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20th Century Ghosts

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  19,036 ratings  ·  1,449 reviews
A collection of short stories.

Imogene 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
Hardcover, First American Edition, 316 pages
Published October 16th 2007 by William Morrow & Company (first published January 1st 2005)
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Dracula by Bram StokerThe Exorcist by William Peter BlattyI Am Legend and Other Stories by Richard MathesonThe Haunting of Hill House by Shirley JacksonGhost Story by Peter Straub
Best Horror Books by People Other Than Stephen King
58th out of 753 books — 986 voters
The Shining by Stephen KingThe Haunting of Hill House by Shirley JacksonA Christmas Carol by Charles DickensHeart-Shaped Box by Joe HillGhost Story by Peter Straub
Ghost Stories
43rd out of 851 books — 1,395 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Wil Wheaton
Absolutely wonderful book. This is a collection of stores that will have you crying, checking for monsters under the bed, and wondering how the hell Joe Hill came up with that.

Comparisons to Joe's dad will be unavoidable, especially from those of us who read Night Shift and Skeleton Crew at a certain age ... and though I believe Joe has more than earned the right to be far, far out of his father's shadow, I say with love that the comparisons are well-deserved. This is a sensational collection, a
Bill  Kerwin

Seldom does a collection of weird stories feature a style so accomplished, a range of tone and mood so broad, or a generosity so profound. Hill, the son of Stephen King,inherits his father's empathy for the ordeals of childhood as well as his artfulness in constructing a tale, but he also possesses a warmth and an elegance all his own.

At times his stories are chilling and gripping like the horror fiction of King ("The Black Phone"), but at other times they are gentle and elegiac like Bradbury (
Short story collections can be hit or miss. Some stories may be wonderful, others may be clunkers. Every story in “20th Century Ghosts” is wonderful, some are even superlative. While Hill is a horror writer, not all of the stories in this book are horror. And, some of the ones that deal with the typical subjects of horror are not horrific. To me, the best stories in this collection are:

“20th Century Ghost”, a touching story about a haunted movie theater.

“Abraham’s Boys”, a tale about teen-age re
I love Fall. Football has returned to the airwaves. The leaves are changing colors, and there’s a cold snap in the…oh, who am I kidding. This is Texas. If we’re lucky, it will only be 85 degrees with 95% humidity as you’re reading this. Still, I really do like the idea of Fall, though, and if I have to make my own chill, well, then, so be it. The best way I know of to bring a chill to the air is to break out the scary stories. Luckily for us, one of the finest collections of contemporary horro ...more
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Loved it!!! Loved it!!!! Loved it!!!!!

These stories have got to be the best in any collection I have ever read. Hill's imagination is a wild ride I would stand in line for all day. I can't get enough from this man! Spooky, scary, frightening and just down right crazy... I love it all.
This was the most awful grueling book to get through. The stories had great starts (some of them anyways) but then just ended with no warning, and not even at a place that really made much sense. Some of these stories I think could have made an excellent book on their own had they been fully completed. It was very difficult to make my way through these stories. I kept hoping they would get better or I'd find one really great story in the mess. Some really grabbed my interest in the begining but ...more
Edward Lorn
Oct 22, 2014 Edward Lorn rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of literary horror
Shelves: 52-in-52-2014
I first heard of Joe Hill after winning a bundle of used hardcovers on Ebay. Among the books in the lot were several King, some limited edition Laymon, a Straub or two, and two first editions by an author of which I had never heard. Heart Shaped Box and 20th Century Ghosts were in fantastic condition, and seemed to have never been read. I threw these two books on my shelf and forgot all about them. Later that year, I found a book at my local BAM entitled Horns. The premise piqued my interest, so ...more
Wow. What better word to start this review? Joe Hill has a true gift for the short story.

All short story collections are somewhat hit and miss with me. Some stories are great, some good, some okay, and some meh. That's pretty much the standard with even my favorite short story authors: Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, George R.R. Martin. But I'm definitely putting Joe Hill on that list now. His stories vary as well between excellent and meh, but even the "meh" category stories are written with his sub
Best New Horror - Okay. I would have liked to see the story expanded and continued.
20th Century Ghost - Really good. A nice, but still creepy, "love" story for horror buffs.
Pop Art - The best short story that I have ever read. Can't go into too many details without giving away spoilers.
You Will Hear the Locust Sing - Nice story with a 1950s "giant monster" movie feel.
Abraham's Boys - Nice "continuing" tale of Van Helsing from Dracula. Good ending.
Better Than Home - Eh, sucked.
The Black Phone - A
Richard Vialet
Apr 14, 2015 Richard Vialet rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of short stories, coming of age tales, and horror stories
*Re-Read (audio) in 2015 (originally read in 2010)*

4.5 stars
This is a great story collection, which is interesting, because I was pretty disappointed by author Joe Hill's first two novels, Heart-Shaped Box and Horns . I thought they both started very strong and then fizzled about half-way through. Maybe Hill is better writing in the short form?

