10 Dark Fantasy & Sci-Fi Novellas to Read in One Weekend

Erica Marta Ball
6 min readNov 6, 2021

All are under 200 pages long

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh, 112 pages

A magical forest by the name of Greenhollow is home to a mysterious guardian named Tobias or, as the locals call him, The Wild Man of the woods. The delicate balance of Tobias’s life is suddenly upset when the old house on the estate is bought by a man named Henry Silver. Silver is fascinated by folklore and goes digging for the facts behind the local Wild Man legends. But what he unearths goes beyond the laws of nature, into the dark heart of the wood itself, and darker tales of magic, betrayal, and transformation. A sequel, Drowned Country, came out in the summer of 2020. The winner of the 2020 World Fantasy Award! (1)

Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant, 123 pages

There’s a rumor that real mermaids can be found deep in the Mariana Trench. When a crew sets out to try to capture the phenomena for a sensationalist documentary, they sail right into a horror scene. There are no survivors. What is left are partial reports, confusing footage showing some sort of terrible creature, and a debate over whether the whole thing is a massive hoax. A full-length sequel Into the Drowning Deep was published in 2017, and a movie adaptation was announced in 2018. Author Mira Grant also writes as Seanan McGuire. (2)

All Systems Red by Martha Wells, 144 pages

The first in a new series by a popular author. A half-human construct becomes bored with their work as a security unit for a scientific team. They hack their own software so they can binge-watch media content in the background, while they’re supposed to be working. But, when the team they are protecting seem to become the target of sabotage, Murderbot (as they call themselves) must focus. Grudgingly, they are determined to protect their humans, figure out what’s going on, and save them all. Winner of the 2018 Hugo Award for Best Novella, the 2018 Nebula Award for Best Novella, the 2018 Locus Award. (3)