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After the People Lights Have Gone Off

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  915 ratings  ·  162 reviews
This collection of fifteen stories taps into the horrors and fears of the supernatural as well as the everyday. Included are two original stories, several rarities and out of print tales, as well as a few "best of the year" inclusions. Stephen Graham Jones is a master storyteller. What does happen after the people lights have gone off? Crack the spine and find out. With an ...more
Paperback, 310 pages
Published September 30th 2014 by Dark House Press (first published August 18th 2014)
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David Burke Now knowing that the story was supposed to be related to Laird Barron's "Old-Leech" mythos, I'm thinking that the boy has been taken over by something…moreNow knowing that the story was supposed to be related to Laird Barron's "Old-Leech" mythos, I'm thinking that the boy has been taken over by something (wearing his skin), or that there is a changeling wearing his appearance, and the father is starting to understand, but still live in denial.

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Average rating 3.74  · 
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Bill Kerwin
Aug 22, 2015 rated it really liked it

Stephen Graham Jones does horror better than terror and delights in a laconic, no-nonsense style that occasionally verges on unconscious parody. As I am a reader who prefers Arthur Machen to Stephen King and Nabokov to Hemingway, I am far from being Jone's ideal reader.

I can still be impressed by his style, however, which sometimes often shines most clearly in the simplest descriptions. For example, in “Brushdogs,” he tells us how a character opened two cans of chili and then “poured them into a
Jenny (Reading Envy)
While I heard about this author when I spoke briefly to Thomas Olde Heuvelt on his book tour (he was reading Mongrels), I came to this book in a somewhat strange way. Book Riot had a quiz called Which Indie Press Should You Be Obsessed With?" , so of course I took it, and ended up with a publisher I had never heard of - Curbside Splendor. I went on an interlibrary loan requesting frenzy and ended up with five books from Curbside Splendor or their imprint, Dark House Press, which this title is ...more
"We were just talking about how if you admit devils," Drake said, "then that means the door must be open for angels as well."

"Or more demons," the spindly man said, sitting back in his chair. "Inside every angel, there's a demon waiting to claw out, right?"

This author certainly has a gift for milking the mundane, ho-hum trivialities of our everyday existences: seeing a movie, attending a book club, waiting to pick up your spouse from work. Under his skilled pen, our bland routines are
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
*For note of disclosure, see below.

Stephen’s latest book, After the People Lights Have Gone Off, is a short story collection published by the new and impressive Dark House Press**. What I admire most about Stephen’s work is how fearlessly he approaches and employs possibility. It’s one thing to come up with the concept, the what-if, but Stephen pokes, prods, and expands his possibilities until you-the-reader arrive at this strange place that is simultaneously shocking and familiar. His fiction
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really wanted to savor this one. Especially after I got a few stories into it, and I realized how good it is. But I've never really been one to savor. I binge. I gulp. I consume. And then I spend days thinking about something. I will be thinking about After the People Lights Have Gone Off for quite a few days.

First, that's just a fantastic title, and one of the many reasons I picked up this collection. Earlier this year I read Mapping the Interior and was so impressed with Jones's writing.
Heidi Ward
After the People Lights Have Gone Off is nagging at me for a review, and I'm not sure what to tell it. When, in his cover-blurb, Laird Barron likens the book to "a malignant grain of an evil dream," he's on to something. I keep thinking about certain of these stories in a kind of awe at how immediately they imprinted themselves on me, but others eluded or vexed me for reasons that probably say more about me than they do about Stephen Graham Jones' writing.

Let's start with what I loved. I loved
It’s my own fault, really: getting taken in by that beautiful cover, making assumptions about the contents within. I imagined, like its cover, each story would be cool and dusky, with that single, glowing attic window implying some kind of warm, familial, human drama within. Honestly, it… varies.

