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20th Century Ghosts Hardcover – 18 Oct 2007


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (18 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575081929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575081925
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.4 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 755,042 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

Review

"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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul Bowes TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 May 2012
Format: Paperback
'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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JK TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 Sep 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
A collection of 15 short stories, originally published in 2007, from the pen of Joe Hill. I read the book five or six years ago and, while I didn't appreciate all of the stories, I was genuinely blown away by the scope of the subject matter and quality of writing.

What Hill does here is what his father has done for longer than I care to remember; he brings people and places to life and twists ordinary situations into the surreal. This is a blend of emotion/fantasy/horror and though visceral in places it's also subtle and understated. Nothing here scared me, nothing here was how I expected it would be, this isn't traditional horror writing though some of the characters and themes are undoubtedly 'horrible'. This is a showcase of how contemporary horror has moved on and how well it can be written.

The stories are now being released as Kindle 'singles'. I don't know how many will be released in that form but possibly all of them. They're cheap to download and a nice place to start if you haven't experienced this author before. I'd recommend you to download the whole book. At least then you have other stories to delve into if you're not enjoying the single.

Be prepared for a lot of 'weirdness' 20th Century Ghosts is neither straightforward nor is it usual storytelling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By james on 3 Dec 2012
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 By A.Lewis on 2 Feb 2012
Format: Paperback
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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By KevinF on 25 Nov 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I approached this book with some caution as my only experience of Joe Hill was when I picked up Heart Shaped Box and then left it aside unfinished. But all in all I found this collection of fifteen short stories to be well written and interesting. Who knows, on the basis of my enjoyment of these I might just go back and pick up Heart Shaped Box again and give it another GO.

I prefer novels but this collection has some solid meat on its bones. The stories were short, but not too short, and I found them imaginative and entertaining. Only four of these tales were ghost stories in the proper sense and most, but not all of the rest, were straightforward horror, both real life and supernatural. A few others were somewhat surreal, one being definitely Kafkaesque.

In other hands we’d probably have some of these stories stretched out to novel length – some have that potential - but the impulse to do so, if ever it existed, was sensibly quashed. They’re tighter and tauter as they are.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By LhasaRainbows on 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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