2008.  167. 20th Century Ghosts

“A month before his deadline, Eddie Carroll ripped open a manila envelope, and a magazine called The True North Literary Review slipped out of into his hands.” 

~ first lines of “Best New Horror”

20th Century Ghosts, Joe Hill

       Joe Hill is the pen name of Stephen King’s son, and like his father, Hill writes horror stories (or, at least, the stories in this collection are mainly horror stories).  They are well written, for sure, and Hill mostly has an original voice (I sometimes felt I heard echoes of King, but am not sure if that is because he is his father’s son, or because all horror writers are now King’s progeny...).  I found some of the stories to be extremely creepy - “Best New Horror” contained a psychopath like you’d find in a slasher pic (but scarier, because he seemed real), and “Voluntary Committal” about a boy’s crazy brother’s talent for fort building is the kind of things that gets scarier the more you think about it.  Others are surreal, but more sweet than scary - particularly “Pop Art” which is sweet, heartbreaking and bizarre - the story of an inflatable boy (it is a genetic condition).  The stories are well worth reading, if you have a taste for speculative fiction - or just for a guy who can write.  Hill manages to combine his outlandish ideas with not just a turn of a phrase, but a real human emotion - writing ability must be genetic!

Date/Place Completed: 10/31/08; D.C.

Categories: Fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017