Reading List: Matt Ruff’s 5 favorite books that mix real and supernatural horrors

With Reading List, The A.V. Club asks one of our favorite pop-culture creators to describe a list of reading materials that are tied together by a singular theme.

The reader: Storytellers have used science fiction and horror to comment on real-world issues since the categories were invented, borrowing the tropes and frameworks of the genres to illuminate something deeper about their core themes. But in some cases, the authors don’t choose one or the other, instead combining fantastical elements to an otherwise straightforward story to amplify their point of view. Matt Ruff is an expert in this subgenre. His previous book, The Mirage, was an alternate-history look at the War On Terror, while his latest, Lovecraft Country, brilliantly uses the horror genre to probe the sins of America’s racial past. The book pits its black protagonists against not simply the monsters of H.P. Lovecraft’s literary …

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