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The Doll Collection

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  291 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
The Doll Collection is exactly what it sounds like: a treasured toy box of all-original dark stories about dolls of all types, including everything from puppets and poppets to mannequins and baby dolls.
Featuring everything from life-sized clockwork dolls to all-too-human Betsy Wetsy-type baby dolls, these stories play into the true creepiness of the doll trope, but avoid t
Hardcover, 351 pages
Published March 10th 2015 by Tor Books
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i am going to read one story a night as my bedtime reading for the remainder of october so i can have awesome dreams.


Skin and Bone - Tim Lebbon

"My eyes are mine!"

Heroes and Villains - Stephen Gallagher

"You can't give the people a story like that. It's nothing but tragedy. We're trying to find something to celebrate."

"Then perhaps," Alex said, "it's better if you don't ask the dead to speak."

The Doll-Master - Joyce Carol Oates

Annie was a pretty-faced girl-doll with ski
Althea Ann
Mar 15, 2015 Althea Ann rated it really liked it
Another high-quality collection of tales of horror from Ellen Datlow; unquestionably the best editor working in the genre.
As the title indicates, "dolls" are the theme. The one stipulation here was that the contributing authors avoid the frequently-used trope of the 'evil doll.' The dolls here might not be evil, but some of them are damn well spooky!

**** Skin and Bone - Tim Lebbon
Hallucination meets madness - and possibly something more eldritch - in this tale of two modern Antarctic explorers
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~

There's this house in the town I live near that does this front window display of CREEPY ASS DOLLS for Halloween. I just roll on by and look while goose-bumps crawl all over my skin.

I have never been into dolls. Barbie some what, I use to cut and color on her, but "dolls" not really. They all just CREEP me the fuck out. This book did the same and I didn't even need a doll to stare at. Great book of doll stories and very edge of your seat details. Loved it!! :)
I really liked this one. Sorry I never posted the link to my review! Here it is!:
Richard Thomas
Mar 14, 2015 Richard Thomas rated it it was amazing
This review was originally published at LitReactor.



The Doll Collection

Who Wrote It?:

Edited by Ellen Datlow, with fiction by Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen Graham Jones, Tim Lebbon, Gemma Files, John Langan, and many others.

Plot in a Box:

These are short stories about dolls, in every possible shape, form, and myth.

Invent a New Title For This Book:

Doll Parts

Read This If You Liked:

Other anthologies by Ellen Datlow, such as Fearful Symmetries, Lo
Book Review originally published here:

Dolls are creepy. Enough said. Now, in this collection, which packs a bunch of the most original stories I’ve ever read in the genre, the authors explore the trope of creepy dolls. A range of haunted dolls, mad doll owners, creepy doctors and ventriloquists pass by, and each story is unique and strong in its own way. One of the best horror anthologies I’ve read.
Mar 17, 2016 Josh rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, own
“The Doll Collection”, the latest collection from prolific and esteemed editor Ellen Datlow, isn't what one might expect given the title and cover. As Datlow states in her introduction, the book contains “no evil doll stories”. While the stories gathered here adhere to that on a surface level, there are a few clever workarounds. For the most part, though, it holds true: the stories are unique, creative, and come bearing a welcome disregard for genre convention. Horror, fantasy (of both the urban ...more
AmberBug **
Great collection of creepy doll stories. This was the perfect time for me to read this because I was creating my own creepy dolls for Halloween. Obviously Joyce Carol Oates was one of my favorites and I loved the story about the girl in the hospital working in the ER. Some misses, but no fails. I would highly suggest this to anyone who is looking for something other than "possessed doll" stories. Ellen Datlow specifically tells the Authors to avoid this, she was convinced that there are untapped ...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life
THE DOLL COLLECTION: Seventeen Brand-New Tales of Dolls
Edited by Ellen Datlow


As I was checking in books being returned to the library I noticed "dolls" and Joyce Carol Oates - SOLD! This collection of short stories are edited by Ellen Datlow but the draw for me was definitely Oates. There were about two other authors I have heard of but never read (Carrie Vaughn was probably the next big name in the collection - at least for me). I didn't read every story in this collection but did attemp
I feel like horror really shines in short story form. This collection has everything from creeping psychological horror to gory serial murder, and everything from realistic monsters to supernatural ones. Plus, the pictures of antique dolls add to the disturbing atmosphere, though I wish they were bigger, and in color (or at least glossy). Very nice.

Favorite story: "There Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold" by Seanan McGuire. Hands down one of the best short stories I've read.

Apr 09, 2015 Trudi marked it as still-need-to-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shizzle. I neglected this one too long and my NetGalley copy expired and they now have it archived.
Jack Haringa
Feb 28, 2016 Jack Haringa rated it really liked it
Shelves: anthologies
I found The Doll Collection less consistent than most Datlow anthologies I've read over the last five years, but it contains enough gems to warrant three and a half stars at any rate. The restriction of "no evil dolls" forced writers to be more creative than the theme might initially have suggested, which results in some unusual pieces that straddle the line between fantasy and horror nicely.