Some of the stories in this collection have truly unique premises, and some of those even have a fulfilling follow-through. Most of the stories involve some kind of ~twist and “Welcome to the Reptile
Eddie Generous
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There were maybe two or three that I thought were just okay, the vast majority of these stories are fantastic. Dude is a master on several levels. This collection was almost as good as The Ones That Got Away and an author can never have too many short stories or collections.
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Best collection I've read since Ballingrud's North American Lake Monsters. Favorites include Brushdogs, The Spindly Man, This is Love, and the title story.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterfully written collection of weird fiction that's easy to get into yet still manages to deal with dark subjects and weighty issues. I just love the Stephen's style, his prose effortlessly paints vivid pictures in your mind of each scene making this whole collection very memorable and incredibly enjoyable. I'd highly recommend this!
Nov 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, favorites
Wow. Just, wow. I want to read everything Jones has written now.
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-to-be-read
I finished reading this book a few weeks ago and have read maybe 3 other books since, but I felt like I needed to write a review about it only because it has left such a lasting impression on me.
The first thought that came to my mind after finishing just the first short story in this collection was “why the hell did I take so long to read a book by Stephen Graham Jones?”, and the thought kept coming back louder and louder with each story that I read. Recently, I have read so many short story
Seregil of Rhiminee
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Risingshadow.

Stephen Graham Jones' After the People Lights Have Gone Off is one of the best modern horror short story collections published during the recent years. It contains excellent stories that are difficult to forget.

Many readers and critics have already praised this collection and now I join the chorus of people who praise it. I'm glad I had a chance to read and review collection, because it was rewarding to read a diverse collection that contained well written
Anita Dalton
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 star review.

I already know, writing the first sentence of my discussion for After the People Lights Have Gone Off, that I will be using the delete key quite a bit. I find it difficult to put into words why some stories in this collection were the literary equivalent of throwing a lead weight over the side of a ship and why some stories soared, excellent examples of literary horror at its best. Some of Jones’s stories were so perfect that I felt that familiar pull of envy that comes when I
Melanie Wilson
May 31, 2014 rated it liked it
I really like the way Jones' imagination works, but at times his writing style makes me feel like there are some inside jokes being referenced that I'm not privy to. Not enough to take away from my enjoyment of the stories entirely, but a little distracting. I think sometimes there are things alluded to indirectly, or curious turns of phrases, that I don't have enough information to sort out on my own.
One thing that really bothered me, and this is perhaps just my own squeamishness, is the
Kevin Lucia
Jun 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Stephen Graham Jones' prose is tight and controlled (sometimes a little too terse for my tastes), and his examination of human beings at their oftentimes worst and most unflattering moments is unflinching and precise. In this collection, he does an excellent at taking known horror tropes and twisting them to his own ends. A few stories were a little too detached, not really touching me emotionally, and some of the ends lacked a bit in resolution. On the whole, however, a highly rewarding read. ...more
Brandon Petry
Some really really great stories in this collection (my favorites were "Brushdogs", "Snow Monsters", "Doc's Story", "Second Chances" and the title story "After the People Lights Have Gone Off") but a couple of them didn't do it for me. That being said I went into this with very high expectations. The book itself is beautifully designed with excellent artwork at the start of each story. Dark House Press did a wonderful job. With an intro by Joe R. Lansdale and story notes (a little background on ...more
Riju Ganguly
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Few years back I had stopped reading the American variety of horror & terror stories. Then, primarily as a result of my encounters with a few stories in various anthologies, I developed a vague appetite for them.
I'm grateful to this collection. It PROVED that King-esque American horror, with endless study of various characters and their boxed revealations, is truly NOT my cup of tea.
I quit.
Patrick Lacey
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the best single-author collections I've ever read. If you haven't read it yet, do it now. If you have, read it again.
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing

I don't give 5 stars often, but I can't help it, this really deserves it.

Normally I like to read two or three short story collections by different authors at the same time so I'm not reading story-after-story by one author. This helps ensure I'm not getting tired of their style while still giving me a good feel for the author.

