Phobophobia Edited by Dean M. Drinkel
It’s down to an old Ginger Nuts favourite, Adrian Chamberlin, to get the ball rolling. His Story Aqua Mortis a grimy tale set in the golden age of witch finders, has a village and the Witchfinder in the grip of a witch’s curse. Adrian has done a sterling jog capturing the feel of such classic movies as Captain Kronos. A well written tale with a good pay off, this story sets the bar high for the rest of the anthology.
E is for Electrophobia : Kate Jonez
This is a strange tale, where Elmo, an inventor battles electricity. This story is strange, it kept me guessing as to what was actually going on, at first I wasn’t too sure about it, this one, but by the time I finished it, I was won over by it. Odd but worthwhile.
F is for Frigophobia : Dave Jeffery
Where back on more familiar ground here, where a an encounter between a therapist and her patient leads to chilling consequences,(sorry couldn’t help myself there). This is a solid well written story that has a nice shock at the end of the tale.
G is for Gatophobia : S.L. Schmitz
This is a wonderful horror tale set in a future where animals and humans are augmented with both cybernetic parts, and foreign DNA. This is a world populated by animals razor sharp metallic claws, dogs that can speak any language, and cats that have been combined with vampyrric DNA. You just know that a story that sees a young boy getting a vampire cat as a pet is not going to end well. The reason as to why the cat does what it does is pure genius.
H is for Hagiophobia : Tracie McBride
This is a dark tale involving a lust boy and his obsession for a gothic girlfriend. Oh and his rather psychotic sister. If the devil had a daughter her name would be Clare This is a powerful well written story that builds the tension to an almost unbearable level.
I is for Ichthyophobia : Ian Woodhead
This is another story where the protagonist’s life is made hell by an evil sister. Poor Scott.not only is he stuck in a wheelchair, but his sister likes to torment him at every turn. Scot has developed a fear of fish, stemming from his father being killed during a fishing trip. And his sister Andrea, loves to torment him about this. I liked this story, the ending maybe a bit silly, but it manages to stay just on the right side silly, an enjoyable tale, that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
This was rather difficult to read, not due to the authors talent for writing, as this is a very well written story. It was difficult due to the subject matter. Frank did something terrible in his youth, something so terrible it haunts him everyday reaching out from the darkness, threatening to enact it’s revenge. It is the mark of a good writer, when a reader actually feels a small bit of compassion for a character who has done something so terrible. A great story topped off with a great ending
M is for Metathesiophobia : Marie O’Regan
Eva is afraid of change, so much so she is under the guidance of a therapist. Everything must stay the same, books cannot be out of place on a bookshelf. Her life has become a prison. But when the her therapist unlocks the door to her mental prison, well …… Marie O’Regan, has created a wonderful tale that evokes a memory of classic Tales of The Unexpected. I love stories that have endings like this.
N is for Nosocomephobia : Christopher L. Beck
Derek, has a fear, a fear that completely encompasses his life, he is afraid of hospitals. When he is injured while saving a little girl, he finds himself in the place of his fears. Desperate to escape his personal hell, he is thwarted at every turn by visions of a dirty old man. A man who taunts him at every chance. This is a good story that manges to convey the sense of desperation and fear that Derek feels, however the story was let down by a slightly unsatisfactory ending.
O is for Osmophobia : John Palisano
I’ve always said you can judge an anthology by the contribution of the editor. After all, his story kind of sets the benchmark. And truthfully, Dean’s story sets the standard perfectly. A mysterious figure is travelling the globe, granting dying wishes to those desperate for his help. This was a gripping enough story, however when the reveal is made as to who or what the mysterious figure is, the story is elevated to even greater heights. Dean’s story was another personal highlight of the collection for me.
Bonus Story :Steven Savile and Steve Lockley
Is if I think another short story set in the authors world of snow zombies. Where a father and son are besieged by shufflers during a snow storm. As usual, the two Steves have come up with another first class short story.
So, 27 stories later, what are my final thoughts on this anthology? With phobophobia, Dean M. Drinkel, has shown that he has a not only a great gift for writing, but also an excellent eye, when it comes to selecting stories for this anthology. The standard of these stories ranges from very good to excellent. There wasn’t a single story that I didn’t enjoy reading. if you had to push me to select my favourite five stories they would be
Z is for Zeusophobia : Dean M. Drinkel
W is for Wicca phobia : Jonathan Green
U is for Uranophobia : Barbie Wilde.
Q is for Qiqirn : Simon Kurt Unsworth