Read After the People Lights Have Gone Off by Stephen Graham Jones Joe R. Lansdale George C. Cotronis Online


This collection of fifteen stories taps into the horrors and fears of the supernatural as well as the everyday. Included are two original stories, several rarities and out of print tales, as well as a few "best of the year" inclusions. Stephen Graham Jones is a master storyteller. What does happen after the people lights have gone off? Crack the spine and find out. With anThis collection of fifteen stories taps into the horrors and fears of the supernatural as well as the everyday. Included are two original stories, several rarities and out of print tales, as well as a few "best of the year" inclusions. Stephen Graham Jones is a master storyteller. What does happen after the people lights have gone off? Crack the spine and find out. With an introduction by Joe R. Lansdale.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.WINNER, Short Story Collection, THIS IS HORRORNOMINATED, Short Story Collection, BRAM STOKER AWARDSNOMINATED, Short Story Collection, SHIRLEY JACKSON AWARDS...

Title : After the People Lights Have Gone Off
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781940430256
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 310 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

After the People Lights Have Gone Off Reviews

  • BillKerwin
    2018-07-26 04:04

    Stephen Graham Jones does horror better than terror and delights in a laconic, no-nonsense style that occasionally verges on unconscious parody. As I am a reader who prefers Arthur Machen to Stephen King and Nabokov to Hemingway, I am far from being Jone's ideal reader.I can still be impressed by his style, however, which sometimes often shines most clearly in the simplest descriptions. For example, in “Brushdogs,” he tells us how a character opened two cans of chili and then “poured them into a pan, shook their can shape away.” What a clear image! What an efficient description of a simple task! On the other hand, when Jones uses the same style to summon peak moments of terror, he sometimes relies too greatly on ellipsis and suggestion, producing passages that merely obscure without terrifying.Since he is a craftsman, Jones produces no real “klunkers” here, but the title story, by far the longest piece in the book, creeped me out a little bit but never really scared me and only fitfully held my attention. “This is Love” has its ghastly moments and concludes with an effective revelation, but suffers from the fact that it is designed to be both a chilling horror story and a sincere plea for the tolerance of gay love. (Although I agree with the message, I find these two literary purposes to be incompatible. As Hollywood producer Sam Goldwyn was supposed to have said, “If you have a message, call Western Union!”) Jones, who is a native Texan, a hunter, and a member of the Blackfeet tribe, is familiar with the one-horse towns and wild places of the West, and two of his most vivid tales—“Thirteen” and “Brushdogs”--draw on that background. I also enjoyed the brief “Spiderbox” (weird geometric construction unleashes portal), “Welcome to the Reptile House” (punk rock, tattoos at the crematorium, and worse), “The Black Sleeve of Destiny” (unexpected perils of shopping at the thrift store), and “Snow Monsters” (a nice variation on The Fatal Wish).My two favorites, though, are “Doc's Story,” which manages to make werewolves both more sympathetic and more terrifying, and the aforementioned “Thirteen,” which includes a coming-of-age theme, a Texas movie palace, a horror in the bathroom, the taste of first love, a teenage urban legend, a vicious sexual predator, and three ghosts—all topped off by a Halloween night climax. And the marvelous thing is that this story never seems crowded or excessive or baroque, but instead classic, simple, straightforward, and—yes—even kind of sweet.

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    2018-07-23 04:56

    While I heard about this author when I spoke briefly to Thomas Olde Heuvelt on his book tour (he was reading Mongrels), I came to this book in a somewhat strange way. Book Riot had a quiz called Which Indie Press Should You Be Obsessed With?", so of course I took it, and ended up with a publisher I had never heard of - Curbside Splendor. I went on an interlibrary loan requesting frenzy and ended up with five books from Curbside Splendor or their imprint, Dark House Press, which this title is from. I selected this book purely from the amazing cover, and it has not disappointed.These are the best kind of horror stories. The kind where you finish it and in the seconds after reading the last word, a realization of what has occurred slowly starts to cross your mind. This may be a byproduct of reading too fast, which I do, but sometimes my eyes finish before my brain does. But in that moment after, that feeling of horror, that chill - this is not a thing that I experience very often! There were a few stories that had me swearing at the end and needing some fresh air.I don't even know how to pick favorites. Welcome to the Reptile House went somewhere I didn't expect. Brushdogs made me read it twice because I didn't quite understand, but then I did. The Spindly Man made my book club loving heart shiver (and I read it the morning I was headed to book club! Bad decision!) The Black Sleeve of Destiny could make thrift shopping scary. And so on.I always read the front and back material in books, I just can't help myself, so I was fascinated to read the author's explanations of what inspired the stories. He is very firmly situated in the horror genre, with some of these stories serving as tributes practically to previous stories, in a way I would never have understood without him telling me (because I read so infrequently in this genre.) There is a level of intentionality that adds to the experience. I also need to mention the absolutely beautiful book. The cover is gorgeous. Each story has a full black title page, and the page after has an illustration in black and white facing the first few words/ sentences of the story in a larger font. It was simply a pleasure to read, and it felt like the same level of attention the author has paid was reflected in the book design, such a rare thing.This will be a perfect read for #spooktober, #scaretober, or however you want to call October in a clever way that makes you crave a scary read.