In this case I read this book by itself, in a very short time period and every single story continued to impress me, they're all different in tone and theme and after a
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review originally appeared in Shock Totem, issue 9...
Shock Totem 9

The irony of the title of this collection is that, after reading each of its fifteen frightful stories, you probably will do anything to make sure your lights to stay on, long into the night. Not only for the more obvious terrors that you might glimpse out of the corner of your gaze in every open doorway and under your desk, but literally to shed some light on the weird mysteries and even distorted beauty found in this book.

Rachel  Drenning
SGJ has become a favorite author of mine. I've yet to come across anything he's written that I didn't like. He writes short stories very well too, and that's something not every author can do. Every single story is great. A nice mixture of emotion between these pages.
Brian Steele
Jun 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
I was already somewhat familiar with Stephen Graham Jones from some of his short stories that I had come across in various anthologies. I can’t recall what any of them were necessarily about, but even then I was struck by his prose. It’s that quality that lingers after reading his collection AFTER THE PEOPLE LIGHTS HAVE GONE OFF.

When reading work by Jones, the sensation comes upon you that these are not written like your average stories. They feel like legends, like something that should be told
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent set of stories, each uniquely written and told with a sharp, witty and sometimes ruthless tongue. Jones' writing is sometime over my head in a way that I've got to read closer to digest, to engage each story with a devotion and focus that I don't have to with say a King or Koontz story. But I kinda like that. Not all these stories were for me, but most were. I enjoyed the time spent with them, and so will you, I think. Check out Snow Monsters and Spider Box for sure.
Victor Giron
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was ok

I had never read Stephen Graham Jones before and approaching his newest collection—an assemblage of previously published and new stories—was like showing up to a party that everyone else had already been invited to. He is trumpeted as a top horror writer in the English language, and a quick internet search showed loyalty from readers and other authors alike. It was a party I was more than happy to be invited to, albeit several years late.

However, as
Ben Loory
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it

"The Spindly Man"
"Snow Monsters"
"The Dead Are Not"

and especially

"After the People Lights Have Gone Off"

which has one of the creepiest ideas of all time in it
Jonathan Raab
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Colorado’s favorite adopted son/horror writer is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I know I’m late to the game here—I didn’t discover him until I read his story in Nightmare Carnival—but damn, if his style of literary-meets-pulp ain’t something to marvel at, nothing is. Jones’ collection is everything you’d want out of a weird-horror anthology. There were a pair of stories that didn’t quite stick the landing for me, but I always admired the characterization, setting, and sense of ...more
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, short-stories
A TOP SHELF review, originally published in the October 17, 2014 edition of The Monitor

From time to time a writer of dark fiction will tap into my specific fears and weaknesses in a way that makes reading his work both terrifying and exciting. Searching for the perfect “scary” book for October, I stumbled across notice of the latest from native Texan Stephen Graham Jones (who won the Texas Institute of Letters Jesse Jones Award for Fiction in 2005). Intrigued by the cover and title, and
Victor *I Got The Cheesesteak!*
Jul 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Stephen Graham Jones is one sick puppy. I want to say that I'd love to spend time in his head but I keep picturing Jennifer Lopez's character in the movie The Cell. I'll pass.

In this collection you will find aliens, science fiction and of course, horror. The stories are easy to get into and read through and some may stay with you long after you've read them.

I love Stephen's writing. He has a way of turning ordinary items like a thrift store hoodie or laser thermometer into something scary. He
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Stephen Graham Jones is the author of fifteen novels and six collections. He really likes werewolves and slashers. Favorite novels change daily, but Valis and Love Medicine and Lonesome Dove and It and The Things They Carried are all usually up there somewhere. Stephen lives in Boulder, Colorado. It's a big change from the West Texas he grew up in. He's married with a couple kids, and probably one ...more
“Each moment, the world washes its hands of you, starts all over again. Easy as that. Wonderful as that.” 4 likes
“But at some point you have to just decide that if a bear’s going to eat you, a bear’s going to eat you, and then you go about your day.” 2 likes
More quotes…