Friday, February 7, 2014

Twin Points - AudioReview

Article author: Alwyn Ash

"With a shudder of despair he stepped forward into the lane, its illumination coming from battered old street lamps..."

If previous story Inside The Machine had an air of mystery about it, "Twin Points" takes that and enhances it with a vision of darkness. Written by Neil Gardner, and based on an original idea by Tanja Glittenberg, this is one tale every horror and thriller enthusiast will love to hear! And so welcome to a Twilight Zone-esque slice of unworldly fiction so intense and dramatic that, by the end, you will feel its cut! There is also a morality so in touch with real world events that the very words "poetic justice" immediately spring to mind; I applaud the ingenuity in its approach to this particular subject matter!

Enjoying it so much, I emailed Tanja, who kindly had this to say about her tale, "The Inspiration for this one was an idea I had for ages something to do with flickering lights and the uncomfortable feeling it always caused in me. So I told Neil about it and what I think should be part of the story (fear, terror, torture...) and he really liked the idea and a few moments later he started to type and came up with the finished story. I absolutely loved it and soon we had the luck to have the wonderful Michael Fenton Stevens to read it for us. He too liked it and gave the whole story an even bigger impact."

Though a short story, there is so much I would like to talk about in this review. However, I must adhere to caution for spoilers. And so... Without doubt, those at Spokenworld understand not only how to put an audiobook together but clearly enjoy working with all its many layers, perfecting sound and delivery, employing all their talents in producing masterpiece after masterpiece. If I am to place Spokenworld with company then who better than Big Finish, Bafflegab, and Textbook Stuff! This is the brilliance in which Spokenworld work, and if "Twin Points" is an example of their range then it is with pride that I write these words.

"It lay ahead of him, the long dark alleyway, a route without pity, a remorseless seemingly unending passageway of nightmares and fear..." As is clearly forewarned on the website, "Twin points" contains some rather disturbing imagery; indeed it is extremely graphic in those areas of the tale where pain and torture are explored precisely, an intense experience for the listener. Personally I enjoy these excursions into the downright creepy and mysterious. If you think that the darkness breeds horror, perhaps you have not yet embraced the light...?

Michael Fenton Stevens, an actor and comedian whose other audio work includes "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and Big Finish's "The Kingmaker", is absolutely the right choice as narrator for this piece, both timing and pitch perfect, his delivery so engaging that you feel the threat and tension build, all the while focusing on the source of two glowing dots at the far end of the alleyway. It is a walk through the unknown, a steadily paced nightmare that will have you mystified and suspicious, surmising and yearning for truth. No matter the intensity or agony, the obsession in discovering answers is too great for the unnamed protagonist of the tale. From the start, "Twin Points" has a focus of its own, and you instantly feel for the man as he is seemingly tortured by something intangible.

Like "Inside The Machine", there is a greater mind at work, an entity whose purpose is unclear until the last moment, in this case the eighth minute - and the revelation is a true eye-opener, I can assure you! The twist is so compelling that a second listening was required, if only to view the piece in a different... light, shall we say? It is most definitely an intriguing experience, comparing the two sets of emotions that you will no doubt touch upon. For the most part I was reminded of "Fire in the Sky" (1993), a sci-fi horror drama directed by Robert Lieberman, and that feeling of being subjected to a nightmarish scenario that specifically targets both psychological and physical, helpless, solely at the mercy of some unknown and emotionally detached force or greater power.

As already mentioned in my "Inside The Machine" review, this is both a taster of Spokenworld's wares and a sample of what is to come in 2014, specifically a collection of short sci-fi stories written by Neil Gardner. Other short tales available on the Spokenworld website include "The Sound Within" and "Saya's Last Gasp", read by John Banks and Louise Jameson respectively, so now is a good time to sample their delights, and get on board for what can only be a beautiful journey. Even comparing "Inside The Machine" and "Twin Points" there is much diversity, a sign that variety and surprise will always be employed in these fine productions. I am, therefore, excited at what is still to come...

You can obtain the audiobook of "Twin Points" for download at
Spokenworld Audio (FREE audiobook)