Monday, January 30, 2012

20th Century Ghosts

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill is a collection of short stories. I've been meaning to read Heart Shaped Box, but short stories are my passion, so I picked this book up instead.

Good decision. There were two stories that didn't work for me, but the rest was brilliant - scary, unsettling and sometimes just really, really weird. Stories about a cape that can really make you fly (I didn't see the end coming at all), about a haunted movie theatre, a man who collects last breaths or about a vampire hunter's children.

I loved Pop Art, the story about a boy who is inflatable. The concept is hilarious and freaky at the same time, especially since being inflatable is treated as a hereditary disease in the story - strange, but not utterly impossible.

My favourite is Voluntary Committal, about a boy who builds strange structures from cardboard boxes in his parents' basement, like the forts all children build. Only usually, those forts are not bigger on the inside and don't lead to strange places. I've always liked the concept of doors that open to different places at exactly the right time - or the wrong time, depending on where going through will get you. Such a gateway as a child's toy, with a hint of the Cthulhu mythos thrown into the mix, made this the one story that followed me around for quite a while after I had read it.

Reviews 2012

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