(1952- ) US author, best known for his crime fiction, in particular the Easy Rawlins sequence beginning with Devil in a Blue Dress (1990). He is of sf interest for several books: Blue Light (1998), an Equipoisal tale, traces the consequences of the eponymous radiance from space, which strikes the earth in discrete "needles" in 1965 and transforms (see Shapeshifters) anything alive that it comes in contact with, creating over the years a mild-mannered Pariah Elite of the changed, who anticipate the End of the World in an uplifting, Eschatological fashion; Futureland: Nine Stories of an Imminent Future (coll of linked stories 2001) is set in a polarized Near Future America, where savage class divisions are enforced by international corporations and Genetic Engineering experiments are imposed on the relatively helpless, though a sudden Pandemic fatal to those without African blood restores the balance to a degree; and The Wave (2006), in which the mystical implications held at check in Blue Light are earthed in a secret history of the world involving the eponymous upwelling of Zombies, who are described in terms of the theory of Evolution. The easy recourse to Paranoia in all these tales, the intermittent passages of unforced eloquence, and an extremely casual (though sometimes stiff-legged) insouciance as regards scientific verisimilitude (see Pseudoscience; Scientific Errors), have all marked Mosley as a Mainstream Writer of SF. The eponymous sentient Weapon of Inside a Silver Box (2015) – capable of destroying solar systems and hidden for 150,000 years deep Underground, beneath Central Park in New York – resists being returned to its makers, the Extraterrestrial Laz, and in the process of its resistance draws two dysfunctional human beings into the duel.
Mosley scripted the adaptation of his short story "Little Brother" (in Futureland) for the Television Anthology Series Masters of Science Fiction (2007); this aired as "Little Brother" (2 December 2007).
His recent sequence, the Crosstown to Oblivion series beginning with Crosstown to Oblivion: On the Head of a Pin (2012 dos), seems decidedly more fluent than the earlier genre work, as figures out of Mythology walk the streets of Los Angeles (see California), and dead stars are reborn to shine deeply into the heart of America. The full title for the series, not given on the title page, clarifies Mosley's ambitions: Crosstown to Oblivion: The Beginnings of the End – Fragments of Six Fragmented Worlds.
In 2020 Mosley received the non-genre US National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. [JC]
Walter Ellis Mosley
born Los Angeles, California: 12 January 1952
Crosstown to Oblivion
- Blue Light (Boston, Massachusetts: Little, Brown and Company, 1998) [hb/]
- Futureland: Nine Stories of an Imminent Future (New York: Warner Books/Aspect, 2001) [coll of linked stories: hb/Jon Valk]
- 47 (Boston, Massachusetts: Little, Brown and Company, 2005) [hb/Billy Kelly]
- The Wave (New York: Warner Books, 2006) [hb/Jesse Sanchez and Don Puckey]
- The Tempest Tales (New York: Black Classic Press, 2008) [fixup: hb/Charles Rue Woods]
- Inside a Silver Box (New York: Tor, 2015) [hb/Greg Ruth]
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