  • Melki
    2018-08-03 10:50

    "We were just talking about how if you admit devils," Drake said, "then that means the door must be open for angels as well.""Or more demons," the spindly man said, sitting back in his chair. "Inside every angel, there's a demon waiting to claw out, right?"*This author certainly has a gift for milking the mundane, ho-hum trivialities of our everyday existences: seeing a movie, attending a book club, waiting to pick up your spouse from work. Under his skilled pen, our bland routines are opportunities for inciting nervousness. Horror fans expecting gore-spattered violence will be disappointed. Jones takes a more subtle approach. His is a slow oozing dread that creeps up on you, digs its claws in and hangs around for a while. I didn't love every story in this collection. In fact, the majority of them neither chilled nor thrilled me, but the writing is so good, nothing less than four stars will do. Jones really shines in the longer stories. It's as if his style needs time to fester and take hold before it pounces. One of my favorites was Doc's Story, a fascinating tale about a family of lycanthropes. It answers that burning question of what happens when a werewolf gets a tick on his fur. Two other goodies are the title story and Uncle. In this one, a man can't resist playing with a handheld infrared thermometer that was ordered by his recently deceased wife. Later, I settled my red pointer on the late-show host's cheek. It made me feel like a sniper.And then I checked the living room out.The walls were warmer behind the set, cooler by the door. The lamp that I'd had on while eating was still comparatively hot. The late show host was on fire. The window was the Arctic, the ceiling indifferent, the carpet the same. Then the audience on television exploded with laughter.I nodded in acknowledgement, sighted along the top of the gun down the hall, to my bedroom, but stopped at Theresa's instead.Everywhere else in the darkness, the temperature was hovering around seventy. There was a spot right in her doorway, though.It registered as body heat.Brrr! I read that outdoors in eighty-plus degree heat and still got goosebumps! I'll be reading more by this author.*from The Spindly Man

  • Heidi Ward
    2018-08-13 08:07

    After the People Lights Have Gone Off is nagging at me for a review, and I'm not sure what to tell it. When, in his cover-blurb, Laird Barron likens the book to "a malignant grain of an evil dream," he's on to something. I keep thinking about certain of these stories in a kind of awe at how immediately they imprinted themselves on me, but others eluded or vexed me for reasons that probably say more about me than they do about Stephen Graham Jones' writing.Let's start with what I loved. I loved that the collection contains gutting new twists on the dusty old vampire and werewolf genres; I loved the fact that two of the stories ("Xebico" and "The Spindly Man") are inspired rejoinders to other weird tales I'm fond of. I loved that SGJ can find the terrifying in the mundanity of a laser kitchen thermometer, an old fruit-crate or a thrift-shop hoodie. And I love that the title piece is looking like one of my favorite haunted house stories ever.Thematically, though, not much love. There is an awful lot of grieving and coping (badly) and loss of all kinds going on here. In After the People Lights Have Gone Off grief is practically a character. There are stories about lost children, sick children, funerals, dead or sick or broken spouses, and also stories about the horrible deals humans make to keep death's darkness at bay. Though SGJ manages to inject the madness of grief with touches of humor and humanity, the vibe can get pretty heavy in the places most of us would rather not think about, where the terrible truths about loss live. Maybe my indifference to certain stories, "Snow Monsters" and "Second Chances," for example, is that they didn't really poke my scary spots, as I'm not a parent or even particularly fond of children. (Some people think that makes me a sociopath, but I know they're just envious of all the "me-time" I get.) Other stories, like "This is Love," and "Brushdogs," I'll admit that I just don't get (yet). Both are also about lost children, in different ways, but what vexes me in both cases is the suggestion of repetitive time looping or doubling that I still just can't get my head around. (Which is funny, because I've read them both before in anthologies.)I know this isn't my most coherent review, and that's because I'm not really done mulling the stories. I have to take After the People Lights Have Gone Off back to the library now, but I'm not likely to be done thinking about it for awhile.