The theme running most of these stories are kids coming of age through unexplained events and phenomenon that will stay with them forever, even as they
Wyatt Packard
Joe Hill presents himself with this collection as both a wonderful writer and as a story teller that possess that special touch. His works are sly and subtle, while some also manage to be so incredibly creepy and even touching. The stories vary in tone and subject manner, sometimes making it difficult to ascertain exactly what Hill is trying to accomplish in each of the tales presented. However, I give the author a great amount of credit for allowing a mode of thinking on the reader's part, maki ...more
William Thomas
Whereas just a week or so ago I was writing a love letter to Joe Hill, now I am stripping his posters off of my wall, selling all of his CD's to Disc Replay, and selling his action figures and other memorabilia on ebay. Because I think it was just a crush on you from that one book and nothing really lasting. Or maybe this was just too soon for me, reading it on the heels of something I thought to be so perfect. Any way I slice it though, it just isn't the same. Sigh.

Now, I know that people, when
Unsolved Mystery
Jul 18, 2015 Unsolved Mystery rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Unsolved Mystery by: Jonathan Echevarria

- My Description -
This is a collection of short stories. Not just ghost stories.

You'll find monsters, love, friendship, beasts, rednecks (You read right, I said rednecks), vampires, baseball, super powers, haunted trees, zombies, and cardboard forts, etc, etc.


And yes, there are ghosts. =)

This is full of everything to appease anyone.

Best New Horror:
Editor Eddie Carroll works at America's Best New Horror.
He receives stories, reads them, then decides on whether to put them in his mag
Paul Eckert
I read Heart-Shaped Box first, and while I thought that book was just okay, 20th Century Ghosts seemed to fulfill the potential I suspected he had.

Don't take the title too literally - these are not all creepy stories about spirits that go bump in the night. Often the ghost theme is very subtle, or is expressed in nuance. And despite how different the individual stories are, they feel like they belong together in this collection.

All of these stories are really, really good. Some are charged wit
This could very well end up one of my favorite new reads of the year. I know, we're only 2 months in, but it was really that good! I recently read Heart-Shaped Box and could tell I was going to like Hill's style. My problem with HSB was that I found it to be too much of the same thing over and over. This collection of short stories, and one novella, seemed the perfect outlet for Hill's talent. He grabs you quick, and even though many of the stories are left with a relatively "unfinished" feeling ...more
In his introduction, Christopher Golden (who, by the way, collaborated on The Complete Stephen King Universe: A Guide to the Worlds of Stephen King with Stanley Wiater, if you're interested) said that Joe Hill is a master of subtlety in the way that he tells stories. And it's true. His stories all have a soft, surreal feel, and they spoke to me in a different way than most other short stories I've ever read, including his father's. These stories feel like they are told from the outside in, spira ...more
Stefan Yates
Overall – I normally do expect improvement from someone’s first to second book. The stories here are an interesting mix of horror, the super-natural and some that are neither of these. I enjoyed most of the stories in the collection but there were some that were a little weird for my tastes. Of course, some stories are better than others but this is true of almost every collection of short stories that I have read. I didn’t like this as well as Heart-Shaped Box, however, since this is his first ...more
Alex Telander
20TH CENTURY GHOSTS BY JOE HILL: The first time you pick up the hardcover copy of 20th Century Ghosts, you know you’re in for a treat. The book is cloth-bound in darkest black, sans dust jacket, with a sticker on the front listing the title and author, along with a haunting black and white photograph. As one opens the cover, one is greeted by a dried blood-red inlay, followed by the white pages of writing. It is almost as if one is opening a black and bloody wound to read what Joe Hill has to of ...more
Bark's Book Nonsense
I bought this in hardcover, something I rarely do but I had a gift certificate to B&N and I really enjoyed Joe Hill's book Heart Shaped Box. I can only read in snippets so this book of short stories should be a perfect fit.

Best New Horror is the first story in the collection and is about a horror anthology editor who is very burned out after reading more than his share of the same-old, worn out, lame horror stories. I could really relate to this one after my short-lived stint as a reviewer f
Late to the game on this one - which is fine because I could never keep up with the endless swell of everything old I want to read AND everything new I want to read. I'd read 3 stories by Joe Hill before, in various collections, and was immediately struck by his authorial strengths. Here we have a collection of most of his early short fiction in one package - proving that he is not just a horror author but a non-genre lit author as well.

"Best New Horror" is, simply put, a masterpiece - not just
The Flooze
“Modern horror is not often subtle. Most of those who practice the art of the unsettling far too often go for the jugular, forgetting that the best predators are stealthy. Nothing wrong with going for the jugular, of course, but writers of genuine skill and talent have more than one trick in their bags…Joe Hill is one stealthy bastard.”

