Read The Doll Collection by Ellen Datlow Stephen Gallagher Miranda Siemienowicz Mary Robinette Kowal Richard Bowes Genevieve Valentine Richard Kadrey Veronica Schanoes Online


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 tThe 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. 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....

Title : The Doll Collection
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780765376800
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 351 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Doll Collection Reviews

  • karen
    2019-03-30 06:18

    i am going to read one story a night as my bedtime reading for the remainder of october so i can have awesome dreams. AND NOW I HAVE FINISHED!Skin and Bone - Tim Lebbon ★★★☆☆"My eyes are mine!"Heroes and Villains - Stephen Gallagher ★★★★★"You can't give the people a story like that. It's nothing but tragedy. We're trying to find something to celebrate.""Then perhaps," Alex said, "it's better if you don't ask the dead to speak."The Doll-Master - Joyce Carol Oates ★★★★☆Annie was a pretty-faced girl-doll with skin like real skin to touch except some of the dye had begun to wear off and you could see the gray rubber beneath, which was shivery and ugly.Gaze - Gemma Files ★★★☆☆Keep it secret, please, therefore. Keep it safe.She will come for it, one day.In Case of Zebras - Pat Cadigan ★★★☆☆"It's very old. And very private."There Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold - Seanan McGuire ★★★★☆I looked from empty face to empty face, searching for the one that called to me, that whispered, I could be the vessel of your sorrows.Goodness and Kindness - Carrie Vaughn ★★★★☆Three or four gaming booths had caught fire, it looked like. Roofs had caved in, signs blackened and illegible, contents scorched and scattered. At the first burned-out booth, what must have been hundreds of Kewpie dolls had melted and exploded into a thousand broken pieces and plastic blobs. They still managed to keep looking up with those big baby eyes, smiling with rosy cheeks through the scorch marks.Daniel's Theory About Dolls - Stephen Graham Jones ★★★★☆This is how you say goodbye.After and Back Before - Miranda Siemienowicz ★★★★★"I'm glad you like it, Bel. I really am."Doctor Faustus - Mary Robinette Kowal ★★★☆☆He grinned at her. "You aren't scared, are you?"Doll Court - Richard Bowes ★★★☆☆In Doll Court there's no such thing as inadmissible evidence.Visit Lovely Cornwall on the Western Railway Line - Genevieve Valentine ★★★★☆The girl in the train car is all alone, except for the doll.Ambitious Boys Like You - Richard Kadrey ★★★★☆"Que penses-tu de ma nouvelle poupée?"Miss Sibyl-Cassandra - Lucy Sussex★★★★☆A rare and unique item.The Permanent Collection - Veronica Schanoes ★★★★☆We watch years pass, unable to blink or lie with our eyes shut instead. Thinking.Homemade Monsters - John Langan ★★★★☆What you're feeling is normal, but what happened was not your fault. Only I knew how true and not true that statement was...Word Doll - Jeffrey Ford ★★★★☆The more the child played with it during work, the clearer it became, till it had the same detail as dreams or for collection as a whole:i misunderstood.i took my own prejudices about dolls (i.e. - that they are creepy as hell), that cover image, and the fact that ellen datlow has edited a bunch of horror anthologies in her day and assumed this was a horror anthology suitable for "october is spooky" reading. but it's more a collection of "disquieting" stories than anything that's going to keep you up all night. the stories all involve dolls in some way (although 8-year-old boys everywhere are bellowing "godzilla's not a doll, mom, JEEEEEZ!"), but datlow, a doll collector herself, put her foot down right at the beginning of the project: …when I approached writers about contributing to this anthology, I made one condition: no evil doll stories.which rule makes for some surprising variations on the theme. it's a more sophisticated horror collection, one that squirms instead of splatters, although there's at least one story in which splatter plays a part. there's more insidious lingering to the kind of horror this book offers.…what [the stories] so often highlight is the malevolence that lurks not in dolls - which are, after all, only poor copies of ourselves, only objects at our mercy - but in the human beings who interact with them. Not horrific in themselves, but imbued with horror by their owners or controllers, what the dolls in these stories often reveal is the evil within us, the evil that we try to keep hidden, but that dolls bring to even though it was not the nail-biting collection i'd been hoping for, there are some fantastic stories by great writers, and the very first acknowledgment is to jonathan carroll, which makes me very happy indeed.but i still think dolls are creepy, and in seeking out pictures for this review, i found out that the internet agrees.eek!

