20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

Purchased:  April 18, 2008
Read:  May 2008
20th Century Ghosts
by:Joe Hill


Published by: William Morrow

Genre: Horror

Pages: 336

Author’s Website: www.joehillfiction.com

Author’s Twitter:

Recommendable for people who:
enjoy ghost stories, short stories, fiction

The Book:
Collection of short stories by author Joe Hill.

Has won:
20TH CENTURY GHOSTS received the Bram Stoker Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the International Horror Guild Award for best collection, while the story that closes the book, “Voluntary Committal,” won the 2006 World Fantasy Award for Best Novella. Look for it this October, from William Morrow in the US, and Orion in the UK.

My Thoughts:
I’m not going to review EACH of the stories in the book, but I will talk about the ones that randomly “pop” out in my memory.

The first story in the book called “ButtonBoy” I thought was very good.  I need a story to suck me right in if there is going to be any hope of me finishing the book, and “ButtonBoy” did just that.  Without giving away too much of the story, I will say it did have a Texas Chainsaw Massacre/Hills Have Eyes kind of vibe.  I really like that.  The story within the story was actually really good too, and I could see it really being book of its own. LOL.   Though I saw the ending coming a mile a way, it still had me *fingers on – ready to turn the page before I got there*.

The next story, “20th Century Ghost“, wasn’t to me horror but more a suspense type story.  Had that been what I was in the mood for I would have really liked it.  But I was laying in the dark, snuggled up under my covers, itching to have the hair stand up on my neck and jump at every odd sound.  This story wasn’t that – for me.  I will say this one would be a fantastic read for anyone who likes ghost stories, but really isn’t into scary or gory stuff.  its actually quite beautiful, but definitely not horror.

The last story I’m going to talk specifically about today is “Pop Art“.  This story is, different. lol.  Ok, I have to say it, for a story in what is supposed to be a horror story book – it sucked.  When I got what the title meant, I got excited and really expected some evil ending.  What I got was moosh.  The story is touching and actually, it made me tear up a little.  That made me mad.  I wasn’t looking for tears, I was looking for fears.  lol…  Nothing scary about it, at all.  Even the Cujo-esque escape to me, was lame.  But if you are looking to feel all warm and fuzzy, and want to get a story with a little “deep” in between the lines raw emotion brought on by the remembrances and cruelties and emotions of what childhood with a dysfunctional family is like, then… YOU will LOVE this one.   Damn you Joe Hill.  lol.

Ok, it wasn’t the last.  I want to talk about “Abraham’s Boys”.  If you do not read any other story in the book, this one makes it worth the price of the book.  It is a vampire story and in my opinion, the BEST story in the book.  A father’s forbidden study and children’s loss of innocence.  You can actually read the story HERE, but I hope you will support this fantastic author by purchasing his book too.

Now, given my scorecard, you may think I am not liking this book.  That is actually inaccurate.  So far, I am a Hill fan.  I think he has a great grasp of language, and his stories all have an excellent flow.  They all ebb, tide, and climax at the most proper points.  My disappointment is, however, that this book is listed as horror.  Over half of the stories inside are NOT horror.  When you are a horror fan, and you pick up a horror book, you do not want to feel all “warm and fuzzy”.  Instead, you are looking to be jaunted, the hairs tingling on your arms and neck, the shadows to sway on the walls causing you to sink deep into the safety of your covers.  You want it to grip you, rendering you unable to put it down because you HAVE to know what danger lies around the turn of the page.

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