Crosstown to Oblivion: Stepping Stone/Love Machine by Walter Mosley (book review)

The end is near. The final two chapters in Walter’s Mosley’s ‘Crosstown To Oblivion’ series show no sign of writer fatigue and maintain the excellent standard that hooked me from the very first book.

stepping stone

Of the two, ‘Stepping Stone’ is my preferred story. As is often the case with ‘Crosstown To Oblivion’, the lead is an everyman who is slightly removed from society and Truman Pope is no different. Working at a mail room all his life and waiting for something better to happen to him, he feels marginalised but is not unhappy. A chance encounter with a girl in a bright yellow suit that only he can see changes that and he is suddenly filled with new insight and confidence that attracts people to him. In his dreams, he is also haunted by the lives of others and realises that everything is about to change. But will it be for the better?

Pope’s character is one of the sweetest I have ever seen and it’s impossible not to root for him. At one stage, his job is threatened and when it seems as though all is lost, he is saved by one of his bosses in a beautiful and hopeful scene.

‘Love Machine’ is slightly more ambitious. Featuring a scientist who is tricked into testing a device that can copy memories and link minds together, she soon finds herself part of a collective with unlimited potential. Her attempts to leave are scuppered by the sheer force of conviction of the group and the sense of belonging it provides. The lead character’s talents put her in a position of power within the collective but is she ready to leave her old life behind and does the collective have bigger plans for her?

Walter Mosley’s ‘Crosstown To Oblivion’ series has been a real treat for me and I hope he decides to keep adding to it. My research shows, he’s ready to stop at six but as none of the stories are connected, the potential for adding more is there and only hampered by Mosley’s fantastic imagination. Highly recommended.

Aidan Fortune

May 2013

(pub: TOR/Forge. 237 page enlarged paperback. Price: $24.99 (US), $28.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-7653-3010-9)

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Once called a "fountain of useless pop culture knowledge", Aidan is an unashamed geek, grateful that he is allowed share his opinions on a global scale. A journalist by trade, Aidan is a massive fan of comics and recently set up a comics group in Brighton in order to engage more with like-minded people. His home is subject to a constant battle of vintage paraphernalia and science fiction & fantasy toys.

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