“The Doll Collection” edited by Ellen Datlow
Publisher’s Synopsis: The Doll Collection is exactly what it sounds like: a treasured toy box of all-original dark stories about dolls of all types, including everything from puppets and poppets to mannequins and baby dolls. Featuring everything from life-sized clockwork dolls to all-too-human Betsy Wetsy-type baby dolls, these stories play into the true creepiness of the doll trope, but avoid the clichés that often show up in stories of this type.Master anthologist Ellen Datlow has assembled a list of beautiful and terrifying stories from bestselling and critically acclaimed authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, Seanan McGuire, Carrie Vaughn, Pat Cadigan, Tim Lebbon, Richard Kadrey, Genevieve Valentine, and Jeffrey Ford. The collection is illustrated with photographs of dolls taken by Datlow and other devoted doll collectors from the science fiction and fantasy field. The result is a star-studded collection exploring one of the most primal fears of readers of dark fiction everywhere, and one that every reader will want to add to their own collection.
3 out of 5 stars
I love anthologies. I love short stories. I love horror and creepy stories. This book brought all three together for me and I loved it!
Ellen Datlow is known for her anthologies which are always well put together and read fluidly from beginning to end. If you haven’t read something she had put together, I suggest you do as her anthologies are not just horror; many are fantasy and other world based.
Now, the book. Dolls are creepy. They just are with their fixed stares and I always suspected that after I fell asleep that the few dolls I had would blink their unmoving eyes and just stare at me while I slept. Someone gave me a porcelain doll once and I kept her on the highest shelf I could as a safeguard. I thought she would fall and I would hear her break on her way to get me.
There are 17 stories in this anthology and to add to the creep factor, each title page for each story features a picture of a doll. A scary, black and white picture that ties in with the following story. The pictures add so much to the spookiness of this book and I loved the addition. This is not an anthology about evil dolls, which is explained in the introduction, but rather a collection of good dolls, creepy dolls and doll collectors.
There were two stories that stood out for me. The first was “The Doll-Master” by Joyce Carol Oates. Super creepy, this little gem had me hooked right from the beginning. I didn’t want the dolls to be revealed but things always are in the end. I would say this story alone would make the book worth reading, but there are so many more good stories here.
The second was “The Permanent Collection” by Veronica Schanoes. What happens to dolls when they are in need of mending? They go to the Doll Hospital. What happens when they don’t even come out?
A great, quick, creepy read.