Wednesday, October 28, 2020

31 Days of Halloween - Day 28 - Book

Don't Turn Out the Lights - Edited by Jonathan Maberry. Harper Collins. 2020. In 1981 a thin book of creepy campfire-type stories aimed at young readers appeared. The stories were very short and set up almost like jokes with macabre punchlines. There was a premise, a set up, and a dark finish. Characters were thinly drawn. No matter, this book was extremely popular (and followed by two more) and hgave many kids nightmares, no doubt fuelled by Stephen Gammell's unsettling illustrations. The book was Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz. I was too old to be the target audience for these books when they came out. I was aware of them, but would noy investigate them until many years later. Jonatahn Maberry was also too old for them when they first hit the scene but took a copy camping with him and recognized the power of those stories whie out alone in the middle of nowhere. Don't Turn Out the Lights is a tribute anthology to Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. It contains 35 stories by some of the top spooky YA authors out there. Like the books this is in tribute to, most of the stories are very short, though a few run a bit longer. They also typically foow the format of the original's tales, joke-like in structure with more attention paid to the details than to the characters, though typically, the inhabitants of these stories have a bit more meat on their bones. The stories here are all quite good, and are entertaining, even though, I'm quite a bit beyond the age of the intended audience at this point. each story is accompanied by an atmospheric illustration by the amazing Iris Compiet who is going to explode in popularity soon. If you are a fan of the Scary Stories books, this is a worthy successor.

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