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20th Century Ghost

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3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  23,708 Ratings  ·  1,732 Reviews
This e-short story from the New York Times bestselling author of NOS4A2 and Horns now features an excerpt from Joe Hill’s novel The Fireman.

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 w
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ebook, 100 pages
Published February 3rd 2009 by William Morrow (first published January 1st 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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 (
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Wil Wheaton
Jul 21, 2013 Wil Wheaton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
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
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Miriam
"Best New Horror" - Fun concept and well executed for most of the story, but my interest tanked when the editor finally tracks down the author. Maybe I was supposed to laugh at the cliche-ness? 4 stars for the 1st half, 2 for the second = 3

"20th Century Ghosts" - There was a delicacy to this haunted movie theater story that I appreciated, although I felt it ran too long (or rather, too wordy) for what it was. 3 stars

"Dead-wood" - Instances of ghostly trees. You know, Joe, it would be okay to wri
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Kelli
Mar 03, 2015 Kelli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, short-stories
Joe Hill makes me feel like I'm seven again. More specifically, I'm seven and he is the nine-year-old kid down the street hanging out with me in my tree fort telling me scary stories and urban legends that he swears are true. His voice is hushed, as if he is letting me in on a little known secret and I'm not quite sure whether to believe him but I'm mesmerized and a little afraid.

Joe Hill gets the underdog and the misunderstood. He also writes childhood well, but it is when writing that mislabel
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Ron
More often than not, Joe Hill characterizes the child’s life within these stories. I think that’s where our imaginations and fears are strongest, and when things scare us the most. When we are grown, most of that is gone…until we pick up a certain book. Shit, I love the way Hill writes. It is so utterly readable. He makes me believe in ghosts and the supernatural, but even more in the power of a simple story. I say that because not even half of the stories included here are meant to be frighteni ...more
Franco  Santos
Nov 03, 2015 Franco Santos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Todos tenemos distintos silencios. ¿Acaso su marido tiene el mismo silencio cuando está contento que cuando está enfadado? Sus oídos son capaces de discernir entre clases específicas de nada.

Buenos relatos, en general. Hay algunos que son extraordinarios, como La ley de gravedad, Madera muerta y Reclusión voluntaria. Otros, muy buenos: Último aliento, La capa y Oirás cantar a la langosta. Los demás son regulares y tiene varios que no lograron atraparme. Pero los que más me gustaron me dejaron c
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Sandi
Sep 05, 2008 Sandi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008, horror
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
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Brandon
For a long time, this book was my “white whale”. Up to recently, I had three of Joe Hill’s novels (Heart-Shaped Box, Horns, NOS4A2) in hardcover and although 20th Century Ghosts was easily accessible in paperback or for download on my Kindle, I felt I needed to match my existing format and seek out the rare hardbound edition.

With every second-hand bookstore I entered, this illusive short story collection was front and centre in my mind. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t find it. A few months ago I
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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.
Lisa
Dec 18, 2008 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Peggy
Aug 16, 2007 Peggy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Chris
May 31, 2009 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Amar
Dec 10, 2015 Amar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sjajna zbirka . Stvarno sjajna zbirka . Čak u nekim pričama Hill nema nikakav problem , da prekine priču na najzanimljivijem dijelu , da bi se poigrao sa fantazijom čitaoca , što mi se veoma dopalo . Možda je povećalo utisak što sam polako čitao ( nisam sve odjenom ) pa su priče ostavile mnogo bolji utisak .

Pokušat ću kratko o svakoj priči po nešto napisati :

Best New Horror (3/5)
Ovo je prva priča u kojoj me je Hill "šokoraio" i ostavio nam jedan , pa hajmo reći , otvoren kraj . Sama priča je jak
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Edward Lorn
May 13, 2012 Edward Lorn rated it really liked it  ·  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
tom
Jan 06, 2008 tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, short-stories
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
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Dawn
Feb 13, 2017 Dawn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The more I think about this book, the more I appreciate what an original and diverse collection of short stories it is.
Most definitely worth a read if you like story collections. The ones I found a little too unsettling to 'enjoy' were simultaneously intriguing.
My personal favourite was 'Pop Art'.
Richard Vialet
Jan 16, 2011 Richard Vialet rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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aPriL does feral sometimes
'20th Century Ghosts', a collection of Joe Hill's short stories, includes:

20th Century Ghost
Pop Art
You Will Hear the Locust Sing
Abraham's Boys
Better Than Home
The Black Phone
In the Rundown
The Cape
Last Breath
Dead-wood
The Widow's Breakfast
Bobby Conroy Comes Back from the Dead
My Father's Mask
Voluntary Committal

The stories range from being kidnapped by serial killers, to meeting ghosts, to backwoods cannibals, to vampire fighters, to a very human not-human, and sweet elegiac, maybe slightly scary, bu
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- ̗̀ Unsolved Mystery  ̖́-
Oct 08, 2011 - ̗̀ Unsolved Mystery ̖́- rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

**Breath**

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
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Becky
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
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
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Obsidian
Sep 18, 2016 Obsidian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once again I read this for the Halloween bingo and also since this is on my Horror 2016 list (one of the top 20 must read horror books). I honestly never heard of "20th Century Ghosts" before, and though I did love some of the stories, some of them fell flat with me. Heck, I think I would have probably swapped this book out for something else because I still see a lot of flaws with some of the stories. But then again, I am the person that was bored reading "Ghost Story" and hated "Little Star" s ...more
Alexandra
Good. The short stories were good. Some better than others.

I mean, they didn't blow my hair back. But would I recommend them to a friend? Sure. Can't wait for Joe Hill's next novel though, I think that is his strong suit (well for me since I don't read graphic novels, I've heard Locke and Key is his best work).
Stefan Yates
Feb 01, 2012 Stefan Yates rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stephen-king
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
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
Kandice
Feb 09, 2010 Kandice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Charlie Collins
Sep 24, 2016 Charlie Collins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, short-stories

I've decided to go with short story collections in the horror genre for my Halloween season, and this was a great way to start. Joe Hill has quite an imagination ( I wonder where he got that from?).
I would have to say my favorite of this bunch was 'Best New Horror'. Of course, there were a few that were just so-so, but that always seems to be the case with collections. There has to be some fillers to make those publishers happy but it doesn't take away the fact that overall, this was a great boo
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Alex Telander
Dec 08, 2007 Alex Telander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Paul Eckert
Jun 01, 2010 Paul Eckert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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3A Independent Re...: suspense (week 3) 1 1 Dec 16, 2016 09:45AM  
3A Independent Re...: Suspense (week 2) 3 3 Dec 09, 2016 05:12PM  
3A Independent Re...: suspense 2 4 Dec 01, 2016 08:09PM  
horror 1 5 Dec 01, 2016 10:19AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill 5 56 Jul 25, 2015 11:03AM  
  • Haunted Legends
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  • The Best of Joe R. Lansdale
  • 999: Twenty-nine Original Tales of Horror and Suspense
  • October Dreams: A Celebration of Halloween
  • Duel: Terror Stories
  • The Imago Sequence and Other Stories
  • American Gothic Tales
  • The Virago Book of Ghost Stories
  • Teatro Grottesco
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Joe Hill's debut, Heart-Shaped Box, won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel. His second, Horns, was made into a film freakfest starring Daniel Radcliffe. His other novels include NOS4A2, and his #1 New York Times Best-Seller, The Fireman... which was also the winner of a 2016 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Horror Novel.

He also writes short stories. Some of them were gathered together i
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More about Joe Hill...

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“Taking a thing apart is always faster than putting something together. This is true of everything except marriage.” 109 likes
“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.” 43 likes
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