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20th Century Ghosts [Hardcover]

Joe Hill
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 Oct 2007

Imogene is young, beautiful, kisses like a movie star, and knows everything about every film ever made. She's also dead, the legendary ghost of the Rosebud Theater.

Arthur Roth is a lonely kid with a head full of big ideas and a gift for getting his ass kicked. It's hard to make friends when you're the only inflatable boy in town.

Francis is unhappy, picked on; he doesn't have a life, a hope, a chance. Francis was human once, but that's behind him now.

John Finney is in trouble. The kidnapper locked him in a basement, a place stained with the blood of half a dozen other murdered children. With him, in his subterranean cell, is an antique phone, long since disconnected . . . but it rings at night, anyway, with calls from the dead. . .

Meet these, and a dozen more, in one of the most praised collections this century. 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS is irresistible, addictive fun, showcasing a dazzling new talent.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (18 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575081929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575081925
  • Product Dimensions: 3.4 x 16.2 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 586,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joe Hill is a recipient of the Ray Bradbury Fellowship and the winner of the A.E. Coppard Long Fiction Prize, William Crawford, World Fantasy, British Fantasy, Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild Awards. His short fiction has appeared in literary, mystery and horror collections and magazines in Britain and America.

Author photo (c) Shane Leonard

Product Description


"This strong, award winning collection of stories by Stephen King's son drives a stake through any cattiness that his enjoyable 2007 horror novel Heart Shaped Box was just a lucky break. The refreshing horror collection you've been looking for, even if you didn't know it. My Father's Mask is perhaps the most unsettling thing this horror reviewer has ever read." (METRO)

"Joe Hill lays to rest any doubts about one hit wonder syndrome with this unmissable bounty of short stories, all but guaranteed to add chilled spice to horror fans' spare winter evenings once the curtains have been drawn. A beast of brilliance that will swallow you whole and spit you back out again wearing a big grin." (STARBURST)

"It's wildly imaginative stuff, yet always anchored in reality. There are at least five stories here which deserve to be included in Best Of anthologies for decades to come." (Dave Golder SFX)

"Hill's shorter works have the same ingenuity as his novel 'Heart-Shaped Box' and the same populist wisdom we find in the work of his father Stephen King. What he adds is a weird poetry that is all his own." (Rox Kaveney TIME OUT)

"Even the weakest story present is fired by fierce imagination and a deceptively simple style. Joe Hill's work, while undeniably reminiscent of his father's, holds a charge and voice that is unmistakably his own. 20th Century Ghosts demonstrates this perfectly and deserves to be read." (Jes Bickham DEATHRAY)

Book Description

The multi-award-winning first collection by NEW YORK TIMES bestseller Joe Hill

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Paul Bowes TOP 500 REVIEWER
'20th Century Ghosts' is the first collection of short stories by the young American writer Joe Hill. I came to it after reading his second book, and first novel, 'Heart-Shaped Box', which I thought was a competent piece of genre fiction but rather underwhelming. This collection of stories is better.

There are nods in the direction of Stephen King, Kafka and Lovecraft, but already here Hill is mainly his own man. If I was reminded by the end of any other writer, it was Robert Aickman. Hill's best stories have a similar slow and downbeat quality and the same looming sense of something inexplicable and relentless behind the unremarkable appearances of everyday things. In spite of the title, a couple of the stories here lack any real element of the supernatural or the horrific; they might have appeared without embarrassment in any collection of modern American fiction concerned with the deep currents that run under relationships between married couples, between parents and their children, and between children in the absence of adults.

This is a good collection of modern writing in the genre, and recommended to anybody who demands something more than clichéd gore-and-shocks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By james
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book expecting it to be more horror oriented, however the stories here cover a far broader spectrum from coming of age drama to ghost stories. I was not left disappointed, I felt that each story was worth a read and there was no real filler. My favourite of the stories was "Voluntary Committal", the last in the book and probably the longest.

