- Publisher: PS Publishing; 1st edition (2006)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B002WTC98S
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 465 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,308,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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20th Century Ghosts Paperback – 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
After the release of Hill's acclaimed novel Heart-Shaped Box, this collection of his short fiction, originally published in Britain two years ago made its way to the United States. Hill, the son of horror master Stephen King, runs a diverse gamut that includes some unapologetic chillers along the lines of the book's title story. Yet the essence of his material could best be described as a hybrid that connects the ironic twists from episodes of The Twilight Zone with the angst and vulnerability of childhood and adolescence. David LeDoux, whose previous audiobook credits include Douglas Coupland's Hey Nostradamus! and Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants, demonstrates an especially keen knack for capturing the cadence of teen and young adult male speech patterns, with equal parts deadpan cool and quivering tension. Hill's novella Voluntary Committal provides a sublime experience of jarring suspense and compelling family drama. Admittedly, a few of the briefer works may leave listeners longing for more fully developed story lines, but Hill consistently manages to evoke emotional responses and provoke unsettling questions, which makes for a worthwhile experience.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“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 )
“Irresistible stories.” (Evening Herald (Ireland) ) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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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.