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STEPPING STONE / THE LOVE MACHINE by Walter Mosley

STEPPING STONE / THE LOVE MACHINE

From the Crosstown to Oblivion series

By Walter Mosley

Pub Date: April 2nd, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7653-3010-9
Publisher: Tor

The creator of Easy Rawlins, whose ambition keeps sending him back to apocalyptic sci-fi scenarios with decidedly mixed results (The Wave, 2006, etc.), presents a pair of visionary novellas mainly designed to provide their characters with occasions to hector each other and the gentle reader with speechifying.

Stepping Stone, the more interesting of these two tales, begins in quotidian reality before taking leave of it. Truman Pope, long ago identified as suffering from a learning disability, finds his uneventful tenure as mailroom manager at the firm of Higgenbothem, Brightend and Hoad disrupted by the apparition of a young woman in an ecru pantsuit whom nobody else can see. Minerva, as she calls herself, opens Truman’s eyes to soaring new vistas, including the good news (Truman is God) and the bad (the coming of “the worst plague in the history of the human race”), before the millennial conclusion. Love Machine begins more forthrightly with technobureaucrat Lois Kim testing the Datascriber, which top neurophysicist Dr. Marchant Lewis has produced for her bosses at InterCybernetics International, and then realizing that she’s given Lewis access to her memories and desires and opened herself in turn to the Co-Mind Lewis shares with Marie, a former employee he once threw across the workspace and lamed, and three other associates, one of whom, doubling as a coyote, chides her: “[Y]ou are still thinking as one person who is alone in the cold embrace of uncaring, inert matter.” After some initial resistance, Lois quickly adjusts to her new status and prepares to forge her comrades into the new vanguard of humanity.

Mosley, whose mystery novels (All I Did Was Shoot My Man, 2012, etc.) have won deserved acclaim, is here at his most declamatory, essayistic and oracular.