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20th Century Ghosts

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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  28,852 ratings  ·  2,130 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
...more
Hardcover, First American Edition, 316 pages
Published October 16th 2007 by William Morrow (first published January 1st 2005)
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Michele
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Joey I'm still trying to digest "My Father's Mask." It wasn't necessarily one of my favorites in this collection, but it was one of the most memorable. I'm…moreI'm still trying to digest "My Father's Mask." It wasn't necessarily one of my favorites in this collection, but it was one of the most memorable. I'm not exactly sure what to make of it beyond it being a creepy slice of surrealism. I'd love to hear what anyone else thought about it. Any ideas?

My favorites were "Best New Horror" and "Pop Art..."(less)

Community Reviews

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3.95  · 
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 ·  28,852 ratings  ·  2,130 reviews


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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 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
Dec 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: ghosts, short-stories
"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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Char
4.5 stars!

My favorite stories were:

Pop Art
20th Century Ghost
Better Than Home
My Father's Mask
Voluntary Committal

My thought on this collection cannot possibly make a dent in all of reviews already written about this book. Suffice it to say: I loved it and it gets my highest recommendation.
Nandakishore Varma
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
When I read NOS4A2, I had pegged Joe Hill as a horror writer of the calibre of his celebrated father. When I started this book, I expected much of the same fare: however, I was pleasantly surprised. “20th Century Ghosts” is less about ghosts than other sorts of boogeymen: more subtle, more scary, and all definitely weird.

It starts off with a traditional story (“Best New Horror”) about a horror anthology editor trapped in something like one of his own tales: despite the story-within-the-story str
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Kelli
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
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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Crystal
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
I did it
I finished
the only story I couldn't make it through was the cockroach one.
I much prefer his full length novels
Ron
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Will Byrnes
Dec 05, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
The crab apple does not fall far from the poisoned tree. While the sensibility is his own, it is eminently clear that Joe Hill has been gifted with DNA predisposed to horror greatness.

Before Heart-Shaped Box, Hill wrote short stories. Maybe he still does.
I was immediately taken with his ability to draw the reader in. For most of the stories here, I quickly felt that I could settle back in my chair and let Hill lead me wherever he wanted. He engages quickly and strongly. He is having a lot of fu
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Paul O'Neill
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic collection of stories, tightly written (like a certain family member). Short stories aren’t usually my thing but between this and his more recent collection of four novellas, Strange Weather, Joe Hill has maybe changed my mind.

Some stories were better than others but there wasn’t a single dudd in this collection. My favourites were Pop Art (boy makes friends with Art, a balloon), Better Than Home (a nice Father-Son story) and the longer story at the end of the book, Voluntary Commit
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Kostas Papadatos
Το βιβλίο είχε τα πάνω του και τα κάτω του. Κάπου στη μέση η βαθμολογία.
Sandi
Sep 05, 2008 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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Nikoleta
Τα διηγήματα του Hill σίγουρα δεν τα κατατάσσω σε αυτά του κλασικού τρόμου.
Είναι γραμμένα από την οπτική γωνία ενός συγκεκριμένου ήρωα, κάθε φορά. Μέχρι πριν το τέλος, συνήθως ,δεν γίνεται τίποτα. Παρακολουθούμε την καθημερινότητα του ήρωα και περιμένουμε να γίνει κάτι. Αυτό το κάτι το οποίο συμβαίνει και κορυφώνει το κάθε διήγημα, δεν μας προκαλεί αγωνία, φόβο κ.λ.π. αλλά στην δική μου περίπτωση σοκ, ξάφνιασμα και μια δυσάρεστη αίσθηση…
Δεν πέρασα καλά, στον τρόμο ψάχνω πάντα την ανατριχίλα, ε
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Franco  Santos
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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Lisa
Dec 18, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
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.
Tim
Jun 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
The title seems false and the stories are lame. 0 of 10 stars
Edward Lorn
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of literary horror
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
Peggy
Aug 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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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joyce g
What a marvel..Pop Art!
Amar
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favs, read-in-2015
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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Jim
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
People say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In this case, the apple fell very near indeed, but it got on the ground, grew its own roots and now it stands a proud tree. As you can imagine that is quite an achievement, when the tree that you fell from is named Stephen King.