  • Paul
    2018-08-04 10:59

    *For note of disclosure, see below.Stephen’s latest book, After the People Lights Have Gone Off, is a short story collection published by the new and impressive Dark House Press**. What I admire most about Stephen’s work is how fearlessly he approaches and employs possibility. It’s one thing to come up with the concept, the what-if, but Stephen pokes, prods, and expands his possibilities until you-the-reader arrive at this strange place that is simultaneously shocking and familiar. His fiction doesn’t shy away from the difficult implications and questions, nor does he shy away from the horror of inevitability.The fifteen stories work individually and as a collective reading experience. You experience Stephen’s stories.To some of the stories themselves:“Thirteen” is local legend and hell in a movie theater and hell in a high school relationship. “Brushdogs” is a dread-filled hallucinogenic account of a father and son out hunting that I think could/should be read as a companion piece to “Father, Son, Holy Rabbit” (appeared in The Ones That Got Away). “The Spindly Man” is clever and fun in it’s group story setting (and it’s reference to Stephen King’s “The Man in the Black Suit”) until it’s not so fun. “This is Love” made me hurt. I wish I wrote story with the title “The Spider Box.” “Snow Monsters” puts a spin on the bargain-story and this one made me hurt even worse. The title story “After All the People Lights Have Gone Off” is a tour de force ghost story with some images that genuinely left me shuddering in a heap. A heap, I say.So, yeah, just go buy his book already.*Stephen is a friend of mine. He does not resemble Frankenstein. We co-wrote a book together (available in Canada now, coming out soon in the USA). Like me he is tall and he hates pickles. It’s the pickles-hate that most threaten my objectivity. But! But! Stephen was a writer that I admired and was jealous of before I met him. I started haunting his email inbox after I read his genius DEMON THEORY. *)**Dark House Press has also published the anthology The New Black edited by Richard Thomas and the very cool novel Echo Lake by Letitia Trent. Both books are more than worth your time.

  • John
    2018-08-12 08:58

    Best collection I've read since Ballingrud's North American Lake Monsters. Favorites include Brushdogs, The Spindly Man, This is Love, and the title story.

  • Seregil of Rhiminee
    2018-08-18 06:00

    Originally published at Risingshadow.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:- Thirteen- Brushdogs- 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- Xebico- Second Chances- After the People Lights Have Gone Off- Uncle- Solve for XHere'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.Highly recommended!

  • Anita Dalton
    2018-08-12 04:01

    3.5 star review. I already know, writing the first sentence of my discussion for After the People Lights Have Gone Off, that I will be using the delete key quite a bit. I find it difficult to put into words why some stories in this collection were the literary equivalent of throwing a lead weight over the side of a ship and why some stories soared, excellent examples of literary horror at its best. Some of Jones’s stories were so perfect that I felt that familiar pull of envy that comes when I read something so wonderful that I wish I had thought of it first. But some of Jones’s stories were impenetrable for me, leaving me wondering if he missed the mark or if I was just too dense to understand what he was trying to convey. Ultimately I decided I just wasn’t the sort of reader to appreciate those stories, that taste was at issue and not talent.The hell of it is, this has been a pretty dense year for me. Sort of muddy and brackish. I don’t feel as on the ball at the moment as I have in years past. But what made me decide that my divided reactions are righteous was analyzing why I am so divided about the stories in this collection. The answer is that while Jones has a distinct voice, he is also a malleable writer who is moving around within his chosen genre. The stories that have a familiar ring to them are written in a style that makes them seem fresh, but Jones also ventures out into new territory, with strange ideas and storytelling techniques that can be maddening when one is the sort of reader who needs the conclusions to be neater. Jones may luck out and find readers who love every bit of his work, as he twists the horror genre into new shapes, but chances are he’s going to end up with a substantial number of readers who love it when he’s wearing a particular storytelling hat but less so when he puts on another.One hat that Jones kept on throughout this collection is the “weird” hat. Much of this collection could be considered weird fiction, which may be one of the reasons why some of the stories didn’t work for me. I like weird fiction, as a rule, but this horror subset lends itself well to muffled storytelling, mushy conclusions, entire story lines that can be up for interpretation. I’ve been clear in the past how I feel about such writing. That sort of remote remove in writing irritates me because it is too often a cop-out, a lazy attempt to force the burden of storytelling onto the reader. Jones, when his writing is up for interpretation doesn’t echo the laziness of others who write this way, and this entire collection is refreshingly devoid of irony, but even purposeful, earnest writing that employs this sort of post-modernist equivocation will likely always ring false to me. You can read my entire discussion here.