  • Althea Ann
    2019-04-16 22:10

    Another high-quality collection of tales of horror from Ellen Datlow; unquestionably the best editor working in the genre. As the title indicates, "dolls" are the theme. The one stipulation here was that the contributing authors avoid the frequently-used trope of the 'evil doll.' The dolls here might not be evil, but some of them are damn well spooky!**** Skin and Bone - Tim LebbonHallucination meets madness - and possibly something more eldritch - in this tale of two modern Antarctic explorers on an ill-fated expedition.I'm not sure how well this piece fits in with the theme of the collection, but it's an excellent story.**** Heroes and Villains - Stephen Gallagher Ventriloquist's dummies (excuse me, 'dolls' or 'figures') are pretty much automatically creepy. However, this story brings both a wealth of authentic detail and a new twist to the old horror trope. A town has had the idea of hiring a ventriloquist to animate an old doll found in the museum's archives for a local festival. But the interview with a ventriloquist doesn't quite go how the curator expected.**** The Doll-Master - Joyce Carol OatesWhile, in general, I don't think that there's anything wrong with little boys playing with dolls, there's certainly something quite, quite wrong with this specific boy playing with dolls.**** Gaze - Gemma FilesSlightly reminiscent of a 'Friday the 13th' episode (the TV show, not the movie series, of course). I love the 'haunted antique' trope, and it's done well here. When a dealer is contacted by a stranger asking if she might be interested in a matching item to one of her pieces, she's intrigued. Miniatures featuring only an eye are rare, and her new contact has a fascinating and extensive provenance for his item. But answering his e-mail has opened the door to far more than she could have expected. **** In Case of Zebras - Pat CadiganA teenager has been sentenced to community service - she's required to volunteer at the local emergency room. She throws herself into the work willingly - but when a small, intriguing doll falls out of a patient's pocket, her fascination with it seems likely to lost he co-workers' newfound trust. But is there truly something odd about this doll, that no one else seems to have seen?**** There Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold - Seanan McGuireHobbyists might have many reasons for crafting their dolls. However, it's fairly certain that you won't have guessed at the one this narrator has. I loved the supernatural background here, was slightly less enthused by the domestic violence/office aspects of the plot. (view spoiler)[If you're going to take supernatural, murderous revenge on someone, you shouldn't call the police. If on the other hand, you ARE going to call the police; don't say no to the restraining order! (hide spoiler)]I am so, so glad that years ago, when my beloved vinyl collection was stolen and sold to a local store, that the employees at the store were ever so much nicer to me about it than what the protagonist here experiences!Overall, a very good story. Loved the Pinocchio tie-in!*** Goodness and Kindness - Carrie VaughnNew York City - maybe the 1950s? An aspiring reporter is willing to put his career before anything else in his life - but doesn't have the instincts needed for the job. And there are an awful lot of kewpie dolls.*** Daniel’s Theory of Dolls - Stephen Graham JonesWeird, weird fiction. The narrator tells us there's always been something... off... about his younger brother. And then he tells us about how his family handled the miscarriage of a much-anticipated infant, and how that incident scarred them all. And then things just keep getting stranger...*** After and Back Before - Miranda SiemienowiczThis is one in the subgenre I might describe as 'Children of the Apocalypse,' where after a disaster, young survivors, expecting to die, have formed a dysfunctional kind of society. There are some 'adults' here as well, but I was still reminded in tone of Star Trek's 'Miri,' for example.It's good, but there are a few disorienting shifts, and I don't think the 'shocking reveal' fully worked as a dramatic climax.*** Doctor Faustus - Mary Robinette KowalIn this genre, it's always a bad idea to mess with ancient magical symbols found in an old book you don't know much about. No, your theatrical production doesn't have to be *that* accurate. Here, some well-intentioned set design goes horribly wrong, in a brief and bloody tale.*** Doll Court - Richard BowesAn older man begins to have dreams where he is called to account for all his alleged misdeeds against dolls, both in the recent past and in his childhood. When these dreams start intruding into real life, there's a potential for true eeriness - but that's undercut by a thread of silliness to the whole thing. *** Visit Lovely Cornwall on the Western Railway Line - Genevieve ValentineA series of random travelers encounter a girl, alone with her doll, on a train en route from London to Cornwall. The writing here is beautiful, and the imagery memorable. I also like how the piece plays with the readers' preconceptions and expectations. However, I still wish that it had all been tied up a bit more conclusively.**** Ambitious Boys Like You - Richard KadreyA pure horror tale; would make a great start to a late-night movie. Two lowlifes decide to burglarize the home of an old man whose eerie, doll-festooned, dilapidated house was always rumored to be haunted. The house looks like it was upper-class, once upon a time, and they suspect he's got something good stashed away. However, the 'something' in the house is more than they bargained for. ** The Permanent Collection - Veronica SchanoesThis story is clearly inspired by a visit to this now-closed business. You know, you could've just written a bad yelp review instead of this story. All I can say is, I'm sure it's true enough that the elderly proprietor may have been cantankerous, and his prices were surely high, but I actually feel like this piece is an uncalled-for slandering of the dead.*** Homemade Monsters - John LanganAn effective description of childhood bullying - and a strange and ambiguous incident that's finally triggered when the bully decides to mess with his 'friend's' "Godzilla" figure.**** Word Doll - Jeffrey FordAs an archivist with a personal interest in anthropology & history-related topics, this one pushed all the right buttons for me. A man (coincidentally sharing the author's name) has his curiosity piqued by a small sign for a "Word Doll Museum." He goes to see what on earth a "Word Doll" might be, and meets a woman who tells him a fascinating (and strange) story of local history. **** Miss Sibyl-Cassandra - Lucy SussexPresented as the description of an item up for auction at Sotheby's. (I have to give a bonus point for an off-hand mention of a Sotheby's employee named Althea... no, I never worked there, but I did consider applying...) The item is a fortune-telling doll, and the letters that are included as provenance tell the strange story of the fortunes that she 'told.'Many thanks to Tor and NetGalley for the opportunity to read! As always, my opinions are solely my own.

  • Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
    2019-04-10 23:02

    There's this house in the town I live near that does this front window display of CREEPY ASS DOLLS for Halloween. I just roll on by and look while goose-bumps crawl all over my skin. I have never been into dolls. Barbie some what, I use to cut and color on her, but "dolls" not really. They all just CREEP me the fuck out. This book did the same and I didn't even need a doll to stare at. Great book of doll stories and very edge of your seat details. Loved it!! :)

  • Kelly
    2019-04-11 00:52

    I really liked this one. Sorry I never posted the link to my review! Here it is!:

  • Richard Thomas
    2019-04-15 04:51

    This review was originally published at LitReactor. ****************************************************Title:The Doll CollectionWho Wrote It?:Edited by Ellen Datlow, with fiction by Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen Graham Jones, Tim Lebbon, Gemma Files, John Langan, and many others.Plot in a Box:These are short stories about dolls, in every possible shape, form, and myth.Invent a New Title For This Book:Doll PartsRead This If You Liked:Other anthologies by Ellen Datlow, such as Fearful Symmetries, Lovecraft Unbound, Nightmare Carnival, and of course The Best Horror of the Year. Outside of Ellen’s work, I’d suggest three I edited: The New Black, Exigencies (2015), and Burnt Tongues (with Chuck Palahniuk and Dennis Widmyer) as well as The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, edited by Paula Guran.Meet the Book’s Lead(s):Obviously, it’s the dolls. There are all kinds here—masks, kewpies, puppets, poppets, and mannequins.Said Lead(s) Would Be Portrayed In a Movie By:The closest I can come is the film Annabelle. She reminds me of a lot of the dolls in this anthology. Of course I’m reminded of the clown in Poltergeist as well, and for some reason The Badadook. And I guess I have to mention Chucky, right?Setting: Would You Want to Live There?Oh, God no. I don’t have an insane fear of dolls, but still, these settings are deadly.What Was Your Favorite Sentence?"When I knelt down by Daniel again, he opened his mouth like a baby bird and I knew I was right: this was part of his process. You save one doll from inside a woman, and you start over with hair from one of the other women. Like paying. Like trading. Like closing a thing you’d opened.—Stephen Graham Jones, “Daniel’s Theory About Dolls”The Verdict:It’s impossible to put together an anthology where every single story resonates with a reader, but if anybody can do it, it’s probably Ellen Datlow. What I love most about this collection is the variety—there are stories that utilize the classic idea of what a doll is, showing us the standard toys and playthings, but then there are other “dolls” that really take you to some unexpected places. By soliciting a wide variety of authors, not just horror, but also dark fantasy, and other surreal voices, Ellen certainly has something for everyone in this book.I wanted to list my three favorites.Have you ever picked up an anthology and seen a “big name” and then read the story and thought, “Well, that wasn’t anything special”? I hate when that happens. In this anthology, Joyce Carol Oates brings the goods. Man, she gives us a slow burn that gets darker and darker the longer it’s told. I sat there saying, “Don’t do it, don’t go there,” and still the ending surprised me, upset me, carried such weight—a powerful tale for sure. “The Doll-Master” is the title.Second, is no surprise, for people who know what I love to read—“Daniel’s Theory About Dolls,” by Stephen Graham Jones. I don’t know how he constantly surprises me, since I’ve read more of his writing than anybody not named Stephen King. And yet, this tale is so dark and strange, so violent and yet peaceful, quiet and still deafening with its impact. He finds a way to tap into our primal fears, and does so in this story with the subtle touch of a maestro.And finally, the third story that really got to me was, “There is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of Cold,” by Seanan McGuire. Now, Seanon is a new voice to me, but she’s certainly not new to the worlds of fantasy and horror. What I loved about this story was how different it was, tapping into ancient folklore and myth, while remaining in a contemporary setting. The magic is something that’s easy to believe in, the emotion and heart giving the story character and great depth.Overall, this is a great collection, not a weak story in the bunch, but certainly some that will get to you more than others—depending on where exactly your fears lie.

