Synopses & Reviews
is young and beautiful. She kisses like a movie star and knows everything about every film ever made. She's also dead and waiting in the Rosebud Theater for Alec Sheldon one afternoon in 1945...
Arthur Roth is a lonely kid with big ideas and a gift for attracting abuse. It isn't easy to make friends when you're the only inflatable boy in town...
Francis is unhappy. Francis was human once, but that was then. Now he's an eight-foot-tall locust and everyone in Calliphora will tremble when they hear him sing...
John Finney is locked in a basement that's stained with the blood of half a dozen other murdered children. In the cellar with him is an antique telephone, long since disconnected, but which rings at night with calls from the dead...
"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. Simultaneous release with the Morrow hardcover. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A collection of pleasantly creepy stories....[M]ost of the stories display the unself-conscious dash that made Hill's novel an intelligent pleasure....Not just for ghost addicts." Kirkus Reviews
"'Pop Art,' 'You Will Hear the Locust Sing' and 'Voluntary Committal' are all terrific, and the rest are, at a minimum, solid, swift and craftsmanlike. But 'Best New Horror' seems to me the most thrillingly original of Hill's weird tales, a daredevil performance that keeps some complex ideas suspended in the air along with, of course, our usual disbelief." Terrence Rafferty, The New York Times Book Review
"20th Century Ghosts has proven to be everything I wanted and more....[Hill] deserves to be someone that every fan of the short story in particular ought to be reading....I admire the hell out of this guy and everything he does with the written word." Colleen Mondor, BookSlut
"Although not everything is ghostly, this is dark fiction at its best that will keep you entertained, disquieted and spellbound at the same time. I cannot recommend enough this book. I'm quite sure you'll be thankful for taking my advice." SFSite.com
"Many other long-published authors would kill to be as good as just one of these stories it's that good. And one of the best story collections I've read in years. Haunting, resonant, melancholic a collection that richly deserves its awards." SFFWorld.com
"[A]mply demonstrates the author's unique take on a genre made iconic by his father Stephen King....[Hill] excels at spiking his narratives with a potent mix of emotion and fright....He consistently blurs the distinction between recognizable emotions and the downright eerie." Time Out New York
"[W]ill appeal not only to fantasy and horror fans, but also to those who appreciate drama and suspense....With their cliff-hanger endings, quick pacing, and three-dimensional characters, many of these selections will spark interesting classroom and book-club discussions." School Library Journal
"I'm left with no recourse but to declare Joe Hill a genuine original. The stories in 20th Century Ghosts
contain many tropes that will be familiar to readers of horror and dark fantasy...and yet there is an X-factor that marks each story as truly unique and startlingly original....20th Century Ghosts
grabbed me with its first story and refused to let go. I read the entire book straight through, much like a novel, and would have started right back at the beginning if my pile of unread bedside reading weren't threatening to topple onto me as I sleep." Chris Bolton, Powells.com
(read the entire Powells.com review
This award-winning collection of short fiction by the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box leads readers into a maze filled with exits into a vast country of the surreal. Available in paperback for the first time in the U.S., this volume includes an exclusive bonus story.
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. . . .
About the Author
Joe Hill is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Horns and Heart-Shaped Box and the prizewinning story collection 20th Century Ghosts. He is also the Eisner award-winning writer of an ongoing comic book series, Locke & Key. His new novel, NOS4A2, will be published in May 2013. You can follow Joe on Twitter, where he goes by the inspired handle of @joe_hill.