  • Adriane
    2018-08-14 07:02

    I finished reading this book a few weeks ago and have read maybe 3 other books since but I felt like I needed to write a review about it only because it has left such a lasting impression on me. The first thought that came to my mind after finishing just the first short story in this collection was “why the hell did I take so long to read a book by Stephen Graham Jones?!” and that voice kept coming back louder and louder with each story that I read. Recently I have read so many short story collections that are all expertly written and exciting in the sense that they are evidence of the incredible amount of talent in weird/horror fiction right now. Some of these collections are dense and left me feeling hopeless and depressed, some are a lot of fun and left me hungry for more while others are intriguing to the point that they left me feeling dazed. While these are all desirable traits in horror and weird fiction, too much of a good thing can be overwhelming at times and what I enjoyed so much about “After the People Lights Have Gone Off” is that it is such a balanced collection. I really enjoyed all of the stories and even though each one of them has a different feel to it, they all left their mark. I am also mind blown by Jones’ capacity of drawing the reader’s attention almost as if he was right there telling you the stories himself. Oh well, do yourself a favor and read this book, you won’t regret it; as for me, it is time to go because if I plan on reading everything that is out there by SGJ - and I definitely do! - then I have a lot of catching up to do!

  • Barry
    2018-07-20 07:01

    This review originally appeared in Shock Totem, issue 9...Shock Totem 9The irony of the title of this collection is that, after reading each of its fifteen frightful stories, you probably will do anything to make sure your lights to stay on, long into the night. Not only for the more obvious terrors that you might glimpse out of the corner of your gaze in every open doorway and under your desk, but literally to shed some light on the weird mysteries and even distorted beauty found in this book.Perhaps you’re thinking to yourself, Wait, you mean this isn’t a horror collection? Worry not: some truly disturbing tales to worry at your soul have been gathered in here. The opener, “Thirteen” takes the reader for a slow waltz through teenaged urban legend, tragedy, and terror in an old movie theater. “Solve For X” is a horrifying tale of torture and wonder à la the 2008 French film Martyrs. And as someone who’s never had a tattoo in his life, “Welcome To the Reptile House” was one hell of a squirm-inducing tale — with a curveball plot twist more potent than any ink needle.Did I mention “distorted beauty?” Oh, yes—there’s plenty of that to be found here, too. “The Dead Are Not,” despite having one of the creepiest titles ever, is a heartbreaking tale of life and death, and all the Great Big Possibilities between (and above, and beyond) them. “Snow Monsters” was a deeply moving story that asks hard questions that can be most difficult to answer. And “Second Chances,” which follows a scientist’s observations of a most memorable cycle of metamorphoses, is actually quite touching, even if its tune ultimately ends with screeching notes of horror.Other stories transcend all categorization, however, ultimately leaving the reader wondering as to the journey they’ve just traveled, and where they’ve ultimately been deposited. “Brushdogs,” previously printed in the Laird Barron tribute anthology The Children of Old Leech, is a hallucinatory woodland-set mystery of hunters as the hunted. “Doc’s Story” is an edgy narrative that is in part about werewolves (this is no spoiler – the opening line is, “My grandfather was a werewolf.”), but is really more about family and the power of childhood belief. The title novella and “Uncle” are melancholic pieces of heartache and regret, but even as the narrators’ sorrows are recounted, terror creeps in with such subtlety that you barely know it’s there until it drops its clammy hand upon your shoulder.There is also an interesting pair of meta-stories in here that are spins on previously existing tales, which can be read wholly independent of their original counterparts. “The Spindly Man” is a meditation on mood in the form of a reading group’s latest assignment—Stephen King’s “The Man In the Black Suit” (from Everything’s Eventual). “Xebico” takes this idea even further, by revisiting an obscure short story from an even more obscure ‘20’s pulp writer named H.F. Arnold, “The Night Wire,” as the narrator describes the story’s adaptation for the stage—and subsequently, the terrifying events that begin to unfold…Mr. Jones has a fine way with words (as any fan of his work, new or long-acquainted, could attest), and this collection is a fine showcase of his talents. Emotion, mood, tension, suspense, horror - he does all with ease, but such crafts are peanuts for him. He has a unique approach to his narrative structures in that, unlike many a more “trendy” author’s attempts at style, is accented by little verbal digressions that often feel more like a vocal delivery than a stream of consciousness; some readers may find this distracting, but I found this to be one of Mr. Jones’ more clever touches, often weaving complex arpeggios of non-sequiturs. “But still.”After the People Lights Have Gone Off is also quite a beautifully formatted book, with thematic illustrations at the beginning of each tale by Luke Spooner and a feverish, even claustrophobic, page layout by Alban Fischer. Throw in a humorous introduction by a big fan named Joe R. Lansdale, and a candid (and at times tongue-in-cheek) series of author’s notes at the end, and you have one of the most unique, weird, dark, upsetting, disturbing, and unforgettable single-author short story collections of the year.And your lights? Yeah, don’t bother keeping them on after you’re done reading this book. They won’t help.