  • Majanka
    2019-04-13 01:55

    Book Review originally published here: are creepy. Enough said. Now, in this collection, which packs a bunch of the most original stories I’ve ever read in the genre, the authors explore the trope of creepy dolls. A range of haunted dolls, mad doll owners, creepy doctors and ventriloquists pass by, and each story is unique and strong in its own way. One of the best horror anthologies I’ve read.

  • Josh
    2019-03-23 03:00

    “The Doll Collection”, the latest collection from prolific and esteemed editor Ellen Datlow, isn't what one might expect given the title and cover. As Datlow states in her introduction, the book contains “no evil doll stories”. While the stories gathered here adhere to that on a surface level, there are a few clever workarounds. For the most part, though, it holds true: the stories are unique, creative, and come bearing a welcome disregard for genre convention. Horror, fantasy (of both the urban and post-apocalyptic varieties), mystery, lit-fic, and various tough-to-classify elements rest well beside each other and are often woven together in the same story. It's a wild and varied bunch of tales, but the thematic connection holds it all together and keeps things fresh from first page to last.Highlights include:Joyce Carol Oates' “Doll-Master”, in which the titular character is an ardent collector whose heart seems at first to be in the right place. His mind, however, is decidedly as broken as the pieces in his macabre collection.Richard Kadrey's “Ambitious Boys Like You”, in which two unfortunate robbers get up close and personal look at some dolls that are anything but cute. The one playing with the dolls has no intention of growing up at all, let alone moving on.Seanan McGuire's “There Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold”, a wonderfully wrought modern fantasy yarn that brings the seemingly odd but ultimately natural-feeling combination of Pinocchio and Pandora.John Langan's “Homemade Monsters”, in which a troubled, bullied youth finds solace (and perhaps a whole lot more) in the monster movies he comes to cherish.While some of the stories are stronger than others, they're all fine reads for their own reasons and prime examples of their respective genres. Chilling, thrilling, and memorable moments abound, and there's a great deal of poignancy running through and between the lines. While not typical of the subgenre, “The Doll Collection” is nonetheless a book that horror fans will want to pick up. originally posted at

  • Kris - My Novelesque Life
    2019-04-09 23:03

    THE DOLL COLLECTION: Seventeen Brand-New Tales of DollsEdited by Ellen Datlow3 STARSAs I was checking in books being returned to the library I noticed "dolls" and Joyce Carol Oates - SOLD! This collection of short stories are edited by Ellen Datlow but the draw for me was definitely Oates. There were about two other authors I have heard of but never read (Carrie Vaughn was probably the next big name in the collection - at least for me). I didn't read every story in this collection but did attempt to read them all. These stories are classified as horror and thriller and read them with that in mind. The real standout in this book was Joyce Carol Oates story, The Doll Master. It was the right amount of creepy and was written so well. The writing style reminded me of her novel, Rape: A Love Story - disturbing yet so interesting. I would recommend this book for Oates story alone.(k) My Novelesque Life

  • AmberBug **
    2019-04-04 04:14

    Great collection of creepy doll stories. This was the perfect time for me to read this because I was creating my own creepy dolls for Halloween. Obviously Joyce Carol Oates was one of my favorites and I loved the story about the girl in the hospital working in the ER. Some misses, but no fails. I would highly suggest this to anyone who is looking for something other than "possessed doll" stories. Ellen Datlow specifically tells the Authors to avoid this, she was convinced that there are untapped stories that don't have to deal with evil dolls... and she is right. This might have to come down off my shelf every now and then for a re-read.

  • Crowinator
    2019-04-18 01:12

    I feel like horror really shines in short story form. This collection has everything from creeping psychological horror to gory serial murder, and everything from realistic monsters to supernatural ones. Plus, the pictures of antique dolls add to the disturbing atmosphere, though I wish they were bigger, and in color (or at least glossy). Very nice.Favorite story: "There Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold" by Seanan McGuire. Hands down one of the best short stories I've read.Next favorites: "The Doll-Master" by Joyce Carol Oates, "Ambitious Boys Like You" by Richard Kadry and "After and Back Before" by Miranda Siemienowicz

  • Trudi
    2019-04-05 01:07

    Shizzle. I neglected this one too long and my NetGalley copy expired and they now have it archived.

