Stephen Graham Jones' After the People Lights Have Gone Off was published by Dark House Press in September 2014.
Information about Stephen Graham Jones:
Stephen Graham Jones is the author of fifteen novels and five collections, and has some two hundred stories published. Stephen’s been an NEA Fellow and has won the Texas Institute of Letters Award for Fiction and the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural fiction. He's forty-two, married with a couple of kids, and lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Click here to visit the author's official website.
Information about After the People Lights Have Gone Off:
The fifteen stories in After the People Lights Have Gone Off by Stephen Graham Jones explore the horrors and fears of the supernatural and the everyday. Included are two original stories, several rarities and out of print narratives, as well as a few "best of the year" inclusions. In "Thirteen," horrors lurk behind the flickering images on the big screen. "Welcome to the Reptile House" reveals the secrets that hide in our flesh. In "The Black Sleeve of Destiny," a single sweatshirt leads to unexpectedly dark adventures. And the title story, "After the People Lights Have Gone Off," is anything but your typical haunted house story.
With an introduction by Edgar Award winner Joe R. Lansdale, and featuring fifteen full-page illustrations by Luke Spooner, After the People Lights Have Gone Off gets under your skin and stays there.
A REVIEW OF STEPHEN GRAHAM JONES' AFTER THE PEOPLE LIGHTS HAVE GONE OFF
Stephen Graham Jones' After the People Lights Have Gone Off is one of the best modern horror short story collections published during the recent years. It contains excellent stories that are difficult to forget.
Many readers and critics have already praised this collection and now I join the chorus of people who praise it. I'm glad I had a chance to read and review collection, because it was rewarding to read a diverse collection that contained well written stories that both disturbed and intrigued me in different ways. Collections like this are the reason why I love to read horror and the darker side of speculative fiction.
After the People Lights Have Gone Off may not be to everyone's liking because of its difficult and disturbing contents, but I'm sure that everybody who loves modern horror can't help but be impressed by the stories in this collection. I personally enjoyed reading each of these stories, because they were little gems of modern horror with thought-provoking elements.
I think that everybody who reads this collection will notice that Stephen Graham Jones writes differently than many other modern horror authors. It's possible - in fact, I think it's very likely - that different readers experience these stories in different ways, because they can be analyzed in many ways. This kind of ambiguity is rare in modern horror and it isn't easy to find similar kind of stories, although certain authors have written stories that are slightly reminiscent of these stories. For example, Laird Barron has been able to write a bit similar kind of horror fiction.
After the People Lights Have Gone Off contains the following stories:
- Welcome to the Reptile House
- This Is Love
- The Spindly Man
- The Black Sleeve of Destiny
- The Spider Box
- Snow Monsters
- Doc's Story
- The Dead Are Not
- Second Chances
- After the People Lights Have Gone Off
- Solve for X
Here's a bit of information and my thoughts about some of the stories:
"Thirteen" is an excellent and beautifully written horror story about terror and ragedy in a movie theater. This story is one of the best movie theater stories I've read to date.
"Brushdogs" is an unforgettable and hallucinatory story about Junior and Denny who go hunting together. This story is one of my favourite stories in this collection, because the author creates a wonderfully weird atmosphere.
"Welcome to the Reptile House" is a fine story about a man who has artistic tendencies and wants to do tattoos, and whose friend is a morgue attendant. This story is without a doubt one of the best and most unforgettable stories in this collection, because it's beautifully disturbing.
"This Is Love" is a well written and memorable story about a gay couple - Jonathan and Lucas - who go on a camping trip and face a misunderstanding. In my opinion the author wrote surprisingly well about the characters and the happenings in this story.
"The Spider Box" is an intriguing story about the rearranged geometry of a fruit box. This fruit box turns out to be quite an extraordinary box. This story was so good and intriguing that it could easily serve as a script for an episode in The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits.
"Snow Monsters" is a moving story about a father who finds out something bad and has to deal with it. This story is one of my favourite stories in this collection and just like "The Spider Box", it could easily serve as a script for an episode in The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits.