  • Melanie
    2018-08-03 08:54

    I really like the way Jones' imagination works, but at times his writing style makes me feel like there are some inside jokes being referenced that I'm not privy to. Not enough to take away from my enjoyment of the stories entirely, but a little distracting. I think sometimes there are things alluded to indirectly, or curious turns of phrases, that I don't have enough information to sort out on my own.One thing that really bothered me, and this is perhaps just my own squeamishness, is the incident with the ball peen hammer in one of the stories. Not so much the incident itself, which I totally get is supposed to be disturbing, considering these are dark stories, but the fact that it's presented as a humorous anecdote not just in the story itself, but in the author's notes about the story at the back of the book. I have a hard time accepting that an anecdote like that could ever be told in a way that's funny rather than horrifying. Nor do I think it should be.

  • Kevin Lucia
    2018-08-08 10:16

    Stephen Graham Jones' prose is tight and controlled (sometimes a little too terse for my tastes), and his examination of human beings at their oftentimes worst and most unflattering moments is unflinching and precise. In this collection, he does an excellent at taking known horror tropes and twisting them to his own ends. A few stories were a little too detached, not really touching me emotionally, and some of the ends lacked a bit in resolution. On the whole, however, a highly rewarding read. Also, the craftsmanship of the book itself - its interior layout and illustrations for each story - set it apart as beautiful package, a work of art in itself.

  • Sean
    2018-07-29 03:54

    Excellent set of stories, each uniquely written and told with a sharp, witty and sometimes ruthless tongue. Jones' writing is sometime over my head in a way that I've got to read closer to digest, to engage each story with a devotion and focus that I don't have to with say a King or Koontz story. But I kinda like that. Not all these stories were for me, but most were. I enjoyed the time spent with them, and so will you, I think. Check out Snow Monsters and Spider Box for sure.

  • David
    2018-08-04 09:07

    Wow. Just, wow. I want to read everything Jones has written now.

  • Patrick Lacey
    2018-08-05 04:16

    One of the best single-author collections I've ever read. If you haven't read it yet, do it now. If you have, read it again.

  • Victor Giron
    2018-07-21 02:47


  • Andy
    2018-07-24 08:59

    I don't give 5 stars often, but I can't help it, this really deserves it.Normally I like to read two or three short story collections by different authors at the same time so I'm not reading story-after-story by one author. This helps ensure I'm not getting tired of their style while still giving me a good feel for the author.In this case I read this book by itself, in a very short time period and every single story continued to impress me, they're all different in tone and theme and after a while I realized there wasn't going to be a dud in the whole book! And there isn't!Thirteen - This was a really good story, a good way to start things off. Bradbury-nostalgic with a genuinely eerie feel, at one point my stomach literally SANK. Kids engage in a ritual at an old theater which causes the movies to invade their world.Brushdogs - Another impressive story, perhaps not as creepy as the first one, but even more emotional impact here in it's exploration of the gulf between father and son. A man takes his son hunting, and after he sees the son from afar come in contact with a strange black cairn, things aren't the same between them.Welcome to the Reptile House - A good vampire story, fascinating throughout but I would have to say among my least favorite personally. A loser/struggling tattoo artist practices his art on bodies in a morgue, then gets a visit from one of them.This Is Love - Excellent story, one of the best and more memorable. The end handles it's other-dimensional theme particularly well. It's about a gay couple who have a tiff at a rest stop. One of them loses their wallet in the woods and they backtrack to try and find it.The Spindly Man - Another home run, with another tortured character dealing with his own demons, with an eerie ending. A man whose life has fallen apart since he had a car accident with his son starts a book club which is joined by a very strange guest.The Black Sleeve of Destiny - This was a good one, written in terse, hard style with the bitter humor of what it's like to work retail. It's funny how the main character realizes such weird things are happening to him, and he just goes with it. The concept reminds me a little of Ramsey Campbell's story "Old Clothes." A young man gets a hoodie from Goodwill, and starts stealing things in the extra-long right sleeve, which seems to have a life, and plan, of it's own.The Spider Box - I literally said while reading this story, "This is brilliant!" And it is, it has a very original concept, the only thing in weird fiction I can think of even slightly similar might be Lovecraft's "Dreams in the Witch-House." A family discovers that a fruit box with odd angles and dimensions draws in masses of spiders, and other things too.Snow Monsters - This story is a bit less weird and more heart-warming/heart-breaking at the same time, very good writing. A father gets a visit from a man who predicts something horrible, and a way to forbid it.Doc's Story - A werewolf story, told in a less traditional and more realistic way, about what the implications of lycanthopy would actually be for a family that tries to deal with their dark secret.The Dead Are Not - A very sad story dealing deeply with grief and death, it's really heart-breaking. It has some weird/sci-fi elements, but isn't horrific. A man who belongs to a group of people suffering from the same terminal illness, starts seeing an out-of-place group of strangers at funerals.Xebico - This was one of the scarier stories, one of the weirder and more hallucinogenic too. The end is suitably vague, sad and utterly creepy. A man fresh out of college is given an assignment to research the author of an old pulp horror story which is being adapted into a play.Second Chances - Another sad-happy story, short and told in a more straight-forward way. A mother grieving over the death of her two month old baby starts seeing signs of him in the animals in a lab she works in.After the People Lights Have Gone Off - This was such a good story, displaying humanity with it's warts and all, it's absurdities. This is the longest story in the book, coming in at around 11,000 words. It's a very atmospheric, emotional and unconventional haunted house story, but it also manages to be quite creepy too. A couple move into their new home, despite their memory of the place becoming marred by tragedy, the husband tries to deal with lots of unaccountable phenomena.Uncle - Wow, this was one of the most powerful stories here, a bit like the previous one, but with a bit more focus on the horror element, with almost same emotional punch in less than half the length. A man in a passionless marriage tries to confront the sudden death of his wife, and feeling her presence in the house.Solve For X - I thought this was a rather strange story to end with. This is a really horrific, B-horror type stuff on the surface, but with a chilling mood and ease of description. A woman is tied up in a basement where a man tortures her, but for a purpose.

