- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 54 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: HarperAudio
- Audible.com Release Date: October 16, 2007
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000XE3XRA
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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20th Century Ghost: A Short Story from '20th Century Ghosts' Audiobook – Unabridged
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Joe Hill knows, breathes and lives for his chosen genre of horror fiction fantasy. This collection of his short stories gravitate to, and swirl around the macabe. Our imaginations fill with the unsaid, the unwritten and stuff the cracks with an even meatier substance.
Steve Greenberg saw Imogene Gilchrist in the Rosebud Theater when he was twelve. He became obsessed. Alec Sheldon knew that if the Rosebud closed down, the dead lady would fade away, a gossemer wisp strip, into oblivion.
These are just two tales of many in this, walk into the night terrors, and day sweats, of Joe Hill's imagination. The author is a master story teller who gives credit to his mother, Tabitha King, for instilling the love of words and their connotations into his formative years. I will certainly look for more. I have read S.K. and T.K over the years. Now, I will also enjoy spine tingles from Joe Hill.
I do think (and the following is also evident - to me - in NOS4A2) there there is a very subtle misogynist bent in his writing style. There is nothing overt, but I found myself, at times, on the verge of being offended during some of his exposition. There is nothing I can completely pinpoint or put my finger on, but I just felt it (so, I suppose it could just be me - any thoughts in response to this are welcome!); it was much like the unspoken reality which many women deal with daily. It's not stated bluntly, but you can feel and tend to react to the implication behind the situation. If this was on purpose, Mr. Hill, I applaud you - because it clearly garnered the reaction for which you may have been hoping. My two favorite stories within the collection were "Best New Horror" and "Scheherazade's Typewriter." I mention them here because not only did I really like the stories, I think, at least subconsciously, I didn't pick up on the tone I'm referring to in either. (An aside: I LOVED the story, "Thumbprints," it was well-written and the protagonist was not just well-fleshed out but *real* feeling.)
As far as reading the introduction first: I was INCREDIBLY excited to start the book. It was made to sound like each and every one of the stories were riveting and would have me biting my nails and... not so much... I think I may have appreciated the stories much more if weren't so... hyped.
That all being said: I liked the book. It was a good read. I would recommend it to any of whom enjoy this genre. Why isn't this a 5 star rating, then? In this vein of fiction, The Sparrow and Children of God (Mary Doria Russell) are 4 star books. To me, James Tiptree and Octavia Butler are 5 star authors. I do think that Hill has the potential to be a 4 star author (like, but not like, his father, as they do have very different writing styles and ... "vibes" is all I think.
My one knock on the collection of stories, and it’s a pretty big knock, is that the endings are so flat. Really great writing is rendered dull by some of the most predictable and uninspired closings I’ve ever read in the horror genre. It’s really too bad because Joe Hill can do so much better.
My advice is to buy the Kindle singles with the highest ratings to get a taste of the very best Joe Hill has to offer. It’ll be less expensive than buying the collection.