Most of the anthology's strongest stories are bunched toward the end, though both Tim Lebbon and Stephen
(Full review here:

If you buy any one anthology this month, it ought to be this one. There’s very little to be disappointed by and so many things to impress you, whether you’re a fan of dark fiction, the supernatural, or just damn good stories. Datlow worked wonders with this idea and the selection of submitted stories, and the authors pulled out all the stops to make this a fantastic collection. Highly recommended for those nights when the rain is pourin
Grace Troxel
May 24, 2016 Grace Troxel rated it really liked it
This review originally appeared on my blog, Books Without Any Pictures:

Dolls are a staple in horror media, and for good reason. They’re similar enough to us that we can see ourselves in them, and yet alien enough to be unnerving. The Doll Collection, edited by anthologist Ellen Datlow, presents seventeen short stories, each of which feature dolls. But the dolls in this collection are not themselves so horrifying, rather, they serve as a mirror to reflect t
Apr 13, 2015 Melissa rated it liked it
As with almost all anthologies it has some great stories, some "eh" stories and a couple that confounded me. Still, I would have to say that as a whole, the collection stayed within the boundaries of horror and dolls. Two things I think go great together. For those that shy away from horror, it isn't too scary that you can't handle it (I'm an admitted wimp) but it is creepy. Not one is a happy go lucky, feel good story. That's a good thing for this collection. :)

I have to say that my favorite st
Orrin Grey
Apr 21, 2015 Orrin Grey rated it really liked it
I didn't actually get to read all the stories in this book before I had to move on to some other stuff for various reasons, but I read enough to know that it's an impressive collection. Anyone who knows Ellen at all knows that this is kind of the collection she was born to edit, and it shows. I'm personally a little saddened by the prohibition against "evil" dolls, because I do love a good evil/possessed doll story, but I understand why it would be necessary, and I think it did push some of the ...more
Feb 05, 2016 Becky rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
From dolls as vessels (for spirits, emotions, and other) and figurative dolls of another sort to poppets that can help heal and word dolls to watch out for, Ellen Datlow has collected an anthology of truly creeptastic tales. For anyone with even minor pediophobia this set of stories is likely to leave you cowering in the corner and looking at even the most innocent of kewpies with suspicion.

Here's the full Table of Contents:

Skin and Bone by Tim Lebbon
Heroes and Villains by Stephen Gallagher
The D
A really intriguing collection of short stories about dolls, poppets, mannequins and doll-like creations. I have only given a 4, well, maybe 4.5 stars, as there were a couple of stories that I kind of just didn't 'get' (maybe I just have 'fuzzy brain', or they were too abstract for me).

Overall though, very creepy and spine-tingly. Datlow is obviously, extremely good at bringing together good, solid story collections of various themes, and this is my first read of hers (as I recall, anyway) and
Nov 27, 2015 Jane rated it it was ok
Disappointing. "The Doll Master" by Joyce Carol Oates was my favourite of the collection by a long chalk. I also enjoyed Skin and Bone, Heroes and Villains, and Word Doll. A couple of the others were not so bad - Home Made Monsters and Visit Lovely Cornwall... For a book entitled "The Doll Collection" the idea of "doll" in many of the stories was tenuous. A lot of the stories were boring to the point that when I read other people's reviews I had to go back and re-read sections to remember what ...more
May 10, 2015 Laurie rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up without even investigating it much; as far as I’m concerned, most dolls are creepy on their own, even without a scary story written about them. The list of authors in this anthology is impressive, containing Joyce Carol Oates, Pat Cadigan, and many other award winning writers of fantasy and horror. The dolls cover a gamut of androids, ventriloquist dummies, regular baby dolls, poppets, imaginary dolls, dolls that hold emotions, and many more. Not all the stories are ...more
Lauren Smith
A very strong collection. I enjoyed most of the stories, and none of them left me feeling completely cold. My favourite: The Permanent Collection by Veronica Schanoes.
The editor specifically avoided any stories about evil dolls as being too much of a cliche at this point, so the stories explore dolls and horror in all sorts of interesting ways.
May 20, 2015 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: aadl
Creepy doll stories. I couldn't even read all of them - they were that creepy.

But “There Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold” by Seanan McGuire was absolutely breathtaking.
Nov 01, 2016 Rebecca rated it liked it
I think this was yet another case of mismatched expectations. Based on the cover and the blurbs, I was expecting a collection of creepy-doll horror stories. Not necessarily Great Literature, but at least good horror.

And what I got was a collection of literary stories, often horror-genre, with recurring doll motifs. Good stories, for the most part, but a lot more high-concept than what I thought I was tucking into for a spooky Halloween horror romp.

Overall, the stories were good enough, though on
Rebecca McNutt
Creepy as heck, but not a bad anthology. The Doll Collection has numerous different stories and each one features something entirely unique and unexpected.
Nov 03, 2016 Tatiana rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
Ritchie Tenorio
Dec 22, 2015 Ritchie Tenorio rated it it was amazing
Ellen Datlow has outdone herself. It could be my shoddy memory talking, but I think I'm ready to declare this *the* best Datlow anthology I've read.
I will sheepishly admit that I let this one slide toward the back of my queue for purely sexist reasons. I feared - quite irrationally, given Datlow's famously diverse rolodex - that the subject matter might be too feminine for me to appreciate. What do I care about dolls, anyhow? The fact that the editor declared that she would accept no stories abo
Rating: 4 stars

Review to come shortly at Fantasy Literature.
Steve Inman
Oct 07, 2016 Steve Inman rated it it was ok
Skip this collection. None of the stories were great.
Sep 25, 2016 Rachel rated it really liked it
As with any short story collection, there were stories I liked, and stories I didn't. In this case, there were more of the former than the latter.
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Ellen Datlow has been an award-winning editor of short science fiction, fantasy, and horror for over twentyfive years.

She is editor of the Best Horror of the Year and has edited or co-edited a large number of award-winning original anthologies. Her most recent are Supernatural Noir, Naked City, Blood and Other Cravings, The Beastly Bride, Teeth, Trolls Eye View, and After (the last three with Ter
More about Ellen Datlow...

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