Novel Novellas

Posted on March 2, 2021

by Jules H

I’m a sucker for novellas and short books. If it’s a well-structured, engaging story that I can read in one or two sittings I’m a happy person. I’m equally fond of weird fiction. Any book that tries something new and isn’t afraid to defy genre has my attention.

If you’re similarly inclined, you should check out this list of fiction books that are just a little out there, and under 200 pages long. Each one is more than worth a tiny bit of your time.

Cover of The Warren

The Warren

By Brian Evenson

Length: 95 pages

If you enjoy both sci-fi and rambling philosophical inquiry, I have just the book for you! This story follows an unnamed protagonist (referred to as ”X”) who struggles to understand what it means to be human in a post-human world. Full of subtle, creeping suspense, this book is sure to keep you hooked until the final page.

Cover of Mapping the Interior

Mapping the Interior

By Stephen Graham Jones

Length: 131 pages

Junior is a young man haunted by the ghost of his father. When this ghost begins to take physical form and encounters with it become increasingly dangerous, Junior must find a way to keep his family safe. This book is certainly in a class all its own and well worth the read.

Cover of The Ballad of Black Tom

The Ballad of Black Tom

By Victor LaValle

Length: 149 pages

Charles Thomas Tester (Tommy) is a New York native. With his guitar, some wit and an eye for magic, he hustles to make ends meet for himself and his father. But when Tommy is hired to deliver a mysterious tome to a sorceress in Queens, he is thrown into the middle of a conspiracy more dangerous than any he has encountered before.

Cover of Roadside Picnic

Roadside Picnic

By Arkady Strugatsky and Boris Strugatsky

Length: 145 pages

An alien race has mysteriously come and gone, leaving behind radiated “zones” which are littered with strange artifacts and deadly traps. The brave souls who venture in to retrieve these artifacts may not make it out alive. This book is supremely strange and packs an emotional punch. No wonder it’s a sci-fi classic.

Cover of Agents of Dreamland

Agents of Dreamland

By Caitlin Kiernan

Length: 112 pages

In a ranch house near Winslow, Arizona, cult members calling themselves the Children of the Next Level are unwittingly led to unleash nameless horrors upon the Earth. What will become of these cult members once their work has come to fruition? What about the rest of the planet? This is the first book in a series, so if you like this one, there’s even more to read!

Cover of Every Heart A Doorway

Every Heart A Doorway

By Seanan McGuire

Book on CD   |   eBook   |   eAudio

Length: 174 pages

Have you ever wondered what happened to Dorothy after she returned to Kansas? Or Alice after she woke up from her daydream? Every Heart A Doorway reimagines characters from classic children’s literature as disenfranchised youth who are sent to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children to come to terms with their new reality. This is the first book in a series, so if you like this one, there’s even more to read!

Cover of Convenience Store Woman

Convenience Store Woman

By Sayaka Murata

Book on CD   |   eBook   |   eAudio

Length: 163 pages

This book tells the story of a woman named Keiko who has finally found where she belongs: the local convenience store, where she has worked for 18 years. The convenience store takes out all of life’s guesswork: it tells her what to wear, when to sleep, and how to act towards customers. But the arrival of a new employee may throw Keiko’s ordered world into chaos.

Cover of The Vegetarian

The Vegetarian

By Han Kang

eBook   |   eAudio

Length: 188 pages

This is the story of a young wife named Yeong-hye who, after recurring nightmares, decides to give up eating meat. While Yeong-hye’s vegetarianism proves an effective solution to these nightmares, it makes her the target of harsh criticism and ­rejection from her friends and family. This story is a surreal little drama that you won’t want to put down.

Cover of The Hearing Trumpet

The Hearing Trumpet

By Leonora Carrington

Length: 199 pages

Leonora Carrington was a surrealist painter whose works were prominent in the 1930s. As it turns out, her writing is just as surreal as her paintings are. In this book a 92-year-old woman named Marian is given a hearing trumpet, which she uses to discover her family’s plan to send her away. The events to follow get stranger and stranger, from houses shaped like mushrooms and cakes to sinister cults.

Cover of All Systems Red

All Systems Red

By Martha Wells

eBook   |   eAudio

Length: 144 pages

The protagonist in this story is a security cyborg with a penchant for snark and soap operas. The cyborg (who refers to itself as “Murderbot”) will have to learn to get along with its human colleagues to track down a missing exploration team. This is the first book in a series so if you like this one there’s even more to read!

Cover of The Strange Library

The Strange Library

By Haruki Murakami

eBook   |   Book on CD

Length: 92 pages

This is the shortest book in my list and certainly one of the strangest. Here we follow a young boy, a mysterious girl, and a sheep man (yes, a sheep man) as they fight to escape from a nightmarish library. This book is full of adventure and whimsy, with accompanying illustrations that make this an unforgettable read.

I hope you have enjoyed this curation of strange, short fiction books. While these books won’t take you long to read, they will certainly stick with you long after you have turned the final page. Happy reading!

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