The Gift of Fire / On the Head of a Pin: Two Short Novels from Crosstown to Oblivion

The Gift of Fire / On the Head of a Pin: Two Short Novels from Crosstown to Oblivion

by Walter Mosley

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780765330086
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 05/08/2012
Series: Crosstown to Oblivion Series
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.32(h) x 0.99(d)

About the Author

WALTER MOSLEY is one of the most versatile and admired writers in America today. He is the author of more than thirty-four critically acclaimed books, including the major bestselling mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins. His short fiction has been widely published, and his nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and The Nation. He is the winner of numerous awards including an O. Henry Award, a Grammy, and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in New York City.


New York, New York

Date of Birth:

January 12, 1952

Place of Birth:

Los Angeles, California


B.A., Johnson State College

Read an Excerpt

The Gift of Fire / On the Head of a Pin

Two Short Novels from Crosstown to Oblivion
By Walter Mosley

Tor Books

Copyright © 2012 Walter Mosley
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780765330086


I WAS WORKING AT Jennings-Tremont Enterprises (JTE) when Ana Fried and, I suppose, the rest of us, quite by accident, happened upon the most important discovery in the history of this world, or the next.
JTE’s primary work was developing advanced animatronic editing techniques for film. It was our job, or at least the job of the scientists and programmers, to develop animation tools that would create high-end movies indistinguishable from live action.
Joseph Jennings’s childhood dream was to make new movies with old-time stars. He wanted Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre side by side with Rudolph Valentino, Myrna Loy, Marlon Brando, and Natalie Portman. These new classics, he envisioned, could be made in small laboratories by purely technical means. Had we been successful, the stock in JTE would have been worth billions. Instead, we were secretly vilified, physically quarantined, and warned, under threat of death, not to create documents such as this one. Writing this memoir, my second act of true rebellion, is necessary in spite of the danger because there must be some record of what really transpired in case the government gets to me before the Alto arrive.
But I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
My name is Joshua Winterland. I suppose you could call me a failed writer. Failed is a harsh word but valid in this case, because all my life I wanted to be a playwright. I’ve written thirty-seven plays that have each been rejected by every theater, playwriting competition, and creative writing school in the country.
I am thirty-nine years old and have been writing since the age of nine.
When I realized that I’d never be successful, or even produced, as a playwright I began work as a technical writer for a succession of various companies and institutions in California’s Silicon Valley. I was the guy who wrote the manuals for new hard- and software. My day’s work was to help consumers figure out what tab to hit and where to look up the serial number, how to register online or over the telephone, and what safety precautions to take before turning on a new system.
My fate was recast when the country went into a serious economic recession and, coincidentally, my girlfriend, Lena Berston, woke up one day to realize that she was in love with my childhood friend Ralph Tracer.
Lena told me one morning, before I was off to work at Interdyne, that Ralph had called because he was coming in from San Francisco that evening and she had offered to cook dinner for the three of us. I thought this was odd because Lena rarely cooked on weeknights, and she had always said that Ralph wasn’t her kind of person.
“It’s not that I don’t like him,” she’d said more than once, “but he just doesn’t interest me.”
I didn’t give it any serious thought. Ralph was a good guy. I’d known him since junior high school in Oakland. He was from a different neighborhood but we made an early bond. We’d talked to each other at least once a week since I was thirteen years old, sharing our boyhood dreams. I planned to be a playwright and he wanted, in the worst way, to lose his virginity.
Our goals alone spoke volumes about the value of reduced expectations.

Copyright © 2012 by Walter Mosley


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The Gift of Fire / On the Head of a Pin: Two Short Novels from Crosstown to Oblivion 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
nikki1 More than 1 year ago
Mosely is known for writing murder mysteries and not science fiction. This book (On the Head of a Pin) is hard to read and follow. I usually completed reading a Mosley novel within 2 days, but not this one. I probably will not finish reading this novel.
Ronrose1 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Walter Mosley is a very good story teller. I like him because he fires my imagination. He is rightly noted for his detective fiction featuring Easy Rawlins, but as shown in these two stories, he seems to know no boundaries. "On The Head Of A Pin" deals with the consequences of being able to see into the past and the future. The other story tells the tale of an attempt to lift man from the dregs of our society to the heights our souls were meant achieve. While both stories are very imaginative and well written, I definitely preferred the story,"On The Head Of A Pin",for it's imaginative theme combined with more believable characterizations. Mosley can take you from the heights of a mountain to the depths of your soul. He can help us count the the angels sitting on a pin or give our souls the gift of fire. Book provided for review by the well read folks of Amazon Vine and Tor publishers.
detailmuse on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This book consists of two speculative novellas by Walter Mosley -- one involving Prometheus¿s return to contemporary south-central Los Angeles; the other an animatronics firm¿s discovery of a portal to the cosmos.I read very little genre fiction but was eager to read these because I¿ve hugely enjoyed Mosley¿s writing and rich characterization, especially The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned and Little Scarlet. So I¿m distressed to report that I hated these. They have a YA (vs. adult) feel, and (more than once) I envisioned a high-schooler writing them on his way to turn them in during class -- very thin, a mere outline of character and plot (especially in ¿On the Head of a Pin¿), where I was continuously blind-sided by last-moment information, new characters and unearned twists.As I said and to be fair, I¿m not familiar with the conventions of this genre -- these novellas may fit them well. But I am confident in suggesting them only to fans of speculative fiction.(Review based on an advance reading copy provided by the publisher.)
Avidreader62AB More than 1 year ago
Walter Mosley has done it again. I started reading was amazed by the story. They call this stuff fiction but could it be true? Fans should not pass this one. I thought the ending could have been better but that's my only negative concerning this book.
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