  • Ben Loory
    2018-08-08 04:50

    Favorites:"Brushdogs""The Spindly Man""Snow Monsters""The Dead Are Not""Xebico"and especially "After the People Lights Have Gone Off"which has one of the creepiest ideas of all time in it

  • Riju Ganguly
    2018-08-16 06:58

    Few years back I had stopped reading the American variety of horror & terror stories. Then, primarily as a result of my encounters with a few stories in various anthologies, I developed a vague appetite for them.I'm grateful to this collection. It PROVED that King-esque American horror, with endless study of various characters and their boxed revealations, is truly NOT my cup of tea.I quit.

  • Jillian
    2018-08-13 06:50

    It’s my own fault, really: getting taken in by that beautiful cover, making assumptions about the contents within. I imagined, like its cover, each story would be cool and dusky, with that single, glowing attic window implying some kind of warm, familial, human drama within. Honestly, it… varies.Some of the stories in this collection have truly unique premises, and some of those even have a fulfilling follow-through. Most of the stories involve some kind of ~twist and “Welcome to the Reptile House” is one of the most satisfying: a collision of a contemporary tattoo artist and classic movie monster. Along those lines, “Doc’s Story” is another enticing take on classic horror, a version of werewolf mythos so fresh I still do want to read its book-form Mongrels. “Brushdogs” is a sensitive story about paternal love in which Jones’s oblique style actually matches well with the main character’s haze of desperation. A few of the stories really do live up to the domestic horror that cover promised me!However, I think the beginning of my troubles with this book came out of Jones’s style. The book opens with “Thirteen” and an unnamed narrator tells us about the goings-on at his town’s spooky movie theater with a distinctively confident, casual cadence, as if he were talking right to us. He apparently also narrates near every other story in the book. Every narrator has some variation on that same, slightly offhand, chatty voice. There’s style choices and then there’s every main character actually just being the same person. A person I never felt any particular attachment to either. Also a person whom, if he were actually telling me these stories in person, I’d have to ask to back up and explain what he was just talking about one more time. The writing is so nonchalant, so bare-bones, that at the climax or twist, I had to double-take a few paragraphs to parse out what happened. Ambiguity is great in horror and pared-down language is fine. But it's not that there's too few words; it's as if some crucial sentences just never existed. Being kinda confused isn’t the same thing as that tingly sense of not knowing that you can get from good horror.Still, this was almost a three-star for me until the final story “Solve for X” made me realize a general unease I’d been developing with each story. “Solve for X” is torture porn. Like, that’s just what genre it is. A nameless woman is tied up and tortured by some guy because it’s a game? or something? (That bare-bones writing style, at it again!) It is not in and of itself misogynistic to write about violence being inflicted upon a woman. If I couldn’t stomach reading about women in physical pain, I wouldn’t seek out the horror genre as much as I do. It’s not the body horror, it’s not the uncomfortable sexual implications of the situation. Nope, it is liberties Jones takes in his version of a woman's perspective. Nameless She doesn't have The Narrator Voice from the rest of the stories. Instead, Nameless wonders if she deserves this, thinks maybe she's falling in ~love with her tormentor, and finally understands that her situation is actually righteous. There's something about (view spoiler)[desperation making one able to solve unsolvable problems? Or randomly guess answers (hide spoiler)]? (Again, I was confused.) But anyway, this was the justification for the woman's torture. Two out of fifteen were stories about a woman, and our heroine in this one happens to realize that she, her life, and her body actually do exist in service of some dude's vision.All of the women in this book (with the exception of “Second Chances” in which (view spoiler)[a woman gets to be the murderer instead (hide spoiler)]) are the woman in “Solve for X”: dead women, dying women, injured women, abducted women, some more dead women. “The Dead Are Not” is about a man whose wife is dying. “Uncle” is about a man whose wife died. “Snow Monsters” is about a man whose wife (view spoiler)[will die (hide spoiler)]. “After the People Lights Have Gone Off” is about a man whose wife could have died. They are actually the plot for a story about some sad guy.Maybe it's something about me, but I found it all somewhat alienating. Many readers won’t have the same distaste that I did. Honestly, I think my main complaints would still have been those of style, if not for that final story. Unlike "Doc's Story," this is not a fresh take on a classic horror trope; it's kind of just the same one about a woman's body being fodder for something that's not her own life.

