April 27th, 2012


The Gift of Fire and On the Head of a Pin, by Walter Mosley

Review copy provided by Tor.

It is an actual real live Tor double. Good heavens. The cover copy says "two short novels," but I suspect that at least On the Head of a Pin is actually a novella; "one short novel and one novella" is not very good ad copy, though, even if it does give awards voters an accurate idea of what they've read. I suspect, though, that Walter Mosley's main focus is not genre awards. Anyway. Onwards.

The Gift of Fire is a Promethean Messiah story set in inner-city Los Angeles. The L.A. setting is a major strength of Mosley's from past works, but he doesn't have the time here to do more than touch on it--"short" being an operative word--and the flaws of a Messiah story are entirely present here: "kid comes and fixes people's lives and hearts" is pretty hard to make plausible, and also is not all that interesting if you don't believe in the Messiah in question. The template varies some--not all saviors get a pretty girlfriend to screw, for example--but I felt like Minister Faust's latest covered some of the same ground with much more interesting complexity.

On the Head of a Pin was not quite as overtly Messianic, but it did feature a hero who was Just Plain Special Darn It, and how the animatronics were supposed to get to be a spacetime portal, I was never really sure. Unfortunately, what's worse, I also never really cared.

This is not where I would recommend people would start with Mosley. He has much stronger work out there. This pair of shortish bits is more for the Mosley enthusiast than for someone who is trying to see what sort of thing he does for the first time.

Hey, timing.

Today I was feeling utterly physically miserable again*, and it was bleeding over into the rest of my outlook, as it will tend to do. I characterized it in e-mail to a friend as the "YOU RUIN EVERYTHING, PUKERELLA!" mindset. And in the midst of this, a friend took the time to tell me that she appreciated a thing I had put effort into.

It was not, like, the hugest deal ever. She did not make me a giant wall-sized cardboard card with glitter to say thank you, and my effort was not Augean Stables-level either. But I did a thing that took effort when I don't have a lot to spare, and she took the time to not only appreciate it when she didn't have a lot of effort to spare either but to use her words to say so, and you know what? That ended up mattering quite a lot in the fight to keep the physical stuff from dragging down everything else.

So if you can, tell me about something in your life with good timing lately. We like the good timing. Yay good timing.

*Seriously one of the worst weeks I've had for awhile, in physical terms. There is a queue of stuff I am totally capable of doing that is taking forEVAR because of the amount of time body-wrangling. Whee. We'll get there. But it takes awhile.