Before I write my thoughts on this book, I need to tell some very important things. First that not all the stories on this collection, are horror stories. Sure if you must put it in only one category, that would be the
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Thanos
May 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Το μόνο σίγουρο είναι ότι αυτός ο τύπος ξέρει να γράφει!

Ο Joe Hill παρουσιάζει σε αυτό το βιβλιαράκι 15+1 ιστορίες όχι τρόμου αλλά μεταφυσικές. Για να πω την αλήθεια δεν μου άρεσαν όλες αλλά μου άρεσε πολύ ο τρόπος που γράφει γιατί έχει κάτι που σε κρατάει, που δεν σε κάνει να βαριέσαι.

Πιο συγκεκριμένα:
1) Η καλύτερη ιστορία τρόμου της χρονιάς: Αυτή η ιστορία μου άρεσε γιατί περιλαμβάνει μία καινούρια ιστορία μέσα στην αρχική ιστορία. Κάτι σαν το inception αλλά σε σελίδες (η ιστορία του Κονκάρδα
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Jamie Stewart
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a reread for me and it will always be something special to me. It earned a place on my bookshelf as the best short story collection I had ever read. I often found such collections jarring in the past because of the ever changing tones and paces that can happen when reading collections. However, when I read this book for the first time I was engrossed and found every tale just as engaging as the next. That was then and this is now.

I dropped my rating by one star because while their are
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Richard
Jan 16, 2011 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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Aileene
Pre - Read

This better scare the $#!T out of me, Ben , otherwise


BR starts today!


Post Read


Heads up: Not so pleasant review. Read or lower down your pitchforks and skedaddle.


A collection of short stories where GRs and readers categorised them as horror.
H O R R O R.
If you look up the meaning, it would say: An intense, painful feeling of repugnance and fear.
The title itself, The 20th Century Ghost should evoke goosebumps and scary images but after reading each one of them, they didn't even remote
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Thomas Gaffney
Jan 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
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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Eliasdgian
Αν ψάχνει κανείς για ιστορίες φαντασμάτων και υπερφυσικό τρόμο έχει διαλέξει το λάθος βιβλίο. Αν, αντίθετα, αποζητά κανείς να διαβάσει μερικές καλογραμμένες, διαφορετικές μεταξύ τους, σύντομες ιστορίες, με στοιχεία από τον χώρο του φανταστικού, του αλλόκοτου και του παράδοξου, έχει κάνει μια σοφή επιλογή• διότι ο J. Hill στα Φαντάσματα του 20ου Αιώνα (20th Century Ghosts) προσφέρει στον αναγνώστη του αυτό ακριβώς: σύντομες διηγήσεις, δοσμένες αριστοτεχνικά, από έναν συγγραφέα που (από το πρώτο τ ...more
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Literary Horror: Oct 2018 Group Read: 20th Century Ghosts 25 29 Oct 31, 2018 08:53PM  
The Geek Girls Bo...: October 2018 book! 1 18 Sep 25, 2018 11:17AM  
What really happened in my fathers mask ? 1 11 Aug 06, 2018 01:40AM  
"My Father's Mask' question 1 8 Mar 09, 2018 07:18AM  
Play Book Tag: 20th Century Ghosts / Joe Hill. 4 stars 1 13 Jan 10, 2018 07:04PM  
Play Book Tag: 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill - 4 stars 6 17 Oct 16, 2017 05:45PM  
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16,220 followers
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 writes short stories too. Some of them were gathered together in
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“Taking a thing apart is always faster than putting something together. This is true of everything except marriage.” 112 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.” 47 likes
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