  • Jonathan Raab
    2018-07-30 03:05

    Colorado’s favorite adopted son/horror writer is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I know I’m late to the game here—I didn’t discover him until I read his story in Nightmare Carnival—but damn, if his style of literary-meets-pulp ain’t something to marvel at, nothing is. Jones’ collection is everything you’d want out of a weird-horror anthology. There were a pair of stories that didn’t quite stick the landing for me, but I always admired the characterization, setting, and sense of voice each story possessed. The majority of the stories are creepy and emotionally intense, with a few that stuck with me well after my own people lights went out… That’s rare for me to say these days. I’ve listened to a few of his recent interviews and he strikes me as the kind of guy you could drink a couple of tall boys with and talk about the finer points of 80’s shlock horror cinema. I’ll be picking up his novel Mongrels because my favorite story in this collection (“Doc’s Story”) apparently is chapter one of that novel. If that’s how it starts, I can’t wait to see where it goes.

  • David
    2018-07-25 08:54

    A TOP SHELF review, originally published in the October 17, 2014 edition of The MonitorFrom time to time a writer of dark fiction will tap into my specific fears and weaknesses in a way that makes reading his work both terrifying and exciting. Searching for the perfect “scary” book for October, I stumbled across notice of the latest from native Texan Stephen Graham Jones (who won the Texas Institute of Letters Jesse Jones Award for Fiction in 2005). Intrigued by the cover and title, and encouraged by the advance praise, I picked up a copy. And, wow.After the People Lights Have Gone Off, released by Dark House Press in September, is a collection of 15 horror stories, each accompanied by a striking illustration by Luke Spooner. The stories are masterful explorations of the terror lying in wait within the mundane, disturbing juxtapositions of dreadful and quotidian. Featuring relatively little gore, the collection manages to tap into emotional, psychological fears, many related to our relationships with friends and loved ones.I devoured every story greedily, but stand-outs were “Brushdogs,” about a father-son hunting trip that comes untethered from reality; “This Is Love,” in which a young gay couple on a camping trip face a tragic misunderstanding; “The Black Sleeve of Destiny,” belonging to a defective and diabolical hoodie; the very Twilight-Zone vibe of “The Spider Box,” in which a family accidentally rearranges the geometry of a cardboard box so that it opens an eldritch portal; every father’s nightmare about his children comes true in “Snow Monsters,” with a moving twist; and finally the eponymous haunting tale of a couple living, though not precisely alone, in the house where the wife was paralyzed.Jones’ writing is precise and mostly terse, his narrators’ voices spot-on. Reading his work, I found myself getting swept up, drawn inexorably toward a place that was familiar yet utterly unnerving. I wanted to put the book down, but I couldn’t. That’s the hallmark of great horror.

  • Brian Steele
    2018-08-18 09:17

    I was already somewhat familiar with Stephen Graham Jones from some of his short stories that I had come across in various anthologies. I can’t recall what any of them were necessarily about, but even then I was struck by his prose. It’s that quality that lingers after reading his collection AFTER THE PEOPLE LIGHTS HAVE GONE OFF.When reading work by Jones, the sensation comes upon you that these are not written like your average stories. They feel like legends, like something that should be told through oral tradition, passed among friends around a campfire. It’s his ease with language, his conversational style that makes it feel like he’s sitting across from you, telling you this tale himself. This story happened, and Jones is simply relating the lore to you as he heard it himself. And as for that lore, Jones explores some traditional horror with werewolves and vampires, but goes outside the box with some brilliant weird pieces as well. All of the stories resonate with characterization, atmosphere, and personality.The most effective pieces by Jones are the ones that make you feel, even though sometimes you’re not entirely sure why. Some tales can get confusing, his style drawing you in, but not always painting a clear picture. Often, it’s not really essential, as you’re already part of the story, enveloped in the horror. Don’t worry about the details, and let Jones tell his stories – it’s worth it.

