the official website for the writings of
My latest novel. A first person account of the zombie appocalypse, from its beginning to its end.
"It takes something special to interest me in a zombie novel, and this really is something special. Relentless, unsentimental, and with a plot that moves like a freight train. You want bleak? Read this…an excellent novel from an excellent writer." Gary McMahon
"Rob Moore has done it again; turned a conventional theme of zombies and all the genre cliches that go with it into something that rises so far above the ordinary that it takes your breath away (no pun intended!). This book has depth. It is not only a visceral tour de force, but has the advantage of Moore's extraordinary imagination being brought to bear, introducing characters and situations that you care passionately about. Without giving too much away, the climax to the story astounds the reader by its spectacular, heartrending audacity. A brilliant achievement." Trevor Denyer
"By making his characters so fully rounded, Moore gives us a reason to care about them, and this in turn makes the book's resolution all the more poignant and painful… These are just ordinary human beings, acting with common decency in the face of the unacceptable…Moore has written a zombie novel, but it's not just another zombie novel. He takes the familiar and makes it heartrendingly sad, but not at the expense of the action fans of this subgenre will have come to expect from zombie fare." Peter Tennant, Black Static 37
My second short story collection, I Smell Blood, is now available as a trade paperback and e-book download. Almost 100,000 words of fiction, including eight stories and my short horror novel, Kid. Please go here for details.
Critical acclaim for I Smell Blood
"Disturbing. Nightmarish. Terrifying. And above all original. Ralph Robert Moore's new collection is unlike anything else I've read all year. All decade. It's also bloody good. I Smell Blood, Ralph Robert Moore's second short fiction collection, reinforces his reputation, amongst those in the know, that here we have a genre-storytelling giant in our midst…this is a surefire cult hit which deserves wider recognition…Moore manages to distill the best qualities of horror writing and produce something which is unique…conventions go out the window, and through it, something far more beastly crawls…Moore lends you his eyes (or lets you hop into his head, a la Kid) and it is a very, very dark place indeed…Moore here tackles deep themes. Beyond the white picket fence themes. Sex games, gender relationships, obsessions…the deepest horror here are the things which human beings are capable of doing to other human beings."
"With eight stories and the short novel "Kid", the new collection…combin[es] horror and gonzo invention in a winning combination, with an unadorned prose style that…drives the narrative forward at a cracking pace and allows for moments of surprising tenderness.
…Finally we have the short novel "Kid", weighing in at approximately a hundred and twenty pages, and the undoubted highlight of this collection…The novel's eponymous hero is a young man with the ability to head hop, to enter and insinuate himself into the mind of another and eventually seize control of his body…there's plenty of explicit sex and violence, with the scenes in which a man's face is removed particularly horrific…crime lord Knuggles is a master stroke of invention…the man oozes menace, and I cringed in anticipation of something terrible taking place every time he held centre stage…A particular highlight is the dazzling and vividly cinematic shoot out at a restaurant when the kid takes on another head hopper, each of them controlling a selection of stooges.
..."Kid" was a wonderful finale to one of the best collections I've read this year, delivering exactly the kind of uncompromising thrills and spills I've come to expect from this writer."
"Ralph Robert Moore's second collection confirms the excellent qualities displayed in his previous book "Remove the Eyes", namely a powerful imagination, an extraordinary degree of originality and a great storytelling ability… A highly recommended book."
One thing that is very evident from the moment you start reading [I Smell Blood]: these stories are far from predictable…The characters here inhabit surreal worlds grounded in reality but full of outrageous surprises.
"Visibility" [is] a tale so rich in character and atmosphere that it takes your breath away….["Afoot"] drills deep into what motivates people to want to break away from a society that confines our base instincts... The novel, "Kid", is a faultless mix of sure-fired observation…that hinges upon a plot that combines a dark and morbid supernatural ability with a crime mystery…Once more, the author has created a fascinating ensemble of characters…
Moore's work is consistently fascinating, original and devastating. His characters speak to you from whatever hell they inhabit, with clear, unambiguous voices...[I Smell Blood] is a worthy successor to "Remove the Eyes."
My first short story collection, Remove the Eyes, is available as a trade paperbook and e-book download. Please go here for details.
Please go here for more details and ordering information.
Critical acclaim for Remove the Eyes
"Tired of the usual suspects? Bored with the same old genre clichés? Then follow my advice 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…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."
