Selected story summaries by billborre []
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The doll collection

by Ellen Datlow;

  Print book : Fiction  |  First edition

Selected story summaries   (2022-03-19)


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by billborre

"Doctor Faustus" by Mary Robinette Kowal - Kurt and Julia are two theater performers who are preparing an off Broadway basement showing of Doctor Faustus starring puppets as actors when Kurt tells her that he wants to correct a summoning sigil he's been painting. Unfortunately for him, it actually works and the summoned demonic entity stuffs itself down Kurt's throat and menaces Julia in Kurt's body. She flees to the puppet controls and battles the possessed Kurt until he falls upon the still fresh paint of the summoning sigil. Since the wet paint on Kurt's shirt is reversed making the banishment sigil the demon departs and Julia is safe, although the story gives no indication that Kurt survived the ordeal.

"The Permanent Collection" by Veronica Schanoes - A Shirley Temple doll narrates this story about an old man who runs a doll hospital for repairing dolls. She admires his skill but detests him as he is a sadistic monster. Unlike most people, but like some children, the old man can hear the dolls and he conducts fiendish experiments on his permanent collection except for the narrator who remains untouched. Eventually the man's business drops off and he decides to cash in on his fire insurance. He hesitates with the gas can before the narrator, but ultimately decides to douse all of them in gasoline. The doll heads take their revenge upon him by rolling forward as a group and all the dolls and the old man burn up together.

"Homemade Monsters" by John Langan - The narrator is telling us about the time he was a ten year old boy and his bully neighbor destroyed his homemade Godzilla toy. He invited the boy into the swamp behind the elementary school with the intention of forcing an apology from him but an earthquake causes a sinkhole to open which swallows his nemesis. Many years later he types his home address into Google Earth and sees the outline of a massive foot imposed upon the swamp.

"Daniel’s Theory About Dolls" by Stephen Graham Jones - The narrator discovers his younger brother is a serial killer.

"Skin and Bone" by Tim Lebbon - This story reads like "The Thing" meets "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."

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