Dr. Alinger
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Imogene is young, beautiful, kisses like a movie star, and knows everything about every film ever made. She’s also dead, the legendary ghost of the Rosebud theater, and one afternoon in 1945, a boy named Alec Sheldon will have an unforgettable encounter with her... in the dark...

Arthur Roth is a lonely kid with a head full of big ideas and a gift for getting his ass kicked. It’s hard to make friends when you’re the only inflatable boy in town...

Francis is unhappy. Francis is picked on. Francis doesn’t have a life, a hope, a chance. Francis was human once, but that’s behind him now. Francis is an eight-foot tall locust, and all of Calliphora, Nevada will shudder to hear him sing...

John Finney is in trouble. The kidnapper locked him in a basement, a place stained with the blood of half a dozen other murdered children. With him, in his subterranean cell, is an antique phone, long since disconnected... but it rings at night, anyway, with calls from the dead...

Eric is a twentysomething burnout, who just lost a girlfriend and a job. Once, though, he was the Red Bolt, and with his home-made cape he could fly. Now the cape is back in his hands, and Eric’s future is looking up... and up...

Nolan Lerner is guilty. His past is a thing choked with secrets, blood – and sunflowers. Only Nolan can tell the story of what really happened one summer in 1977, when his younger brother, an idiot savant named Morris, built a vast cardboard fort, with secret doors inside, doors leading into other worlds...

Like Morris Lerner’s impossible cardboard fortress, 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS is big enough to get lost in, a maze filled with exits into a vast country of the surreal. Showcasing an assortment of dazzling ideas, GHOSTS is irresistible, addictive fun.

• Best New Horror
• 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 (a novella)
plus an introduction by Christopher Golden.
• Story Notes

20TH CENTURY GHOSTS received the Bram Stoker Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the International Horror Guild Award for best collection, while the story that closes the book, "Voluntary Committal," won the 2006 World Fantasy Award for Best Novella. Look for it this October, from William Morrow in the US, and Orion in the UK.

“Thumbprint,” Postscripts #10

After serving a tour of duty at the prison in the desert – a place where she did things she now regrets – PFC Mallory Granahan has returned home to drink and steal. One morning she opens her mailbox and finds an unlabeled envelope, with a single sheet of paper inside, nothing on it except a black thumbprint. And in that first glance she understands it’s a threat, and that what began in Iraq has followed her home...

“Last Breath”, Subterranean Magazine #2

The story of Dr. Alinger, a man who bottles dying breaths and exhibits them in his museum of silence. Featuring a breath-taking illustration by Gahan Wilson, and appearing in Subterranean Magazine, which is already, after only two issues, the most remarkable fantasy/sci-fi magazine in the American market.

"Bobby Conroy Comes Back From The Dead," Postscripts #5

The tale of two ex-lovers who have a chance meeting one day in 1977 on the set of Dawn of the Dead, where both have found work as extras. Theoretically, “Bobby Conroy” is a romance. The real romance on display here, though, is my twenty year love affair with the zombie movies of George Romero.

The hero of “Best New Horror” is the burned-out editor of an annual horror anthology, a man who finds himself drawn into a quixotic search for a young writer with a macabre reputation. Be careful what you go looking for. You might find it...

"Fanboyz" is about a Jackass-style TV show, in which the gleefully destructive stars - Duff Memphis, Roscoe Lunch and Ozzie Sinatra - attempt to reproduce the incredible deeds of super-heroes, with disastrous results. The story was illustrated by Seth Fisher, who has an irresistible instinct for the surreal, the sublime and the sick.

A story about a child-killer, and the disconnected phone in his basement, which never-the-less still sometimes rings with angry calls from the dead. If you've already read it, check out "the missing chapter" on the Exclusive Content page.

The story of a disturbed young man who finally finds meaning and purpose in his life after being transformed into a man-eating grasshopper-thing. It started as a take on Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis,” but by the end it had become a kind of homage to the great giant insect movies of the 1950s.

“Voluntary Committal” is a novella-length story about an emotionally disturbed child who builds a fortress out of cardboard boxes in his basement, a vast Escher-like construction, with doors in it that open into other worlds.

"In The Rundown," Crimewave

My story, “In The Rundown,” will appear in the next issue of Crimewave, an English magazine that deals in stories of mystery, suspense and action. “In The Rundown” is about a troubled young man and his encounter in the woods with a woman in shock, survivor of an attack which has claimed at least one of her two children.

My story, tentatively titled “Abraham’s Boys,” concerns the tortured relationship between an old and disgraced Van Helsing, and the two sons who fear and loathe him.

In which you’ll find “20th Century Ghost,” the story of a young man’s encounter with the dead girl who haunts his small town’s cinema. Of the things I’ve written, this is probably my personal favorite, and not just because it’s had a pretty successful run (I was awarded the Ray Bradbury fellowship on the basis of this story, it was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and Stephen Jones liked it enough to put it in his annual Best Of collection). I had more fun writing “20th Century Ghost” than just about anything else I’ve ever worked on – wrote it in a blind rush over a period of three days - and have always felt more emotionally connected to it to any of my other stories.

“20th Century Ghost” first appeared in the final issue of The High Plains Literary Review. A moment of silence, while we honor the passing of another perfectly honorable small press fiction magazine. Thank you.

Volume V contains my story, “The Saved”; the following issue features “The Widow’s Breakfast.” Both are stories of men emotionally and morally adrift in the 1930s and heading for trouble.


With Signs and Wonders: An International Collection of Jewish Magical Realism, ed. Dan Jaffe  

Life ain’t easy for Arthur Roth, the inflatable boy. The world can be a dangerous place when you’re made of plastic and filled with hot air. One unlucky encounter with a thumb-tack or a sharpened pencil and it’s all over...

“Pop Art” is maybe my personal favorite of my stories. At one time, a large image of Art graced my original home page. When the site was redesigned, we did away with it, although a small piece of that picture still remains, in the upper left hand corner of every page – just Art’s hand, with a bunch of balloons tied to his wrist. I’m glad we didn’t dump him completely. I like that every time someone visits joehillfiction, Art is still there to wave hello.

“Better Than Home” is about Homer Feltz, a gifted if emotionally disturbed young boy, and his relationship with his equally complicated father, the manager of a failing major league baseball team, and a man filled with both compassion and rage. It won the A.E. Coppard Long Fiction Prize, and was published in the form of a handsome chapbook by Frank Edmund Smith, one of the true good guys of the small press world. The cover was, in part, designed by the peerless Shane Leonard, who also oversaw the construction of this very web site. Talented ain’t he?