REVIEW: “The Stories We Tell About Ghosts” by A.C. Wise

Review of A.C. Wise, “The Stories We Tell About Ghosts”, The Best Horror of the Year Volume Ten, edited by Ellen Datlow (Night Shade Books, 2018): 155—172. Purchase Here. Originally published in Looming Low: Volume One, edited by Justin Steele and Sam Cowan (Dim Shores, 2017). Purchase Here. Reviewed by Rob Francis.

I loved the idea behind this story. Our protagonist and his friends download an augmented reality app to hunt ‘ghosts’, sort of like a spooky version of Pokémon Go (so I’m led to believe, as I know SFA about all things Pokémon). He is resentful of his younger, sickly brother Gen, who always tags along with him and plays along with ‘Ghost Hunt!’ despite being more than a little afraid. The competition between the kids to find ghosts and ghost lore in their little town of Dieu-le-Sauveur heats up, but it quickly becomes apparent that the app is detecting more than it should, and that little Gen seems far too in-tune with the captured ‘ghosts’.

It’s a nice and highly original story, with a focus on the characters and their dynamics rather than twists in the plot — we are essentially told how it ends right at the start and the sense of dread that builds comes from knowing this. The idea of how and why we perpetuate the myths of ghosts, in various forms, is thought-provoking and I found myself reflecting on this story for some time after finishing it.

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