Women in Horror

Terence Rafferty’s horror column reappears in Sunday’s NYT Book Review (dated Nov. 4th, with Updike’s Widows of Eastwick on the cover). The column debuted in June, 2006 and was to appear “every few months.” It’s been quite a few months since the last one appeared, in January of this year (Rafferty has been at work on his day job; reviewing films for the NYT).

Rafferty introduced the first column with this compelling explanation of what attracted him to horror,

When I was a kid, I preferred detective stories because (I now think) they spoke to my belief that with enough experience and knowledge, I’d be able to figure out the world. Since that no longer seems realistic, I’ve become more focused on the ever expanding list of things reason will never satisfactorily answer — and that’s the territory of horror.

Maybe it’s the long absence that explains why he takes on takes on such a large subject for a single column; women horror writers, beginning with Mary Shelley. He manages to narrow the subject by dismissing several popular women writers (e.g., Laurell K. Hamilton, Stephenie Meyer and even Anne Rice) as having nothing to do with what he regards as horror; books that frighten the reader.

Of the women “doing some of the most original and freshly unnerving work in the genre,” Rafferty includes the following (none of which would be found on the new books shelves):


Sara Gran 


  • Paperback: $6.99; 192 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade (May 2, 2006)
  • ISBN-10: 0425210316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425210314


Alexandra Sokoloff


  • Mass Market Paperback: 6.99; 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks; (December 2, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0312357508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312357504


Sarah Langan

 The Keeper

  • Mass Market Paperback: $6.99; 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch (August 29, 2006)
  • ISBN-10: 006087290X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060872908

 Sarah Langan


  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (September 25, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 0060872918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060872915


Elizabeth Hand


  • Paperback: $14; 300 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest Books;  (April 14, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0156031345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156031349


Elizabeth Hand


  • Paperback: $14.95; 325 pages
  • Publisher: M Press; 1st M Press Ed edition (December 27, 2006)
  • ISBN-10: 1595820965
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595820969


Elizabeth Hand


  • Paperback: $6.99; 206 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse; (December 19, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 1595820353
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595820358

One Response to “Women in Horror”

  1. Alexandra Sokoloff Says:

    Thanks so much for the mention! It’s a huge honor to be considered in the same essay with three of my most important influences – Mary Shelley, Shirley Jackson, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, along with three of my favorite contemporary authors – Langan, Gran and Hand.

    I just wanted to clarify, since this is a library publication, that
    THE PRICE is available now in hardcover as well, from St. Martin’s Press, $23.95

    ISBN 13: 978-0312-35751-1
    ISBN 10: 0-312-35751-6

    Alexandra Sokoloff