So says Christopher Golden in his introduction to 20th Century Ghosts. And he’s correct.

I’ve read the first two installments of Hill’s Locke & Key series.
Rebecca McNutt
Chilling and entertaining book, filled with some of the strangest stories I've ever read. Each one was original and different, and they never got boring, there was always something new to expect. Definitely worth reading if you're a fan of thrillers or horror.
Andrew Lennon
Really enjoyed this collection.
I reviewed each of the stories as I went through, you can find each of those in their own listings.
Usually collections of short stories have the odd story which is good, but mostly they're a bit crap.
This collection was the opposite. There were one or two of the stories which I felt didn't really belong in the collection. But overall I would say 95% of the stories in this collection were really really good! More than good enough to stand on their own.
I was already
Allison Dickson
I can't remember a short story collection I've enjoyed more since Stephen King's Everything's Eventual. This is an utterly brilliant and weird and downright creepy batch of stories, some so memorable that I think they changed me a little and made me want to be a better writer. Those stories include the following:

"Pop Art:" so deliciously committed to its weirdness that Hill doesn't bother to explain why the main character's best friend is inflatable, like something you would buy from a gag shop.
20th Century Ghosts is an eclectic array of stories - some of which could not correctly be called horror - that combined stand as testament to the seemingly limitless expanse of Joe Hill's imagination.

My grading may seem harsh after such a grandiose statement to open a review, but I have such extraordinarily high expectations of Mr Hill after first reading NOS42, then the Locke & Key series and Heart Shaped Box, that I could not help but be disappointed by some of the tales contained within
Dean liapis
Damnit. Really wanted to like this more than I did. Already read two of his novels (the ok "Horns" and the much better "Heart Shaped Box"), so I was really excited for this collection, especially since I found the novels to be good but uneven. I figured with a smaller scope, maybe he would smash all that goodness into the shorter stories without the pressure of having to sustain the excitement throughout an entire novel.

Well, I was wrong. First of all, I feel like 90% of the stories were great i
A very solid collection of shorts from Mr. Hill. A few of my favorites in this collection were not, in fact, horror at all. Ghostly movie theaters, cardboard labyrinths, creepy masks, classic movie sets, last breaths and red bolt superhero blankies. I wish a few of these were longer, but then I guess that is what good short stories are supposed to do(?) Well written and executed, as I would expect from Joe Hill. 4 Stars. Highly Recommended.
Hayley Knighten
Originally posted on Books are Delicious!

True horror is not buckets of gore but fear—fear that creeps up on you, hangs on tight, and lingers. Few authors understand this as well as Joe Hill. His novel Horns(2011) is one of my favorites and his last releaseNOS4A2 (2013) was scary as Hell. His first published book, 20th Century Ghosts(2007) is a collection of horror and literary short stories. As a Hill fan, I thought it was about time I checked it out.

Ghosts opens with "Best New Horror," about a
*~Lan Lan~*

This was a buddy read with a great group of people: Jonathan, Cookie (aka Pen Pen), Unsolved Mystery, Latasha, Kirstin, Jeff Tutt, Kara, and Kasia.


Genre: Horror; Fantasy; Contemporary

Suggested Readers Age: Uh, older than 16 years old should be safe. This did have some moments where it was questionable but I think young readers won’t be totally messed up if they do pick this up.

Reading Level: Moderate. Is written for adult readers.

Book Length: Short-ish; 316 pages

Who would
A collection from the author of Heart-Shaped Box. Some horror, as you would expect, but also just a lot of fiction with a touch of the supernatural.

Damn but that's a good book. I knew for sure during the opening story, "Best New Horror," in which our narrator is an anthology editor who gives us a one-page synopsis of a novella manuscript he receives, and the compressed summary made me forget where I was. Right on through the weird and metafictional "Pop Art" (bad! Pun! Alert!) and the amazing li
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2015 Reading Chal...: 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill 5 48 Jul 25, 2015 11:03AM  
his father's mask 2 94 Oct 28, 2013 07:20AM  
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Joseph Hillstrom King (born 1972) is an American writer of fiction, writing under the pen name of Joe Hill.

Hill is the the second child of authors Stephen King and Tabitha King. His younger brother Owen King is also a writer. He has three children.

Hill's first book, the limited edition collection 20th Century Ghosts published in 2005 by PS Publishing, showcases fourteen of his short stories and wo
More about Joe Hill...
Heart-Shaped Box Horns NOS4A2 Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft Locke & Key, Vol. 2: Head Games

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“Who knows what may lie around the next corner? There may be a window somewhere ahead. It may look out on a field of sunflowers.” 42 likes
“I didn't know the inner me was hungry," I said to Art.
"That's because it already starved to death. ”
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