  • Jack Haringa
    2019-04-19 05:53

    I found The Doll Collection less consistent than most Datlow anthologies I've read over the last five years, but it contains enough gems to warrant three and a half stars at any rate. The restriction of "no evil dolls" forced writers to be more creative than the theme might initially have suggested, which results in some unusual pieces that straddle the line between fantasy and horror nicely.Most of the anthology's strongest stories are bunched toward the end, though both Tim Lebbon and Stephen Gallagher turn in effective tales early on (and Lebbon's story could easily be a part of a much larger work). My particular favorites were Pat Cadigan's witty and weird "In Case of Zebras," Stephen Graham Jones' deeply disturbing "Daniel's Theory of Dolls," Richard Bowes' redemptive "Doll Court," Veronica Schanoes' "The Permanent Collection," John Langan's "Homemade Monsters," and Jeffrey Ford's "Word Doll." Those final three stories in my list are also the last three in the anthology, ending the book with strength upon strength from some of the best writers in horror working today.The biggest disappointment had to be Joyce Carol Oates' entry, "The Doll Master," a story so obvious and over-extended that even someone with the only the most cursory experience in genre work could have easily predicted its ending. This isn't always a death-knell for a story, but in this case the resolution is presented as a shocking twist. I've very much enjoyed Oates' Gothic stories in the past, so this came as quite surprise. Other than that piece, the stories were all quite inventive, even the ones that didn't particularly work for me. A worthwhile read overall.

  • Bibliotropic
    2019-03-23 06:13

    (Full review here: you buy any one anthology this month, it ought to be this one. There’s very little to be disappointed by and so many things to impress you, whether you’re a fan of dark fiction, the supernatural, or just damn good stories. Datlow worked wonders with this idea and the selection of submitted stories, and the authors pulled out all the stops to make this a fantastic collection. Highly recommended for those nights when the rain is pouring, the wind is howling, and you want a little more tingle in your spine.

  • Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
    2019-04-13 21:55

    Need to be reviewed.

  • Jo
    2019-04-15 06:06

    Surprisingly, this was a pretty solid collection, with a few gems but no real duffers. Even the middling ones weren't a chore to read. The ones that didn't shine weren't badly written, but you could see where the doll theme had been crowbarred in.The best ones were definitely the Seanan McGuire and the Stephen Graham Jones offerings. Very effective.The last story was "Word Dolls" and it had one of those abrupt endings that short stories frequently suffer from, but it was a very cool idea that I now need to go and look into to see if it's true o.O