"…[Moore's] work is not quite like that of anybody else. He is a true original, someone who has taken on board the lessons of genre and mainstream, then harnessed both to his own ends, and if you are looking for something different, then I can't recommend this collection highly enough."
"Unusual, erotic, frightening and stunningly good…This collection showcases the wide and versatile range of [Moore's] work. From the horrors of the internal demons that infest the wonderful "The Machine of a Religious Man" to the powerful and erotic, yet despairing "Rocketship Apartment", these stories capture the extremes of human experience. The writing is tight and uncompromising. The dialogue provides depth to the narrative, drawing the reader into shocking and unusual scenarios that stun, remaining in the memory long afterwards."
My novel Father Figure, a bestseller for its publisher in trade paperback, is now available for free in PDF format. Click here to go to a page where you can download the complete text of the novel.
"It is easy to see why Father Figure has become an underground classic over the years. It is a dark, extremely disturbing but completely gripping suspense thriller with a strongly erotic subtext...Moore is an extremely talented writer with a gift for pushing the reader's emotional buttons...certainly liable to become a cult classic, and deservedly so."
From an editorial review
Critics' Comments on Specific Stories
"For me, the masterpiece of the collection is The Rape by Ralph Robert Moore, a multi-viewpoint – in every sense of the word – examination of an apparent rape (or is it) that sizzles with tension and inventiveness."
Terry Grimwood, in Whispers of Wickedness, reviewing The Rape, published in Sein und Werden.
"…once again the editors have confirmed their extraordinary literary taste and excellent editorial instinct by selecting twenty stories which, for the most part, are up to the high expectations of 'Darkness Rising' aficionados…In some instances, I suspect, the stories are so good as to surpass even the best from the previous volumes, much to the delight of everyone fond of solid, compelling short fiction...[four of the stories] are really outstanding..."The Woman in the Walls" by Ralph Robert Moore is quite amazing. Despite the tell-tale title (believe it or not, that's the core of the plot!) the story is so original and full of surprising twists it remains absolutely memorable."
Mario Guslandi, in The Agony Column, reviewing The Woman in the Walls, published in the hardcover anthology, Darkness Rising 2005.
"This is a very strong tale, which will take a hold of you at the beginning and grip until the end. It tells of a farmer and his family and the tragedies which fall upon them, and of the dedicated employee who does anything the farmer asks of him. I found this tale to be very emotional, yet creepy and violent. Moore puts us, the reader, right into the story as if we are driving it, and we are."
Chris Cartwright, in Whispers of Wickedness, reviewing The Machine of a Religious Man, published in Midnight Street, Spring 2005
"…as it's always the case in any anthology, some stories in "Read By Dawn" are positively awful, some just ordinary, and only a bunch are worth mentioning. The latter group, in my opinion, amounts to a dozen, which is not bad at all in a volume assembling twenty-seven tales …The Little Girl Who Lives in the Woods by Ralph Robert Moore is a very dark, cruel tale about the hidden truths of human existence, blending the reality of spoiled innocence, loneliness, violence and hunger for love."
Mario Guslandi, in Horror World Review, reviewing The Little Girl Who Lives in the Woods, published in the anthology, Read Before Dawn, 2006.
"Another mind-blowing story is Truth Be Told by Ralph Robert Moore, and it is probably the story that most fits the ‘artifice’ remit. A couple – Franklin and Sarah – are talking. He questions her about her encounter at work with another woman, and his questions gradually lead her on to more and more pornographic descriptions of the encounter. It is obvious from her changing stories that much of what she is saying cannot be true. Is she taking her cues from Franklin’s (leading) questions? Is this some sort of a game that they play regularly? But there is a narrative outside of Sarah’s, and it is moving on and taking the reader somewhere disturbing. A quite remarkable story."
Jim Steel, in Whispers of Wickedness, reviewing Truth Be Told, published in Sein und Werden, Volume 1, Issue 4, 2007
If you're here, it's probably night. You can see a window from where you sit, and the window is dark. Who really knows what's outside?
I write. If you read, we've just made a connection.
SENTENCE is the forest you fall asleep into.
Like most authors, I'm more comfortable between covers, but the truth is that's getting harder and harder to achieve these days. Markets have become increasingly timid in this family values age. Plus the table of contents of most periodicals nowadays is decidedly tipped in favor of the falsehoods of nonfiction over the disturbing truths of fiction. Length is another alarm. Many small-circulation magazines, understandably, want to represent as many writers as possible in an issue, and therefore are less likely to accommodate the girth of a well-fed novella.
