Novellas have been a vibrant and popular form of storytelling especially in the speculative genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. They’re an excellent way to get back into reading for fun since they’re long enough to give readers the detail and character development they crave without sacrificing a swift pace. They capture our attention in a brief and impactful way, a true indication of excellent writing.
In 2013 Neil Gaiman released the fantastic novella The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and it did well to kickstart this craze. A rich and well plotted book, it follows a man whose visit to his hometown awakens foggy memories of a summer packed with mystical and dreamlike happenings. Long-held claims of a mythical never-ending ocean leads the reader into a vibrant world of magical discovery.
More recent novellas have continued this tendency toward sci fi and horror genres. Every Heart a Doorway is a brilliant combination of fantastical occurrences mixed with self-discovery, in a way that’s reminiscent of the “The Chronicles of Narnia” series. Sent away to a home for children fantasy powers, Nancy must unravel the reason for her being there in order to return home. Other favorites from 2016 include The Ballad of Black Tom and This Census-taker, about a mysterious figure who saves a boy from an isolated hilltop village. 2017 has also seen a number of authors embrace this trend as Stephen King’s novella Gwendy’s Button Box, following the bizarre encounters of a young girl in New England, has just been released.