  • Grace Troxel
    2019-04-07 06:08

    This review originally appeared on my blog, Books Without Any Pictures: are a staple in horror media, and for good reason. They’re similar enough to us that we can see ourselves in them, and yet alien enough to be unnerving. The Doll Collection, edited by anthologist Ellen Datlow, presents seventeen short stories, each of which feature dolls. But the dolls in this collection are not themselves so horrifying, rather, they serve as a mirror to reflect the darkest parts of human nature.I’m a much slower reader with short stories, as I don’t have the same continued immersion as with longer fiction. I read this collection slowly over the course of several months, savoring a story here and there, and then pondering what I’d read.Many of the short stories in The Doll Collection were a bit too gruesome for my taste, but others were haunting and thought-provoking. Here are some brief thoughts about and reactions to each of the short stories in this compilation:Skin and Bone by Tim LebbonAn Antarctic expedition fades away into the snow, but with dolls.Heroes and Villains by Stephen GallagherThe doll in this story is actually a ventriloquist dummy.The Doll-Master by Joyce Carol OatesThe Doll-Master is one of the most disturbing short stories in The Doll Collection. It starts out innocently enough as a young boy describes his experiences playing with dolls, but as the story progresses, we realize that he should not be. *shudders*Gaze by Gemma FilesSome artifacts are more than they seem…In Case of Zebras by Pat CadiganA teenager working in a hospital encounters a patient with a doll, and realizes that the world isn’t quite as simple as it seems.There Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold by Seanan McGuireThere Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold was one of the more memorable stories in this volume. The narrator is an alien-like creature who makes dolls to keep her overflowing emotions from cracking her into pieces. Her father is dying, and she’s trying to hang onto him, but she needs to take her own place in the circle of life. A haunting tale of grief, death, and the cycle of creation.Goodness and Kindness by Carrie VaughnA reporter looking for his big break falls into a depression, and has an encounter with Kewpie dolls.Daniel’s Theory About Dolls by Stephen Graham JonesDaniel’s Theory About Dolls begins in childhood, when Daniel’s mother had a miscarriage. Daniel goes to dig up the body, but finds a doll instead. Rather disturbing.After and Back Before by Miranda SiemienowiczA dystopian and post-apocalyptic tale about two children who leave their commune. Very creepy.Doctor Faustus by Mary Robinette KowalA stage production of The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus goes horribly wrong as tragedy strikes.Doll Court by Richard BowesIf you do not treat dolls properly, they will come after you. It’s a matter of justice, really.Visit Lovely Cornwall on the Western Railway Line by Genevieve ValentineA girl with a doll rides on a train, and we see brief vignettes of the travelers she encounters along her way. This one started off promisingly, but then later felt incomplete.Ambitious Boys Like You by Richard KadreyThis was one another of the most gruesome stories in the volume. Two young boys break into a haunted house, only to find that it is more demented than they expected. Even though the protagonists are little shits, I couldn’t wish their fate upon them.Miss Sibyl-Cassandra by Lucy SussexMiss Sibyl-Cassandra is a historical tale about a fortune doll purchased from a gypsy. It follows the lives of each of the characters whose fortunes had been told to see whether each fortune was true. I particularly enjoyed the ending.The Permanent Collection by Veronica SchanoesThe Permanent Collection is easily my favorite short story in this collection. It’s set in a doll hospital, and the store’s owner is pretty much Sid from Toy Story. A pristine Shirley Temple doll narrates the tale of how he got his comeuppance. Haunting and beautiful.Homemade Monsters by John LanganHomemade Monsters is a charming tall tale about a homemade Godzilla doll and revenge against childhood bullies.Word Doll by Jeffery FordWhile The Permanent Collection was my favorite story in this book, Word Doll was a close second. It’s set in a rural town that reminds me a bit of my own childhood. An old woman runs a hotel dedicated to Word Dolls, a tradition designed to help children labor in the fields. While initially benevolent, something goes wrong, resulting in a grim local legend.

  • Melissa
    2019-04-03 02:57

    As with almost all anthologies it has some great stories, some "eh" stories and a couple that confounded me. Still, I would have to say that as a whole, the collection stayed within the boundaries of horror and dolls. Two things I think go great together. For those that shy away from horror, it isn't too scary that you can't handle it (I'm an admitted wimp) but it is creepy. Not one is a happy go lucky, feel good story. That's a good thing for this collection. :)I have to say that my favorite stories didn't surprise me. Seanan McGuire and Carrie Vaughn are worth the price of admission for the book. Other stories captured me and creeped me out but there were also a couple that just confused me to no end. I don't want to call out those specific stories since it could rightly be just me and I don't want to color your view of the story before you get to it.I give this collection 3 stars and I highly recommend it to those that love horror and just being creeped out. :)

  • Orrin Grey
    2019-04-08 22:16

    I didn't actually get to read all the stories in this book before I had to move on to some other stuff for various reasons, but I read enough to know that it's an impressive collection. Anyone who knows Ellen at all knows that this is kind of the collection she was born to edit, and it shows. I'm personally a little saddened by the prohibition against "evil" dolls, because I do love a good evil/possessed doll story, but I understand why it would be necessary, and I think it did push some of the authors to stretch outside of what you might generally find in an anthology with this theme. Standouts for me included "Gaze" by the always-reliable Gemma Files and "Daniel's Theory About Dolls" by the equally-reliable Stephen Graham Jones.

  • Jane
    2019-03-23 23:14

    Disappointing. "The Doll Master" by Joyce Carol Oates was my favourite of the collection by a long chalk. I also enjoyed Skin and Bone, Heroes and Villains, and Word Doll. A couple of the others were not so bad - Home Made Monsters and Visit Lovely Cornwall... For a book entitled "The Doll Collection" the idea of "doll" in many of the stories was tenuous. A lot of the stories were boring to the point that when I read other people's reviews I had to go back and re-read sections to remember what they were even about. None of them were scary though one was quite gory. I ploughed through to the end but didn't enjoy most of it. I think it was just not to my taste. I bought the book hoping for a collection of gothic ghost stories, based on the title and cover images. I know! Don't judge a book by its cover, right?

  • Rebecca McNutt
    2019-04-20 03:16

    Creepy as heck, but not a bad anthology. The Doll Collection has numerous different stories and each one features something entirely unique and unexpected.

  • Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
    2019-03-23 23:57

    3.5 StarsI would recommend this collection to anyone who, like myself, find dolls incredibly creepy. I was slightly disappointed that the editor decided not to include any stories involving evil dolls. While it might be an overused trope, it's one of my personal favourites.This collection is a great example of how the genre of horror excels in the form of short fiction. As with most short story collections, some pieces were stronger than others. My personal favourite in the collection was There Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold by Seanan McGuire. There is a good variety of stories with each writer taking a unique perspective on the topic. There were a few creepier stories, but others were not scary at all, reading more like urban fantasy than horror. Overall, I would recommend this book anyone looking for an intelligently written short story collection.Ratings & Comments on the Individual Stories:Skin and Bone - Tim Lebbon - 4.0 StarsThe cold and isolated Antarctica setting created a great atmosphere for the short story. The ending really packed a punch.Heroes and Villains - Stephen Gallagher - 4.0 StarsMore unsettling than traditionally scary, but I personally find Ventriloquist dolls creepy which added to my reading experience.The Doll-Master - Joyce Carol Oates - 3.5 StarsWell written with some creepy details, but I was underwelmed. I'm uncertain why this is most people's favourite story in the collection.Gaze - Gemma Files - 3.0 StarsI did not connect with this one, but I appreciated the inclusion of the lesbian relationship. I would love to see more LGBT+ representation in horror.In Case of Zebras - Pat Cadigan - 4.0 StarsOne of the most compelling narratives. Not exactly creepy, but I liked it a lot. There Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold - Seanan McGuire - 5.0 StarsImmersive well written piece, which mixed magical realism with horror. The idea behind this story felt creative and fresh. The narrative was emotionally complex, yet surprisingly creepy. In my opinion, this was the strongest story in the collection.Goodness and Kindness - 3.0 StarsDaniel’s Theory of Dolls - Stephen Graham Jones - 3.0 StarsAfter and Back Before - Miranda Siemienowicz - 3.5 StarsI appreciated the gruesome moments in this one. Doctor Faustus - Mary Robinette Kowal - 3.0 StarsDoll Court - Richard Bowes - 3.0 StarsVisit Lovely Cornwall on the Western Railway Line - Genevieve Valentine - 3.0 StarsAmbitious Boys Like You - Richard Kadrey - 3.0 StarsThe Permanent Collection - Veronica Schanoes - 4.0 StarsHomemade Monsters - John Langan - 3.0 StarsWord Doll - Jeffrey Ford - 3.0 Stars

  • Zeke Gonzalez
    2019-03-23 06:17

    The Doll Collection is a book composed of 17 short stories featuring dolls that are written by various authors and edited by Ellen Dartlow. Overall, I think the theme of the collection was spot-on, and Ellen Datlow’s photographs and introduction were great. On top of that, the majority of these stories are highly imaginative and engaging, and that made reading this book worth it for me. However, the collection is advertised as a horror collection and the majority of the stories were far more philosophical than they were scary. So while I enjoyed the stories, I was pretty disappointed that they weren’t scarier. All that said, I’m excited to read more collections edited by Ellen Dartlow!My mini-reviews of the individual short stories can be found in my progress updates of the collection, but I would place the average quality of these stories to be around a 3.5 or a 4. Fun, interesting, and creative stories, though some are a bit hard to follow or boring. If you enjoy introspective but sometimes creepy short stories, this is a great collection for you!

  • Becky
    2019-04-14 02:03

    From dolls as vessels (for spirits, emotions, and other) and figurative dolls of another sort to poppets that can help heal and word dolls to watch out for, Ellen Datlow has collected an anthology of truly creeptastic tales. For anyone with even minor pediophobia this set of stories is likely to leave you cowering in the corner and looking at even the most innocent of kewpies with suspicion.Here's the full Table of Contents:Skin and Bone by Tim LebbonHeroes and Villains by Stephen GallagherThe Doll-Master by Joyce Carol OatesGaze by Gemma FilesIn Case of Zebras by Pat CadiganThere Is No Place For Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold by Seanan McGuireGoodness and Kindness by Carrie VaughnDaniel's Theory About Dolls by Stephen Graham JonesAfter and Back Before by Miranda SiemienowiczDoctor Faustus by Mary Robinette KowalDoll Court by Richard BowesVisit Lovely Cornwall on the Western Railway Line by Genevieve ValentineAmbitious Boys Like You by Richard KadreyMiss Sibyl-Cassandra by Lucy SussexThe Permanent Collection by Veronica SchanoesHomemade Monsters by John LanganWord Doll by Jeffrey FordSo unless we're talking the obviously meant to be creepy doll from Annabelle (did you know the REAL Annabelle was a Raggedy Ann doll?) dolls don't generally give me the heebie jeebies. But some of the dolls in this collection sure do! A few of my personal favorites: Jeffrey Ford's "Word Doll," which combines folklore and middle American farming (Ford is a character within the story as well), "Miss Sibyl-Cassandra" by Lucy Sussex was infinitely fun, and Richard Kadrey's "Ambitious Boys Like You" was, as Datlow promised in her O&F Podcast, particularly nasty!If you're a fan of anthologies, Datlow is probably a name you'll recognize. She's made a career out of culling shorts to create the annual Best Horror of the Year anthologies as well as numerous collections like this one. Anton Strout featured her on the Once and Future Podcast a couple of weeks ago, giving readers like me a chance to hear more about what she does and her process for putting together an anthology. I highly recommend checking that out.

