Monday, December 28, 2015

The Doll Collection, edited by Ellen Datlow

The Doll Collection is a set of 17 new tales of dolls from 17 different writers. The editor made one condition: no evil doll stories. The stories do plumb the depths of the "uncanny valley" of human comfort level with dolls.

I did not enjoy The Doll Collection as much as Haunted Dolls (edited by Seon Manley), but as a doll collector it was definitely still worth reading.

As usual with story collections, there are two star stories and five star stories. I thought the strongest story overall was "Homemade Monsters," about a boy who turns a Captain Kirk doll into Godzilla and what happens after a neighborhood bully intentionally breaks it. As a doll collector, I thought Seanan McGuire's "There Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold" was the best story. In it, a doll maker explains the true purpose behind her craft, and the creepy boyfriend who makes fun of her work gets what is coming to him. You can tell reading this story that the author collects dolls herself.

(The author note says, "Seanan McGuire is an avid doll collector, and she shares her room with several hundred blank, soulless eyes. In addition to her doll problem, she has a small writing problem, and she publishes and average of four books a year".)

There are some truly disturbing stories in this collection, and some that just didn't work for me. Some didn't really have much to do with dolls. Still, I recommend this collection for anyone who enjoys short stories and has an interest in the creepy/cute paradox of dolls.

The Galesburg Public Library has both The Haunted Dolls and The Doll Collection in the adult FICTION area.

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