April 14, 2014

The Madness of Moon Hill: an audiobook review of Anthony J. Rapino's "Reality Engineers"

Reality Engineers
by Anthony J. Rapino
narrated by Ian Baldwin
In Ear Entertainment (2013)
2 hrs. 28 min.

Time to revisit Moon Hill. I had a weird and wonderful time the last time Rapino plunged by consciousness into the madness of Moon Hill with his short story collection, Welcome to Moon Hill. This time it's a novella-length mind warp, though I checked it out in audiobook form courtesy of In Ear Audio Entertainment. I remember Anthony telling me he was working on a longer work set in Moon Hill, Pennsylvania, but I had no idea he was going to crank the crazy up to eleven.

It's starts off simple enough. Just a guy walking his dog in a dog park. Nothing out of the ordinary there, except for the fact his dingle is dangling out of his pants and he's pissing on the grass right along with his dog, and he doesn't remember doing it or how it could have happened. Okay, pretty weird. The giant bird chasing him down? Super weird. Or how about the woman whacking a tree with a stick that has a walnut tied to the end of it? That's pretty gosh darned weird. The sack of mangled meat that drops out of the sky, courtesy of that giant bird? Super weird.

And that's just the first couple chapters of the book.

Reality Engineers is like a cross between Stephen King's The Regulators and Rod Serling on an acid trip. The cast of characters grows with each chapter until about midway through, and then the whole thing unravels literally and figuratively with an apocalyptic free-for-all with cosmic creatures fighting for dominance and rewriting the very fabric of Moon Hill's reality.

As for Ian Baldwin, he does a great job in conveying the utter weirdness that is Anthony J. Rapino's thoroughly corrupted imagination. I'm no expert on cosmic horror, but I'd say Mr. Rapino has a knack for it, because this delivered the goods.

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