. The movie enhances the novel by embracing conflict in a dystopian setting. A must read for nature horror lovers looking for a truly inspirational tale.

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher

Book cover for T. Kingfisher's What Moves the Dead

T. Kingfisher has made quite a name for herself in the world of nature horror and What Moves the Dead is definitely one horror fans rave about on social media. In book one, we get a loose re-interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher complete with the iconic characters of Roderick and Madeline Usher. The protagonist is a retired soldier and friend of the plagued Usher family who visits and learns that Madeline has begun suffering from delusions and is sleep-walking through the night. Kingfisher’s devotion to the unsettling comes to life when Alex learns not all is as it seems and the true nature of Usher home reveals itself in ways Alex didn’t expect. Vivid imagery and the old mansion tip their hats to Poe’s classic horror tale. The story recently received a much-anticipated sequel and is a wonderful continuation of a remarkably macabre series.

Whalefall by Daniel Kraus

Book cover for Daniel Kraus's Whalefall

A truly wonderful, well-written tale, Whalefall is one readers of nature horror should add to their lists. What makes this story of a son hidden beneath the shadow of his father so beautiful is how the author weaves a coming-of-age story into a terrifying situation no one would want to find themselves in. A scuba diving trip turns sour when Jay Gardiner, our protagonist, finds himself stuck between two great beasts’ battles for survival and trapped in the belly of a massive sperm whale.

Evil Roots: Killer Tales of the Botanical Gothic by Daisy Butcher

Book cover for Evil Roots: Killer Tales of the Botanical Gothic by Daisy Butcher

Time to dive into the classic with this collection of short stories centralized around one theme: terror in plant form. Each story is more unsettling than the last and is a must-read for readers who love a nice, quick read and are fans of The Ruins or What Moves the Dead. From women crafted from wild roots to man eating venus fly traps, lovers of nature horror will find something creepy within these twisted roots.

A Botanical Daughter by Noah Medlock

Book cover for Noah Medlock's A Botanical Daughter

Frankenstein meets nature horror in this LGBTQ gothic fiction following two men living in isolation and looking for a way to break into the world of natural science. Well, one of them is. The ambitious Gregor longs to share his genius with the Royal Horticultural Society in an unaccepting Victorian World, only to find that there is a terrible flaw in his plan: nature refuses to be controlled, and the creator soon becomes the toy of the creation.

Chlorophobia: An Eco-Horror Anthology by A. R. Ward

Book cover of A.R. Ward's Chlorophobia

Another short story collection focused completely on eco horror by multiple authors. From undiscovered plants hidden deep in the jungle to a dangerous fog capable of decimating a seaside town, Chlorophobia is a wonderful collection of a rising sub-genre where nature behaves badly by showing her blood-lust and proving she will not be controlled no matter how hard mankind might try to say or do otherwise.

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