Book Club Nominees

Six Books That’ll Make You Side-Eye Your Devices

by HOWLS Gamers, curators of HOWLS Book Club nominees for December’s “404 Not Found” category

Technology brings us many wonders. We can now access the entirety of human knowledge with just a few clicks, we can see beauty from around the world, and cat pics. Always cat pics. But there is an ugly downside to technology. It can be a breeding ground for addictive behaviors, where, down the right rabbit-holes, we can descend into an unabated craving for violence and death. The internet is simultaneously the greatest gift to mankind, and its greatest evil. Here, we have a list of books compiled by those who understand technology most (or least if they enjoy COD): gamers.

Cover of The Metamorphosis Of Supreme Intellect by Roger Williams. Cover shows a circuit diagram in the shape of a butterfly.

The Metamorphosis Of Supreme Intellect by Roger Williams 

Nominated by @adam

In a time not far from our own, Lawrence sets out simply to build an artificial intelligence that can pass as human, and finds himself instead with one that can pass as a god. Taking the Three Laws of Robotics literally, Prime Intellect makes every human immortal and provides instantly for every stated human desire. Caroline finds no meaning in this life of purposeless ease, and forgets her emptiness only in moments of violent and profane exhibitionism. At turns shocking and humorous, Prime Intellect looks unflinchingly at extremes of human behavior that might emerge when all limits are removed. (Goodreads)

Artificial intelligence is the hot item right now. Every major tech company is racing to come up with the best artificial intelligence to drive us to a more sustainable future where humans don’t need to work 40 hours per week, and life is easy for all (or so they say.) Roger Williams runs a thought experiment on this future, where every human is immortal and provided for in their every need by AI. However, what measures will humans go to so they may rediscover purpose in their life? How far will we descend into violence and exhibitionism when all limits are removed and we struggle to feel anything at all?

If you are looking for a good horror video game, @adam recommends you play SOMA.

Bookshop* | Goodreads | Amazon

Cover of Lost Signals edited by Max Booth III. Cover shows the title of the book with the letters arranged vertically. Extending from the side of each letter is a squiggle, such as in a radio wave.

Lost Signals edited by Max Booth III  

Nominated by @Leviathan15

What’s that sound? Do you feel it?

The signals are already inside you. You never even had a chance.

Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing brings you Lost Signals, a tome of horror fiction featuring radio waves, numbers stations, rogue transmissions, and other unimaginable sounds you only wish were fiction. Forget about what’s hiding in the shadows, and start worrying about what’s hiding in the dead air. (Goodreads)

You may not notice it when you walk around, or maybe you do notice it and wonder what sounds just passed through you, but radio waves and transmissions surround us at all times. Mostly innocuous, we seem perfectly capable of living our lives in this environment, but what happens when the dead air that surrounds us becomes something else? In this anthology, we find out what the weird sounds and feelings are, when the technology we take for granted, decides to turn on us.

If you are looking for a good horror video game, @Leviathan15 recommends you play The Last Door.

Bookshop* | Goodreads | Amazon

Cover of The Between by Ryan Leslie.  Cover shows a skull distorted by static as if the skull is appearing in a TV set. behind the skull are words in the pixellated green of an old 90s era computer.

The Between by Ryan Leslie 

Nominated by @freelancegotsonherwritin’pants

While landscaping his backyard, ever-conscientious Paul Prentice discovers an iron door buried in the soil. His childhood friend and perpetual source of mischief, Jay Lightsey, pushes them to explore what’s beneath.

When the door slams shut above them, Paul and Jay are trapped in a between-worlds place of Escher-like rooms and horror story monsters, all with a mysterious connection to a command-line, dungeon explorer computer game from the early ’80s called The Between. (Goodreads)

We all have our fond memories of early video games from the 80s and 90s. Whether it is jumping on platforms and fighting turtles in Mario Bros, or slicing your way through many different rooms and levels in Castlevania, or running around everyone as Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl, those games introduced us to new entertainment that we could play for hours on end even though our protagonists die over and over again. However, when a mysterious door lets Jay and Paul inside an 80’s dungeon explorer game, they soon find that dying in a video game may be permanent.

