- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Throughout his literary career, Walter Mosley has demonstrated a breathtaking versatility, first making his name with hard-hitting mysteries exploring the modern African-American experience and then boldly delving into the world of science fiction with the dazzling Blue Light. Here he again ventures into the sci-fi arena to give us a splendid collection of nine loosely connected stories featuring a near-future America brimming with ultra-technology and insurrection. Political travails have escalated into fierce social disorder, and every institution in the nation is privatized, from prisons to schools to Eden-like retreats where hedonism and slavery go hand in hand. Mosley brings the talents he's already known for in the mystery field and sets them to work in a world where revolution is as prevalent as home computers.
The stories that make up Futureland deal with the likes of Vortex "Bits" Arnold, a convict on Angel's Island, where prisoners wear electronic snakes attached directly into their nerve centers, so that any inappropriate thought is immediately dealt with. We meet Fera Jones, the female heavyweight boxing champion who must follow either her own course or the one set for her by a feminist group bent on creating a new world order. There's also Ptolemy "Popo" Bent, a child genius trying to find God in radio waves, and his uncle, Chilly Bent, who makes the ultimate sacrifice to ensure his nephew's future.
Reminiscent of Paul Di Filippo's Ribofunk, Futureland is filled with thoughtful, edgy, and highly accessible storytelling. Mosley retains his high standards throughout, never growing lax with his plot or contrivances. Using some of the tropes of cyberpunk fiction, such as genetic engineering and high-tech psychological conditioning, the author adds to them a literate and mystical sensibility that will grab you by the throat. His characters are often less concerned with computer technology than with reaching the ear of God. They inhabit a world in which millions of famine victims are either saved or left to die, based on the results of a tennis game. Expatriates, zealots, and political prisoners abound, and it's certainly no fluke that these tales are described as "imminent." This is satire of the most biting and effective kind because it uses the social ills of today and ingeniously extrapolates them into a vision of tomorrow. (Tom Piccirilli)