Moribund Tales by Erik Hofstatter
I like to include the odd anthology in my reading schedule from time to time. I find short story collections a perfect way to fill the gap if I have a spare five/ten minutes with nothing to do. Moribund Tales is a short anthology from author Erik Hofstatter. It collects together ten tales that mix urban legends with gothic horror.
Internal Abduction – Things kick off with a retelling of one of my favourite urban legends. We’ve all had a night on the tiles and then woken up with a memory like Swiss cheese. The question is do you really want to fill in those gaps?
Last Straw of Humanity – What does it mean to be merciful? George’s brother thinks he knows but will he have the strength to grant that mercy?
Chaperone – A man wakes up with no memories. As flashes of his past life start to return, he begins to realise where he is and more importantly who his mysterious guide may be. A moment of horrific realisation captured in short fiction
Tears of Repentance – Grigor meets Ingra and they fall in love. What follows explores the breakup of their marriage and Gregor learning the true consequences of not fully trusting your spouse.
Soul Reflection – Dark ceremonies are the trickiest of things. It turns out only one thing needs to go wrong and then you’re going to have hell to pay. Frank and Peter discover this the hard way.
Infant’s Fingers – The most innocent assassin in the world is the one that people would least expect.
Broken Glass – A single moment of indecision haunts J. How can he ever hope to deal with the aftermath of one cowardly act? This was the standout story of the collection for me. I always think some of the best horror is the stuff that feels the most real. This manages to be both horrific and sad in equal measure.
On the Edge of the Marsh – Ethan and his daughter Olivia meet a strange man in the woods called Logan. This was the only story I didn’t really enjoy. I felt the ending was just too abrupt.
Affectionate Cadaver – The final tale takes us in to properly dark territory. I suspect you can probably guess what that is based on the title alone. Euuuuwww, that’s icky.
Overall I enjoyed Moribund Tales. My only real gripe is that in a couple of instances things were just starting to get interesting and then the story would end. I found this a little jarring. On the Edge of the Marsh is a good example, it needs to be longer. A little more tension, drawing things out just a bit more would enhance the creepy tone. There are definitely a few tales that would benefit from being expanded upon.
The anthology does work as a good showcase/introduction to Hofstatter’s writing. There is a balanced mix of various different types of horror, I’m sure there is something for everyone. At just under two pounds and just short of fifty pages, it’s ideal for anyone who want a quick horrific fiction fix.
Moribund Tales is published by the author and is available via Amazon now.