Back in the thirties, when fiction magazines were as popular as television is today, young writers could move to the cement and grass of the city and be on newsstands two months later.
We bemoan the loss of those days of opportunity, but the truth is we now have more magazines than ever before, only they're called websites. Thanks to cyberspace, anyone can put out their own magazine. No more backroom arguments with printers, no more getting down on your knees in front of advertisers, no more embarrassment trying to extract your right index fingertip from the white string knotted atop the bundle of the latest issue.
Some people say, but if you put your fiction on the web, it'll be stolen. Let's examine that. What could be stolen is either the story itself, or its ideas. A story can be stolen printed or posted, but it should be fairly easy to establish, in either case, the author. If you want, include in your text an anagram that, when held up to light, identifies you like a watermark as the author. Ideas can be stolen-- a simile, a description, a joke-- but that will happen regardless of the medium in which your baggage is left alone on the airport floor. The truth is, fear of plagiarism is fear of readership.
We have an enormous range of talent out beyond the electricity. Talent that can share on the Internet. There are dangers, but to be plagiarized is never fatal. What is more important is to be read. Because if it's in a box, and no one but you knows about the storms raging through the paragraphs, the footsteps plodding soggily down the sentences, water dripping off the rims of words, that's the biggest shame of all. A fizzle. Because the real achievement of writing is not the writing. The real achievement of writing is someone else reading the writing.
I've been published in America, Canada, England, Ireland, India and Australia, and translated into Lithuanian. My fiction has been called "graphically morbid". My writings are not for everyone. Are they for you? Find out.
You can either go to one of the links in the upper left of this page to read the complete texts of many of my short stories and other writings, published and unpublished, as well as lengthy excerpts from my novels, or you can go to Words Walking Nude, a collection of about fifty short excerpts from my work, to see if you like my style, and what I have to say.
Art is an invitation to go inside someone else's mind. To see our world as they see it. SENTENCE is my mind.
I'm glad you came. I just lit a cigarette. I just poured Merlot. I hope you enjoy your exploration.
Webmaster Ralph Robert Moore at email@example.com. Entire contents Copyright © 1997-2013 by Ralph Robert Moore, All Rights Reserved.
For a complete chronology of site updates, please see HISTORY.
Established January 1, 1998.
"All was chaos, that is, earth, air, water, and fire were mixed together; and out of that bulk a mass formed-- just as cheese is made out of milk-- and worms appeared in it, and these were the angels."
I've been unusually busy this past month, and so didn't have the time to write a new Lately for December. I'll be back January 1, though, with my first Lately of 2014. In the meantime, please feel free to visit me on Facebook.
all the demons retreat to the restroom
november 1, 2013
I got to the restaurant early.
Was seated near the high-ceilinged center of the main room. Mostly older diners. Suits, white hair, quiet voices, comfortable wealth.
Late morning sun through the narrow windows. Discreet middle-aged waiter by the side of my chair. Bent at the waist. White linen tablecloths. My favorite. I appreciate the smell of freshly-starched linen when I'm sitting down for lunch. Dining out in a nice restaurant is so relaxing to me. Soothing. All the demons retreat to the restroom.
I ordered a Manhattan. On the rocks, because I like to put the whiskey-flavored ice cube remnants in my mouth once the devil is gone.
The restaurant was civilized, so I was able to light up a cigarette. My disposable Bic, flame blue at the bottom, tall yellow above waving side to side. Coming into fiery contact with the circular brown tobacco tip of my cigarette, igniting the tiny dried leaves.
A nervous guy came over, clearing his throat that way we do where we try to clear our throat without anyone noticing. Lowering his jaw like that will prevent anyone from noticing the Adam's apple bob? "Do you know who I am?"
Me sitting, him standing. I studied his not-quite-handsome face. It's a bit like seeing someone you last saw twenty years ago, trying to fit what's in front of you from out of all the younger faces from your past. Finally, I hazarded a guess. "Are you Philip? From my story When the Big One Thaws?"
His gratefulness at being recognized. "Yeah."
"Wow. But you know you're dead, right? I killed you at the end of that story."
"I always thought that was open to interpretation."
"No. You're dead. That giant frog ate you. Sorry. Pull up a seat."
