Walter Mosley. iPublish (see for a list of online retailers), each $2 (25p)

Mosley's (the Easy Rawlins mysteries; Blue Light) first e-book offerings are science fiction stories. Both concern the power welling up inside underestimated people. Whispers in the Dark keeps a watchful eye on Popo, an uncannily brilliant boy who connects up radios and fine-tunes them to hear the voice of God in the static. His stroke-ravaged grandmother and ex-con uncle keep the government from stealing him away and educating the personality out of him, while Popo decides how best to respond to his miraculous discovery. In a future where radical feminist separatists have altered the human genome, Fera Jones, heroine of The Greatest, has KO'ed her way though all the women of the ring and begins to take on the last bastion of masculine superiority. Once she defeats the men, she must decide if she should continue to fight with her fists or with her ideas for true equality. Both sets of characters are compelling and clearly delineated, and with his well-chosen words and ideas, Mosley cultivates the ground for deeply moving stories. But both tales fall short of being truly special. The seeds are there, but the ultimate sting that can distinguish short stories is not present. (Dec.)

FYI:The complete Futureland collection, including these stories, will be published in November 2001 by Warner Aspect.