John Falls into Another Dimension

A lovecraftian tale from Pocket Radio Theater, this horror story of a man’s slow descent into madnes is nothing new to the Lovecraftian subgenre. “The Rats in the Walls” was my first introduction to Lovecraft. This is certainly reminiscent of that, and based on a little light research a common trope of both Lovecraft and Lovecraftian fiction.

“John Falls into Another DImension” is a full cast production because of the inclusion of different actors/actresses for the various roles. More often than not, stories with narration and character-spoken dialogue have a tendency to halt the soundscape or the narration, as if you can’t have both at the same time. The problem then lies with the mixer and his ability to properly convey what is going on.

This production sides more on the side of an audiobook and therefore dodges that particular problem. The writer and narrator of the story, Karl Sparks, does a good enough job of setting the scene with the words and the infliction of his voice that sounds layered on top of it would’ve only distracted from the tale.

That’s not to say the actors didn’t play an important role, but since most of the story takes place inside John’s head, it’s hard to rate their perfomances because their lines were so few and far between. At least when compared to the amount of narration.

There’s not much else to say, other than the ending may be an obvious twist and seen in a lot of stories in general, but it still left an impact on me. The bulk of the horror comes in the form of a series of increasingly strange events which test John’s sanity.

4/5 stars

The Buyer in the Library

An adaptation of an award winning one-act play, written by Karl Sparks of Pocket Radio Theater. The mind behind 10 cent stories and the Bootleggers series is lacking in good sound effects, but makes up for it with a single character who is charmingly twisted and evil and who ultimately steals the show.

The story is set in Rochester, NY, specifically in the basement level of a University. The only way to get there is via an elevator with a button that appears to select number of people. The first three minutes or so explain the workings of the elevator and for the purposes of the story doesn’t matter a whole lot. In fact the narration which explains it, could’ve been cut and no one would be confused.

This entire play is a series of events, tied together with a delightful performance by Leah Mould who plays a character along the lines of genie. It relies a little heavily on the genie story arc, where each wish you make comes back to bite you. It doesn’t follow it specifically and there’s enough there with the performances and the nuances of how “The Buyer” goes about fulfilling wishes to make it somewhat entertaining.

Unlike the first episode of The Bootleggers, the sound effects here are a bit much and don’t create a consistent soundscape this time around. Every time the elevator arrived was like nails on a chalk board. It might’ve been intentional, but I could’ve done without it lasting as long as it did each time it came.

All in all this a fun tale which relies heavily on the performances and the tropes of the “magic comes at a price” trope. If you’re looking for a subversion of tropes, then look elsewhere. The story follows the convention closely, but it’s still enjoyable.

4/5 stars