cover image Stepping Stone/Love Machine

Stepping Stone/Love Machine

Walter Mosley. Tor, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3010-9

The unevenness of Mosley’s Crosstown to Oblivion series continues in the third pair of unconvincing novellas (after Merge/Disciple). “Stepping Stone” is the more compelling piece, relating the experiences of Truman Pope, a man who overcame learning disabilities with the help of a sympathetic teacher and who has labored for years as mailroom supervisor for a Manhattan financial firm. Pope has settled into a staid routine that comes to an abrupt halt when he sees a woman in the elevator whom no one else can see. The vision proves to be the first of a series of odd episodes that lead to an apocalyptic threat to mankind. “Love Machine” starts more strongly then it finishes, with the development of a device that allows people to share sensory experiences. There are flashes of Mosley’s lyrical gifts (“Slowly the night turned into another kind of darkness and the dreams settled into dust upon a vast, unseen desert floor”), but not enough. Agent: Gloria Loomis, Watkins Loomis. (Apr.)