"Doc's Story" is an excellent and well written werewolf story. I honestly don't recall when I've read a story as good as this one about werewolves, because this story is something different.
"After the People Lights Have Gone Off" is an intriguing and memorable haunted house story. The characters in this story are haunted by an accident. I consider this story to be one of the best stories in this collection, because it contains lots of emotional depth and the author writes amazingly well about the characters' lives.
"Solve for X" is not for those faint of heart, because it's a disturbing story about a woman being tortured by a man. This horrifying story begins to evolve in a disturbingly interesting way as the story progresses.
Categorizing some of these stories may be slightly diffcult because of their contents, but in my opinion they can be all called dark fiction, because that's what they are. Because there's beauty and horrifying darkness in these stories, dark fiction is the best way to categorize them.
All of these stories are wonderfully nuanced, beautifully terrifying and fascinatingly weird. Each of these stories can be read independently, but I strongly suggest reading all of them, because then you'll notice how excellent they really are. When you've read all of them, you'll notice fascinating similarities between them, but you'll also be able to notice how different they are from each other.
Stephen Graham has a wonderfully subtle yet horrifying approach to many elements that are associated with the horror genre and are considered to be horror. One of his trademarks is that he has a way with words and is capable of creating different emotions and tension with his words that will haunt the reader after he/she has read the stories.
One of the best things about these stories is that the author doesn't shy away from difficult issues and themes. He boldy embraces even the most difficult issues and makes them his own - this is something that only a few modern horror authors have been able to achieve in their stories. He writes fluently about a tortured woman, a gay couple, an accident etc and lets his readers see and feel what's happening to the characters.
There are probably many readers out there who are used to explicit horror and wonder if stories that contain heartache, sorrow and regret can be called horror stories. I can say to these readers that they truly can be called horror stories, because there's much more to horror than severed and bloody body parts, zombies and vampires. If there are readers out there who are used to reading only explicit horror stories, they should take a look at these stories, because they'd soon realize that creepy and genuinely disturbing stories are much better than explicit stories in which authors try to shock their readers with varying scenes of sex and violence.
I personally enjoyed the psychological depth that could be found in some of these stories, because I've always liked horror stories in which the author goes deeper than the surface and takes you away from your comfort zone. Stephen Graham Jones has rare insight into human nature and he knows what makes us tick. When you read his stories you'll notice how easily he writes about the characters' feelings and deeds.
These stories are so effective and unique that it is a bit difficult to describe the effect they have on the reader unless you've read them, because they stick to your mind. To really appreciate the subtle yet terrifying beauty of these stories, you have to read them personally.
I have to admit that I was amazed at the quality of the author's prose. In my opinion Stephen Graham Jones writes excellent and striking literary prose that has plenty of darkness and sharpness in it. This may sounds a bit cheesy, but I'm tempted to say that his prose cuts as deeply as shards of glass and leaves permanent marks on the reader's mind (readers won't easily forget these stories because of the fine and vivid writing).
The recent years have been very good to horror literature, because authors like Stephen Graham Jones have emerged who genuinely know how to create good, terrifying and uncomfortable atmosphere in their stories. The atmosphere in these stories is simply stunning. If you're an experienced reader, you'll be easily hooked by these stories. Newcomers will also be easily hooked by them, because the atmosphere pulls the reader into a world filled with heartache, regret, sadness, terror and melancholy.
The artwork is excellent. The illustrations by Luke Spooner look beautiful and fit the stories perfectly.
Stephen Graham Jones is - without any kind of doubt - one of the best and most talented modern horror authors to appear during the recent years. This collection serves as a proof of his writing abilities, because it's difficult to find more chilling and unforgettable stories.
If you call yourself a fan of modern horror fiction and haven't read Stephen Graham Jones yet, you should read his stories immediately. His stories belong to the top of the genre. After the People Lights Have Gone Off is a unique, disturbing and memorable short story collection that should be read and praisd by all fans of modern horror fiction. It's a quality collection for all readers who appreciate well written dark fiction.