Overall, I am happy that I read this book and will be seeking out more of Joe Hill's work in the future. Anyone looking for a collection of well written stories covering a variety of themes would not go wrong in choosing this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars lingering 2 Feb 2012
By A.Lewis
I don't often read short story's, as they tend to have open ending which I don't much like, but having read Heart shaped box thought I would give these a go.
I found most really engaging apart perhaps '20th century ghost, which I didn't really feel went anywhere, and I didn't like 'In the rundown' due to the graphic nature of the story line, it was a bit too much for me, and I found I had to skim it just to get it over with, but the rest where really enjoyable, creepy without being obvious, and moving without the sentimentality.
I finished a couple of days ago and the story's are still popping into my head every now and again, a sign of a good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Master At Work 31 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I began reading this one too-got, sticky summer's night, just after I had given up on the idea of sleeping at all. I started around 1am, and at 8am, realised that I simply couldn't put it down. I gladly sacrificed sleep and read right through until evening...each story compelling, fascinating, and as perfectly haunting in its own right as I had dared to hope, when I started the collection. I would be lying if I said I hadn't felt a frisson of familiarity, there are genetics here from one of the finest writers of all time, of course, but Joe Hill has his own voice, his own unique style, and is already a master of his chosen genre. I personally hope he will be as prolific a writer as his father.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the purchase 15 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was told about this by a friend of mine. And I have to thank him for it. 2 exceptional stories, with the rest still on the better side of good. 'Pop Art' is by far my fav, just fabulous.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorougly enjoying 31 Mar 2013
By john
A high standard quality with a confident narrative make 20th Century Ghosts an excellent read. Strange how Joe Hill had a collection of short fiction published before a novel, but well worth the price. Very good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection! 24 Feb 2013
By Zaff
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Its easy to say 'Like Father, Like Son' and to be honest it's true in this case. I grew up reading the greatest Horror/supernatural stories, from the great writers! In my teens, I discovered Stephen King (before his books were murdered into movies), and found myself gripped by well thought out story lines, where the author knew the ending before he started writing, and led us on a journey there patiently and with as many shocks and scares as possible!

This collection of Short Stories, could easily come from Stephen King's mind, so it's not surprising that they do come from his son Joe Hill. Each story could easily be an episode of The Twilight Zone, Tales from the Crypt or Tales of the Unexpected!

My only gripe about the book is that there is only one ghost story, and that is the best story of the book. Don't get me wrong, I loved all the stories, they are weird and wonderful, that make you think about the human psyche, Not a single story disappoints in the collection, which in itself is unique!

The first story (not including the hidden story), 20th Century Ghost is an amazing story which left me speechless and I sat on the underground for ages thinking about what I had just read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best stories collection I've read this year 29 July 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I've read the Heart shaped box and wasn't impressed (maybe due to the Czech translation) so I didn't expect much from Joe Hill. Then I got the Neil Gaiman's and Al Sarrantonio's collection of stories and at the end of it I found a weird looking one called Stairs (check out the format, so funny and spot on). It was so good that I decided to give Joe another chance. What a good decision. The 20th CG is the best short stories collection I've read this year. There is not a single piece that I didn't like. Not all of the stories are horror, some of them are close to mainstream, but it doesn't matter, what matters is the author's voice, strong and engaging. From Roald Dahl's type of story in Last breath to Voluntary Committal, more King style, over to my favorite Best new Horror with story inside a story, this was a real joy. The talent passed from father to son, no question about it. I am a big Stephen King fan and one day I would love to read about Joe's beginnings under his big father's tutoring eye. I am looking forward reading The horns, author's second novel and this time it will be in English.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Bag
I wasn't sure what to expect but knew that Joe Hill would deliver some quirky stories - and he did. Most enjoyable!
Published 2 months ago by Ms E Ritchie
4.0 out of 5 stars 20th Century Ghosts
Beginning to enjoy Joe Hill's work. Original ideas and themes.

Will be reading more....I've read most of his dad's output.
Published 8 months ago by M. E. Grace
1.0 out of 5 stars Did not do it for me ... in fact only got 3/4 thru as did not hold my...
NOS4R2 was an excellent book that's why I tried 2oth century ghosts but not in same league and whereas I di not want to stop reading the previous I only plodded thru this book in... Read more
Published 9 months ago by MR A F DUNCAN
5.0 out of 5 stars Weird and wonderful
Great collection
Have already down loaded more by Joe hill.. adding to my favourite author's list. A must read. Would recommend
Published 9 months ago by voom
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
I have read another of joe hill 's books and to be honest, thought it was average, but this collection of short stories was fantastic! Read more
Published 10 months ago by Gina
5.0 out of 5 stars Great storyteller!
This is a collection of a bunch of wonderful short stories that are scary, thoughtful and some are quite moving. I recommend it.
Published 14 months ago by Steffan markussen
1.0 out of 5 stars What was he thinking?
Joe Hill is a very good writer.Liked heart shaped box but didn't love it, loved horns though so forked out nearly a fiver for this. Read more
Published 19 months ago by N. rees
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