If you are looking for a good horror video game, @freelancegotsonherwritin’pants recommends you play Until Dawn.

Bookshop* | Goodreads | Amazon

Cover of The Running Man by Richard Bachman. Cover shows a man running toward a giant target or bullseye. The target is black and red.

The Running Man by Richard Bachman

Nominated by @DunMiff

The Running Man is set within a dystopian future in which the poor are seen more by the government as worrisome rodents than actual human beings. The protagonist of The Running Man, Ben Richards, is quick to realize this as he watches his daughter, Cathy, grow more sick by the day and tread closer and closer to death. Desperate for money to pay Cathy’s medical bills, Ben enlists himself in a true reality style game show where the objective is to merely stay alive. (Goodreads)

In a future where poor people are seen more as rodents than as humans (which sounds kind of like the present), Ben’s daughter, Cathy, is getting sicker by the day, and her medical bills are too high, because this dystopian future is a lot like America. Ben decides to join a reality TV show so he can pay off Cathy’s medical bills, but if he loses, it means he dies. Perhaps a very relevant story to read, especially when Squid Game is the top show on Netflix, The Running Man is an analysis on how far poor people may be pushed under desperate circumstances. And how the rich use those struggles as a means to their own entertainment.

If you are looking for a good horror video game, @DunMiff recommends you play Outlast.

Bookshop* | Goodreads | Amazon

Cover of The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin. Cover shows a person walking toward a pyramid, such as in the pyramids of Giza. Rocks and boulders are hovering in the air, and some sort of symbol hovers in the sky above the pyramid.

The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin

Nominated by @Probable Hag

Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision. (Goodreads)

Largely considered a masterpiece from Chinese science-fiction and Hugo Award winner, The Three-Body Problem sees an alien race on the verge of destruction start planning an invasion of Earth. Those on Earth form different camps: some wanting to help overturn a corrupt world, and some looking to stop the alien invasion altogether. What ultimately sprawls into an impactful story of enormous scope, The Three-Body Problem raises the question on whether our world is worth saving from our interplanetary overlords.

If you are looking for a good horror video game, @Probable Hag recommends you play Sunless Skies.

Bookshop* | Goodreads | Amazon

Cover of Punktown by Jeffrey Thomas. Cover shows a distorted image of a face. A disembodied eye hovers in some sort of metal telescope. The background appears to be an industrial area.

Punktown by Jeffrey Thomas

Nominated by @Markthulhu

In the city they call Punktown, on a planet where a hundred sentient species collide, you can become a creator of clones. You can become a piece of performance art. You might even become a library of sorrows… (Goodreads)

In a far away planet with a hundred sentient species colliding, we find Punktown where you can become a performance art, or create clones, or… become a library of sorrows. This is a short story collection which transposes the worst and most desperate forms of humanity onto a town with many possibilities. What is described as a thoroughly depressing collection, with almost no hope, please feel free to enter Punktown. But beware, you may risk all joy and happiness in your life.

If you are looking for a good horror video game, @Markthulhu recommends you play Resident Evil 4.

Goodreads | Amazon

And The Winner Is…

Out of these six books, HOWLers voted to read The Between by Ryan Leslie. Join HOWL Society on Monday, December 6, 2021 to begin discussion!

About HOWLS Gamers: This team of compilers are the gamers of HOWL Society, the stalwart players of Dead by Daylight, Phasmophobia, Hades, and Animal Crossing. Animal Crossing isn’t a horror game, you say? I suppose Tom Nook’s stranglehold on real estate and iron grip on the economy in general doesn’t scare you? SMH.

Thea Maeve herded these cats. Find her streaming at

*The HOWLS affiliate storefront pays a 10% commission to HOWL Society and gives a matching 10% to independent bookstores

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