20th Century Ghosts

20th Century Ghosts - Joe Hill, Christopher Golden

I absolutely adore short stories, especially horror short stories, so I had high hopes for this collection, especially since, as Stephen King's son, Joe Hill comes from great stock, and the introduction to the book was absolutely glowing.


I was disappointed.


The stories were good from a technical standpoint. I feel like he can write, and write well.


But the stories just didn't catch me. Not one of them. I was sometimes faintly annoyed by a character and sometimes faintly disgusted and often faintly bored, but never really anything. Not a single story in the whole collection touched me deeply enough that I felt anything strongly, and I forgot each of them as I moved on to the next.


Writing short stories is a very tricky thing, and definitely not for everyone. People who can write wonderful novels often can't manage a short story to save their lives--I maintain that they are an entirely different artform, much like poetry is. I will probably give one of Joe Hill's novels a try, given I keep having them recommended to me, before I give him up completely, but as of right now I'm not terribly impressed.


As a final heads up, since I was quite surprised to discover this given the title of the collection, not all of these stories, or even most of them, are ghost stories, or even horror stories at all. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but probably something one ought to know going in.