Best Novels and Short Stories about Monsters

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Monsters have been featured in literature for centuries, whether in horror novels or myths and legends. Readers have been delighted, scared and intrigued by the dangerous creatures that lurk in the pages of books and by the heroes who take on the challenge of facing them. Whether it’s a tale of a misunderstood monster or a terrifying force of evil, there is something captivating about stories featuring monsters.

Here is a list of the best novels and short stories about monsters that have been luminaries of literature, providing some of the most thrilling and captivating entertainment around.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

One of the earliest novels to make the best-of list is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Published in 1818, this gothic horror novel tells the story of Dr. Victor Frankenstein, who brings a creature to life with stolen body parts and electricity. Soon enough, the creature escapes and terrorizes Frankenstein and the creatures around him. Shelley touches on the idea of life and death, the consequences of tampering with Creation, and a fear of the unknown that has fascinated readers over two centuries.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

This 1897 novel by Bram Stoker introduces the world to one of the most iconic monsters of all time; Count Dracula. A mysterious immortal being, Dracula is a vampire who preys upon the living, seeking blood to keep him alive. The novel follows Dr.Jonathan Harker as he attempts to battle Dracula, fighting against his own guilt and inner weaknesses along the way. As a tale of horror, suspense and supernatural beings, it has become to be seen as a classic of horror literature that has inspired dozens of spinoffs, films and theatrical adaptations.

The Summer People by Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson’s 1949 short story, ‘The Summer People’, is a psychological horror story about Hannah and her family’s dealings with the summer people. When her family moves to a cottage for the summer, Hannah is soon surrounded by a mysterious force that causes eerie, ghostly visions and a fear of the unknown. This is a masterful exploration of fear, humanity’s need to belong and the power of the unknown.

The Willows by Algernon Blackwood

Published in 1907, Algernon Blackwood’s novella ‘The Willows’ is one of the earliest works of supernatural horror. The story follows two friends on a camping trip who experience strange visions and sounds while surrounded by a mysterious force in the middle of the woods. It is a thrilling exploration of the unknown and how it can warp the perception of reality, creating a sense of paranoia and the cryptic power of supernatural forces.

It by Stephen King

Stephen King’s 1986 horror novel, ‘It’, is one of the most iconic works of horror to feature a monster. The story follows a group of childhood friends, now adults, as they return to their hometown to confront the monstrous being known as It. It is an ancient entity that manifests itself in different forms and terrorizes the people of Derry, Maine. It is a great blend of horror, suspense and psychological terror, making it one of the most celebrated novels of its kind.

The The Harrowing by Robert McCammon

Published in 1988, Robert McCammon’s ‘The Harrowing’ is a unique monster novel. The story follows a small town plagued by supernatural creatures that come from a parallel realm. These creatures, known as ‘the Harrowing’, are attracted to people’s negative emotions and inflict their own brand of terror on the townfolk. It is an exciting horror story that is full of unexpected twists and an intriguing mythology that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Other Notable Novels and Short Stories About Monsters

In addition to the already mentioned works, these other novels and short stories about monsters should not be overlooked either:

The Call of Cthlulhu by H.P. Lovecraft

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman


The Shadow Over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft

The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms by Ray Bradbury

The Open Boat by Stephen Crane

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Stories about monsters have been captivating readers for centuries. From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to Stephen King’s It, these books have proven time and time again that there is something irresistible about a tale of strong heroes facing up against terrifying creatures of the night. Whether it’s a legendary monster like Count Dracula or a mysterious force of creature like The Harrowing, these compelling stories will prove hard to put down for all tastes in literature.

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