Remove The Eyes
Ralph Robert Moore
Trade / $18.00
Review by Mario Guslandi
Tired of the usual suspects? Bored with the same old genre clichès? Then follow my advise and read Ralph Robert Moore, a hell of a writer whose work is provocative and refreshing, never ordinary, always imaginative and graced by a compelling narrative style.
Remove the Eyes assembles a bunch of Moore’s uncollected stories, some of which previously appeared in genre magazines and anthologies.
The best known of those stories is probably “The Machine of a Religious Man,” originally published in Midnight Street and nominated as Best Story of the Year in the 2006 BSF awards. Indeed it is a superb, atmospheric and moving piece of fiction, revolving around an unlucky man who has lost his wife, his daughter and his granddaughter as well, whose corpse is still trapped in a frozen pond.
The offbeat “The woman in the Wall” is another extraordinary tale previously included in the Darkness Rising 2005 anthology.
But the stories appearing here for the first time are equally accomplished.
The deliciously upsetting “After Here” depicts a strange encounter between a man and a young girl who believes in reincarnation. A nut case or someone coming a long way from a distant past? Go figure.
“Stranger Wear Masks of Your Face” is a longish, extremely original story where a man marked by a mysterious organization (The Path) meets again a woman he used to secretly long for and then undergoes a progressive change that will bring about a tragic ending.
“My First Kiss” is another great, extremely original tale featuring a boy and a girl breaking in houses just for the fun of it, bound to experience life’s hard facts.
“Like An Animal In Hole,” a bitter yarn with a supernatural touch, investigates the truth behind the death of a man tied to his sister by an incestuous liason while the excellent “Rocketship Apartment” portrays a couple setting out on an imaginary space journey while remaining in their apartment and effectively describes their physical and mental dissolution.
My favorite piece is, perhaps, “This Moment of Brilliance,” a brilliant story indeed (pun intended), rather on the crime side, in which a glacial killer with nerves of steel performs his job and sometimes has some fun until the game is over. On the other hand, all the stories are so entertaining and well told, that it’s difficult to single out just one.
Moore has all the features of a great writer: he conceives original plots, creates credible characters and makes them speak plausible dialogues, and, most of all, is a terrific storyteller.
Try him, you won’t regret it.