I mean, to me it makes no sense meeting with characters from stories you've written, I don't see any good that can come from it, but it's a service I do every once in a while for these creations of mine that just can't let go.
He fiddled with a parmesan breadstick. Sunken eyes. "I just need to know. It was unclear in the story. Did Jill actually cheat on me at the end?"
Well, she didn't, but I'm not going to tell him that. That ambiguity was one of the main points of the story.
"Who knows?" My shoulder shrug. Went back to studying the menu. They had some pretty interesting dishes.
His knuckly hands on the white tablecloth. "I mean, it would really put to rest a lot of bad thoughts."
"Well, that's not what that story was all about. You were meant to be paranoid. That's how I wrote you."
His tears. "Did she love me? Was she faithful to me?"
What we all ask. But I really don't have any desire to placate him. After all, he's imaginary.
"You portrayed me in, well, kind of a negative light."
"I sure did. That's how I saw you."
"But I didn't really see me as that negative a person."
I lit a fresh cigarette. "I know you didn't. That's why I gave you that flaw. Made you more interesting, as a character."
We were joined by another guest. A woman in her early thirties. She thrust out her hand. "Hi! I was one of the nurses during the first section of your novel, As Dead As Me."
I looked over the top of my menu. "Okay."
"I died early in the novel. I was one of the nurses who tried to escape from the zombies, but then I was trapped in a corridor, I mean I could see the door to my freedom from where I was cornered, but then you had the living dead set on me, biting into my shoulders, turning me."
"Them's the breaks."
"But do you really think that's fair? I always thought it would be great--and really interesting!-- if the protagonist, Jack, had rescued me, and then maybe we had a romance?"
I asked the waiter for oysters on the half shell. I love 'em. That raw ocean flavor. Plus you get to kill your food. In your mouth. How great is that? "Nope. You were just background color. Sorry."
"I had this whole thing worked out…"
"I didn't. You were a couple of sentences. Nothing more. I don't think I even bothered to describe your face, did I?"
"No, you didn't! Which is another complaint."
"Sorry. I think I had another line or two about you in an earlier draft, but I edited it out as I was finalizing the manuscript. I mean, that's just the way it is. I never saw you as anything more than a glimpse."
Another guest joined us. An old man, white and black hair pulled away from his tanned face into a ponytail. In a white suit, presenting himself with a lot of dignity. "Mr. Moore? My honor. I'm Chief Blackfoot."
"From The Machine of a Religious Man."
"Absolutely, sir." He took his seat at the table. "I must ask you, if I may...Did I ever exact revenge on Bonay?"
That first ice-chilled oyster was sublime. I always chew on them with my back molars, because, as I said, they're still alive, and if you swallow them whole, they swim around in your stomach for a while, which can be unsettling. Especially if you're drinking alcohol. "Honestly? I don't know. I never thought that far ahead of where the story ended, so I didn't have to resolve that issue."
"I firmly believe I should have been allowed to."
"I understand that sentiment. But, honestly, I never gave it much thought."
"Could you write a sequel where I kill Bonay?"
"I could, but I won't. I have too many new stories to write."
Finally, our last guest.
He stands next to my chair. Tall, middle-aged, pot-bellied. "Can you tell who I am?"
"I'm Pottah. From your story Big Inches."
And then I saw that, in his face. "Okay. Wow."
"You did terrible things to me in that story."
The restaurant's cassoulet was divine. Goose, sausage, pork baked in a casserole, all those good juices and fat dripping into the white beans. "I guess I did. So?"
"So, couldn't I have escaped at some point?"
I shook my head, tearing off a chunk of crusty bread. "No. You had to die."
"But I really didn't want to!"
"I'm so sorry. I guess. But, you know. Ultimately, it's not about you. It's about me."
"Some people might. I don't know. Say you really fucked me over in that story."
God, I hate these "get togethers." "Well, I did. So some people would be absolutely correct."
You know? I'm trying to eat, here.
He started crying. "Did I really have to die? There was no way you could have allowed me to live?"
"I always thought, maybe while they were inspecting my car, they were distracted, and I slipped out a back door? Please?"
I dipped the side of my spoon into my crème brûlée.
Glanced at my wristwatch.
My short story "The Dead Leave Small Bones" has been bought by Cemetery Dance.
My short story "Dogs Want to Eat You" has been bought by Horror Society Stories Volume 1.