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20th Century Ghosts Paperback – September 16, 2008
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“Alternately sad, scary, strange and at times even sweet, these tales will haunt you long after you’ve read them.” (Parade (a "Parade Pick"))
“[A] lovely, earnest collection of short fiction.” (Village Voice)
“[O]ne of the best [horror] collections of the year. Hill is a relative newcomer who consistently creates creepy, very disturbing stories.” (Locus)
“Each tale is unique, and the collection proves that Hill’s talent is not limited to horror, but extends well into the mainstream.” (Denver Rocky Mountain News)
“[An] inventive collection . . . brave and astute.” (New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice))
“[A] new take on the fantasy-horror genre...Highly recommended.” (The Sun Herald (Sydney, Australia))
“The selections range from the mundane to the surreal, with a strong emphasis on the kind of horror tale perfected by Ray Bradbury, Peter Straub and Stephen King.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“This solid, inventive, scary collection of stories reveals a writer who has thought hard about the problematics of horror.” (New York Times on 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS)
“Each of these chilling tales arrests you from the opening sentence and leads you — trustingly, thanks to the simple mastery of the story-teller — into a place of gulping fear.” (Daily Mail (London) on 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS)
“Subtle and disturbing in equal measure.” (Coventry Telegraph on 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS)
From the Back Cover
Imogene is young, beautiful . . . and dead, waiting in the Rosebud Theater one afternoon in 1945. . . .
Francis was human once, but now he's an eight-foot-tall locust, and everyone in Calliphora will tremble when they hear him sing. . . .
John is locked in a basement stained with the blood of half a dozen murdered children, and an antique telephone, long since disconnected, rings at night with calls from the dead. . . .
Nolan knows but can never tell what really happened in the summer of '77, when his idiot savant younger brother built a vast cardboard fort with secret doors leading into other worlds. . . .
The past isn't dead. It isn't even past. . . .
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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.
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.