I was practically drooling when Pete handed me (via email) a book of short horror stories. I am a complete sucker for the things. I remember taking road trips with my family and sneakily reading my brother’s copy of Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew when my mom wasn’t looking (I wasn’t allowed to read scary stories when I was kid because ‘my imagination was too active’ or something). Short horror was my introduction to horror and the love never faded.
Tom GH Adams’s Defiled Earth and Other Tales is a compilation of his short horror stories. A cursed LAGOON, a troubled teen and a lusty monster are just a few of his focal points and each story hits a different area of the horror spectrum. He definitely touches on some interesting subjects.
Adams had some good moments and some bad moments in this compilation, as can be expected in a compilation. I wasn’t too hip on his opening story, which shared the title of the book: Defiled Earth. It felt stagnant and bland, relying more on grotesque imagery than on the thrill of the story. I will admit that the images the story elicits did make me feel uneasy and mildly… ill? Most of the other stories wove along similar threads of being not quite great, but definitely not horrible. The concept was solid, but the execution was a bit lacking.
I did, however, love his longer piece Lunus Naturae. The characters had a nice level of depth, the story was encapsulating, and I wanted to keep reading the whole way through. It was wonderfully done.
Adams also included commentary after each of his stories, and it was interesting to read the inspiration behind each tale.
If you’re a lover of short stories, then by all means have a go at Defiled Earth. It isn’t life changing, but it’s definitely worth the time. AND they’re short, so at least you won’t have to sit through 400 pages of agony if you don’t like them.
6/10. Lunus Naturae lifted it up a whole point in my opinion. That story, if nothing else, is worth the read.