Joe Hill Tells All

I'd heard some praise of Joe Hill before I went to the World Fantasy Convention this year, but at World Fantasy it became apparent that he was the new writer causing the most excitement amongst the sort of people whose excitement I pay attention to. Sean Wallace actually took me over to the table where a British dealer had copies of PS Publishing's collection of Hill's stories, 20th Century Ghosts, and all but forced me to buy it. Now, I am not the sort of person who wants to spend $25 on a paperback book, but I didn't know of any other way to get it, and the hardcover was twice that cost, because the exchange rate from pounds to dollars is not particularly favorable right now to those of us using dollars. But then Nick Mamatas said it was a book he'd been wanting to read. And Ellen Datlow told me she'd just taken one of the stories for her Year's Best and would have taken a few others if she'd had the space. So I bought the book. And read one story that night, and another handful on the plane ride home, and then a few more. And, for the most part, everybody was right. Joe Hill is an extremely good writer, and the book would have been worth the $25 for the stories "Pop Art" and "My Father's Ghosts" alone.

Immediately, I decided to see if I could track Joe Hill down for an interview. I did (and discovered he lives here in New Hampshire), and he said yes, though both of us were too busy to start work on it until recently. And now lo and behold, Paula Guran has scooped me with an excellent interview at Dark Echo. Joe's description of a story in the next issue of Postscripts particularly intrigued me:
There's a story in the new Postscripts, 'Bobby Conroy Comes Back From The Dead', that doesn't have any fantasy element in it at all. It's this straight-forward relationship story. Guest-starring Tom Savini and a pile of human body parts.
(I think I've said before that one of my childhood ambitions was to become Tom Savini, so naturally I'm now going to have to hunt down a copy of the story.)

Don't fear that Paula's interview will cause me to give up on mine. There are still plenty of things to talk about. For now, though, go read the interview, and track down Joe's stories. Nobody seems to agree on which stories are best, but I have yet to encounter anybody who has read 20th Century Ghosts and not thought it was a significant collection.


  1. He read at the KGB Bar recently in New York and the story was great, although he didn't finish it. Like an idiot I assumed I could get the book fairly easily and so didn't buy it there. Now I'm kicking myself because it isn't quite so readily available. And I want to read the end of that story so very badly...

  2. I was assuming the book would be available via Clarkesworld and Shocklines, but just checked both, and it's still listed as a preorder. Hopefully in the next couple weeks it will be available -- Clarkesworld is offering the paperback for $22 when it comes in.

  3. Just started reading this myself, and it definitely seems promising, although so far I've only read the acknowledgements, 'Best New Horror' and '20th Century Ghost'.

  4. Rajan,
    Not that you'll want to wait, but it'll be in YBFH #19. :-)
    Ellen Datlow

  5. I just ordered it direct from the publisher ( where they promise to ship it, "pronto". It costs $25 plus $8 shipping which I regard as my penalty for not having bought it at KGB.

    On the other hand I got a message from Pete Crowther, the publisher, saying, "It's an amazing collection. I don't recall ever being so impressed with a debut collection (aside from yours and mine, of course!)."

    rick bowes


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