  • TheWellReadLady
    2019-03-27 00:49

    A really intriguing collection of short stories about dolls, poppets, mannequins and doll-like creations. I have only given a 4, well, maybe 4.5 stars, as there were a couple of stories that I kind of just didn't 'get' (maybe I just have 'fuzzy brain', or they were too abstract for me). Overall though, very creepy and spine-tingly. Datlow is obviously, extremely good at bringing together good, solid story collections of various themes, and this is my first read of hers (as I recall, anyway) and would read one of her other collections for sure. There are also creepy dolly photographs taken by Datlow & others, which feature at the start of each story, which is a nice touch. My most favourite stories were (merely placed in reading order): Skin & Bone, The Doll Master, Gaze, There Is No Place For Sorrow In The Kingdom Of The Cold, Daniel's Theory About Dolls, Ambitious Boys Like You (even though it turned gross at the end!), Homemade Monsters and The Word Doll. So, not bad for a collection of 17 stories, and I actually liked all of them, even if a couple ranked lower on my rating scale. So, recommend this if you like a horror story collection with some rather creepy tales, some highly original stories, or, you like to play with dollys! ;-)

  • Laurie
    2019-04-06 02:00

    I picked this book up without even investigating it much; as far as I’m concerned, most dolls are creepy on their own, even without a scary story written about them. The list of authors in this anthology is impressive, containing Joyce Carol Oates, Pat Cadigan, and many other award winning writers of fantasy and horror. The dolls cover a gamut of androids, ventriloquist dummies, regular baby dolls, poppets, imaginary dolls, dolls that hold emotions, and many more. Not all the stories are horrific, but all are at the very least odd. And I mean that in a good way. Editor Datlow always does a great job of selecting stories for her collections

  • Lauren Smith
    2019-03-23 02:58

    A very strong collection. I enjoyed most of the stories, and none of them left me feeling completely cold. My favourite: The Permanent Collection by Veronica Schanoes.The editor specifically avoided any stories about evil dolls as being too much of a cliche at this point, so the stories explore dolls and horror in all sorts of interesting ways.

  • Jennifer
    2019-04-16 00:12

    Creepy doll stories. I couldn't even read all of them - they were that creepy.But “There Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold” by Seanan McGuire was absolutely breathtaking.

  • Megan Whitworth
    2019-03-26 05:16

    I really enjoyed this collection overall- spooky, unsettling stories of dolls. As someone who grew up loving dolls and as a lover of horror, this collection was perfect for me. My favorite stories were The Doll-Master, There is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold, and The Permanent Collection. Ratings for each story individually:Skin and Bone: 4 starsHeroes and Villains: 3.5 starsThe Doll-Master: 5 starsGaze: 2 starsIn Case of Zebras: 3.5 starsThere is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold: 5 starsGoodness and Kindness: 3 starsDaniel's Theory About Dolls: 4.5 starsAfter and Back Before: 1 starDoctor Faustus: 3 starsDoll Court: 4.5 starsVisit Lovely Cornwall on the Western Railway Line: 4 starsAmbitious Boys Like You: 4 starsMiss Sibyl-Cassandra: 4 stars The Permanent Collection: 5 starsHomemade Monsters: 4 starsWord Doll: 4 stars

  • Brenda Carstens
    2019-04-11 05:58

    This book took me much longer than anticipated to complete as I found that I struggle reading short stories. My mind requires a long read to get absorbed into rather than the short attempts of character and story building. However, having said this the stories themselves were well-written with a creepy, uncomfortable edge to them. This discomfort around dolls, their descriptions, and stories was more rewarding than the cliche evil-dolls that we expect. I am still freaked out by dolls, maybe more so after this book, and I don’t believe this will ever change.

  • Emily Linacre
    2019-03-25 02:15

    i've been reading a story or two from this collection for the last month or so. some really great stories, a bunch of good ones, and a couple i don't think i get. overall, not the creeptastic horror stories i was expecting, but some pretty unsettling and creative stories nonetheless! favorites include "After and Back Before," "Ambitious Boys Like You," "Miss Sibyl-Cassandra," and "Homemade Monsters."