  • Fred Venturini
    2018-07-21 10:57

    I never thought I would find a short story writer who could offer my hardened, adult self the same chills and thrills the same way old school Stephen King did with my 12 year old self. SGJ delivers the goods with horror that lurks in the margins, in those little spaces between lines, between pages, in the unsaid. And isn't that what good horror does? It creeps up on you, and never shows its face, leaving your mind to do the real dirty work. Like King, he finds terror in the mundane--a cardboard box, an IR thermometer, the sound of a wheelchair's wheel. Like King, his stories set up final passages that always linger and sometimes stun. Unlike King, the prose is far more poetic, and the stories are less straightforward and on-the-nose as some of my old favorites like "The Jaunt" and "I Am the Doorway." But I'm a more mature reader now, and harder to scare, and as my tastes have developed for higher-level horror, the kind that engages the mammalian brain, distracting it so that the lizard brain is more vulnerable, I keep finding myself looking forward to every new SGJ story and collection. There's plenty to love here, and knowing how prolific he is as an author, thankfully I can comfortably predict that there will be more to love in the pipeline, always.

  • Cindy
    2018-07-24 04:15

    Very entertaining anthology of horror stories. Mr. Jones is very good at setting a mood and establishing characters. If you're looking for cheap scares or shock, look elsewhere. Mr. Jones' stories are more melancholy and wistful than "spine tingling." His characters are "haunted" by their pasts, their mistakes, and their own (human) demons. The actual ghosts or ghouls are incidental. There's certainly dread but nothing to make you turn all your lights on.I only have two comments. I personally found Mr. Jones' prose style enjoyable but a little confusing. I had to re-read paragraphs to figure out what was going on. Maybe this was done on purpose because many of these stories have little plot twists in the middle. However, I found it more baffling than intriguing. In addition, I found many of the endings repetitive. It would have been better if I spaced each story out but reading the stories altogether helped each ending blend in together. Ultimately, despite the above, this book is a good read for dark lonely nights.

  • Michael Adams
    2018-07-29 11:15

    It's difficult to review this one for some reason. It's compulsively readable, the prose is excellent, and the stories are imaginative, and pull you right in. Another nice thing is the length of the stories, each one is pretty bite-sized and easy to read in a single sitting. Sometimes I even devoured several at a time. For some reason though, despite being well written and haunting, none of the stories packed that visceral "this is a great story" feeling for me. Maybe they were too short to develop enough meat on their bones? Maybe the endings felt rushed, or instead of "open-ended with possibility" they felt... a little "intentionally confusing"? Not sure how to express it, but it forces me into having call this collection good, but not great, despite the overall quality of the writing.

  • Lindsay
    2018-08-18 10:05

    In my effort to read almost all horror this month, I've learned a lot about my reading preferences, and reading horror short stories was like a microcosm of the process. I enjoyed this collection overall, with my three favorite stories being "The Spindly Man," "The Dead Are Not," and "After the People Lights Have Gone Off." The final story ("Solve for X") was the most difficult for me--I just can't handle kidnap/torture stories involving women--but it did have an interesting ending.But man. After finishing this and Bird Box, I don't know how much more intensity I can take...********Read Harder: Horror book

  • Bill Hsu
    2018-07-31 02:54

    As with Jones' last collection, I really enjoyed some of the stories, but a few just didn't work for me at all. The 4 stars is mostly for "Solve for X". It starts in torture porn-ish fashion, then Jones pushes it further and further till it ends up in completely different territory. I thought the ending was impressively executed. (Nitpick warning: wish "theorem" wasn't misspelled, sigh.)

  • Hayden Gilbert
    2018-08-03 04:55

    Some masterfully written stories in here. Some great: Thirteen, Doc's Story, and After the People Lights...Others good: Brushdogs, Welcome to the Reptile House, This is Love, The Spindly Man, Xebico, and Uncle.The prose can get a little too dense to penetrate sometimes, but overall a very effective and spooky look into very eclectically-varied rooms in this haunted house.

  • Philip Fracassi
    2018-07-19 09:16

    One of the best collections to come out in recent years. Masterful.