Toronto in Horror Literature
Speculative fiction fan Karen Bennett has created a wonderfully comprehensive survey of Toronto in science fiction, fantasy, and horror literature at Fantastic Toronto. These novels and stories, organized by author, take place in the city or mention Toronto sites in at least some scenes. She identifies over 100 authors, many with multiple works. To build on her list, which was compiled as of 2012, here are some subsequent publications to note:
Bellevue Square (2017) — by Michael Redhill
A darkly comic thriller about a woman who fears for her sanity—and then her life—when she learns that her doppelganger has appeared in a local Toronto park. Simple, compelling prose; sudden plot twists; looming violence; and a female narrator who swiftly proves unreliable.
Dream Caster (The Dream Cycle, Volume 1) (2013) — by Najeev Raj Nadarajah
Haunted by memories of his massacred settlement, sixteen-year-old Weaver seeks cover in a hidden refuge among the remains of a ruined city (post-war Toronto). In the midst of building a new life, Weaver discovers that he has the amazing power to cast his dreams into reality. Then he learns of a mysterious man who shares the ability, and uses his power to bring nightmares into the world.
Experimental Film (2015) — by Gemma Files
Former film critic Lois Cairns attends a program of experimental film in Toronto, and notices what might be a major discovery. Could an early twentieth-century socialite who mysteriously disappeared have been one of Canada’s first female movie-makers? Lois’s quest to discover the truth endangers her life, and she’s tormented by an existential nightmare out of Wendish folklore.
The Midnight Games (2015) — by David Neil Lee
When Nate sneaks into Ivor Wynne Stadium to check out the midnight games that are keeping his neighbourhood up at night, he knew something wasn’t right, but he had no idea how strange, and deadly, things would be. This young adult novel, set in gritty, post-industrial Hamilton (40 minutes south of Toronto), blends the horror of H.P. Lovecraft with the pace of a modern mystery.
Red X (2021) — by David Demchuk
Men are disappearing from Toronto’s gay village. They’re the marginalized, the vulnerable. One by one, stalked and vanished, they leave behind small circles of baffled, frightened friends. But as the missing grow in number, those left behind begin to realize that whoever or whatever is taking these men has been doing so for longer than is humanly possible.
Shockadelica (2021) — by Jon O’Bergh
Two horror podcasters—drag artist Kendall Akande and best friend Jenna Chen—share a passion for art, fashion, and horror. When they learn their Toronto apartment building might be haunted, they see an opportunity for an entertaining podcast episode. But as they investigate further with the help of their quirky neighbors, they uncover something far more sinister.
Station Eleven (2015) — by Emily St. John Mandel
After a devastating flu pandemic wipes out most of civilization, Kirsten Raymonde lives between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians dedicated to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band’s existence. The story begins with one of the characters watching a play at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre.