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Merge and Disciple: Two Short Novels from Crosstown to Oblivion

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  378 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Walter Mosley's talent knows no bounds. Merge and Disciple are but two of six fragments in the Crosstown to Oblivion short novels in which Mosley entertainingly explores life's cosmic questions. From life's meaning to the nature of good and evil, these tales take us on speculative journeys beyond the reality we have come to know. In each tale someone in our world today is ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Tor Books (first published October 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.48  · 
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Aug 13, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: alien, sci-fi
Two novellas for the price of one. But you could also say in this case, one story told in two novellas. That is not a criticism, but an observation.

Let me tell you what these have in common.

Really weird aliens. I mean out of this world, other dimension, not humanoid, aliens. The kind I really, really like to read about. This is the stuff that makes science fiction so interesting and so unlike other genres. This is done well.

Common guy/nobody protagonist.

End of the world theme. This was good a
...more
Peter Baran
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
These two short novels have basically the same central plot but play out in slightly different ways. In both cases a New York 25-45 year old black man is "chosen" by an alien force to help enact their plans for versions of global human genocide/transformation to fit in with a previously hidden world order. In both cases humans live unaware of the complex universal order that they live within. Also in both cases Mosely does a solid merge of quite hippyish pan-universal fantasy with really rather ...more
Ira Nayman
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Before I was a science fiction geek, I was a mystery geek. I started with Conan Doyle, moved on to Christie and Stout and eventually read writers like Hammett and Chandler, among others. I still occasionally dip into the work of a mystery author whose writing seems interesting, which is how I discovered Walter Mosely’s Easy Rawlins novels.

Rawlins was a black Second World War vet who was trying to get by in the first novel in the series, Devil in a Red Dress. (Yes, it was made into a so-so film s
...more
Amloid Mesa
May 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Excellent... I gave this book 5 stars, not for content or story that would rate 3 to 4 stars. 5 stars for making, creating a sci-fi book with an African-American as the main character. It's amazing to me how in the future or in some of authors of sci-fi and fantasy the world's they create are along the same lines with this world. Where white skin is the usually the only people that make a difference in the world. Even if people are different colors white is still the top of the chain. ...more
Chris Haynes
Sep 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book from goodreads First Reads. The two short stories are similar in that both stories are about "first-contact" with alien beings and the human contact needs to help them save their world by destroying ours. I saw both stories as allusions to how we, as human, are destroying our world by our very existence. This is the first book I've read by Walter Mosley. I thought the writing was very good but the stories were too similar for my liking. I thought Merge was the stronger of the two ...more
Jeremy
Jul 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
This books had some really interesting premises, but in the end they really weren't that different from each other. The main characters, both black males were obsessed with sex and upset with how they were treated as African Americans in today's society. Both had the option to destroy man-kind, both took that option and the perks that came with it such as the woman of their dreams... blah, blah, blah. Really nothing new here.
Frances Levy
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Listening to this one on CD during my commute. So far it's vintage for Mosley's books in this genre. Better than some and not as good as some others.

I still prefer Mosley's thoroughly enjoyable (yet intellectual) thrillers, if you can call them that. The characters -- Easy Rawlins, Paris Minton, Fearless Jones -- are priceless.

That said, "The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey" has to be classified as literary fiction. Five stars to this one.
Emmet
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am a fan of the writing of Walter Mosley, and these two novellas show why: Even when his prose does not rise to the level of greatness he sometimes uses, his story and characters are so compelling it doesn't matter.

Instead of writing that's almost poetry, here we get writing that is just good, clean, crisp. But with it, two different stories of the end of the world. But these are not grim, apocalyptic endings or free-for-all adventures; these are the world of ordinary people acting in ordinary
...more
Jonathan K
Jan 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Its not often I encounter and author whose stories cross several genres such as Mosley. Its obvious his primary genre is crime/detective stories, though the two in this book are pure science fiction with a humanitarian bend. Merge I found curious due to the 'alien creatures' that morph into humans, while Disciple's "Bron" comes across as a 'universal alien/spirit' who picks Hogarth to carry out his mission. Mosley's ability to engage regardless of the genre is quite good, though I prefer his fic ...more
Susan
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rated-five-stars
This is the second 2-short-novels-set in the series "Crosstown to Oblivion". I read "disciple" first and followed immediately with "merge" and I'm happy with my choice of sequence. All 4 books in the series are dedicated by the author"In honor of PKD". Like PKD's work, these books are classified "sci-fi" in my library system, and, like PKD's work, that's misleading. These books, like PKD's, are more about what it is to be human. I liked the drawings too.

"Enlightenment is a relative thing. Neande
...more
Morgan
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
These two short novels offered modern perspective on science fiction. There was some overt sexuality in both that weren't to my personal taste, but the plots themselves were intriguing. Because the stories are short, I had some unanswered questions, but I think perhaps that full length stories would have been too long. I don't think I'll turn to these again, but they were a quick read in a genre that I don't often dive into - for that, I can't give much fault.
Luke Bjorge
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Initially I really liked the first story but then the other was almost exactly the same. Plus, the waste of print on numerous sex scenes took away from the overall story and turned it into a Richard Layman book. I really should have gave it a two but the writing was good even if the author has a seventh grade mentality.
Janice
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
I'm always surprise when I read walter mosley books .I never know what to expect from him. This book left me wondering.
Sunshine ThruRain
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and both stories. Walter Mosley really is a chameleon-style writer. He's so adept at writing sci-fi with deceptively easy reading and storytelling. I've always enjoyed his power-house talent, and continue to do so with this read.

I also like the multiculturalism of Mosley's characters, as well, and how there is cultural inklings yet humanistic bents to his characters that can fit anyone from any background.
Robb Bridson
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two sci-fi novellas, both with basically the same thing going on but a different feel for each. Weird aliens with other forms of consciousness threaten to destroy/change our world and use some unsuspecting normal guy to do so. I preferred "Disciple" over "Merge" because it seems to have more of a point to the interaction between the human and the alien-- the relationship is far more ambiguous, and there is thought experimentation on morality and on the butterfly effect. "Merge" is a little too m ...more
David Dacosta
Nov 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Walter Mosley is quite simply a literary machine. His most popular works reside under the heading of Mystery, though he’s been known to genre-hop for the majority of his distinguished writing career. For his third literary release this year, Mr. Mosley has returned with another addition to his Crosstown to Oblivion short novel collection, which in actuality are two novellas housed within one reversible bound book. These stories fall right in line with previous Mosley Sci-fi offerings such as Blu ...more
Nancy McKibben
Nov 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who like science fiction or Mosley
Recommended to Nancy by: just found it at the library
Shelves: reviewed
Merge/Disciple: Two Short Novels from Crosstown to Oblivion
By Walter Mosley

I opened this novel expecting a mystery and was amazed to find myself reading about an encounter with an alien. Mosley writes science fiction - who knew! I don’t read so much science fiction any more (my dad belonged to a science fiction book club, and I grew up reading whatever they sent him), but I like Mosley, so I plunged into Merge, about a formerly down and out young man, Rahl, who has won the lottery and quit his m
...more
Ahm
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
Note: This review is for the story Merge only. I did not read Disciple.
I am not a sci-fi reader, but I enjoyed Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley so deeply, that I thought I'd try a completely different genre of his work. It did not work out for me. I approached the story as an allegory, but I was never able to determine the greater significance behind the space invasion. I did find Raleigh to be a compelling protagonist, and his life and relationships OUTSIDE the alien stuff was very rich a
...more
Stewart
May 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Walter Mosley doesn't mess around when it comes to aliens. His aliens are trippy, shapeshifting, impossibly powerful, near-omniscient, and here. On Earth, that is.

Mosley's descriptions of humanity's first encounters with disparate entities can best be described as "Post-9/11 Science Fiction." The "Crosstown to Oblivion" his protagonists live in is a world where the Patriot Act has created a dominating, officious, and ultimately fearful overseer class who shred the Constitution in misguided attem
...more
Pat
Dec 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Walter Mosley is always a keeper. I loved Eazy Rawlins and cannot understand why there was only one Easy Rawlins movie. When Mosley turned to sci fi/fantasy, I was dubious but I love science fi. So even though there is not one character that becomes larger than life and part of my life, like E.R., in good sci fi, there are ideas and concepts to wrestle with that resonate in my life. In Merge, the alien merges with the lonely isolated character who becomes a savior of life along with other specie ...more
KWinks
Apr 16, 2013 rated it liked it
It took me awhile to get through these novellas and I preferred Disciple to Merge. Merge, I found to be really gross. The overall idea here is that humans are bad and aliens are smarter and know more about us than we do. I had a hard time relating to any of the characters, but that is something I have gotten used to. Overall, the writing is pretty good, it just wasn't riveting. I found myself reaching for other things to read instead. Finally, it was due at the library and I just sat down and fi ...more
David
Oct 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Mosley writes two short novels about the impending end of the human race in order to save other alien races. Both stories introduce us to not-too-successful African American New Yorkers who, through chance, meet with envoys of alien races. There is a merging of the alien with the human and new race results. Both books lament the short-sightedness and meanness of humans and decide that the deaths of some is worth the saving of many many more. While both stories are thought-provoking, they go a li ...more
Karla
Jan 27, 2013 rated it liked it
These are 2 of 6 novelles in a group. I've read 3 - so far Disciple is the strongest. All focus on normal, not very successful, people given some kind of gift from elsewhere. The respond with the best of humanity, each of them. Maybe not very plausible, but what happens next really is the story.

In Merge, the characters are changed, then take on the world. The doubt, mind-changing and worry of Disciple I found much easier to relate to. So far, a readable series but it didn't leave me with much t
...more
Akua Colley
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
I picked this book at the library on the shelf marked new arrivals. I only picked it because Walter Mosley was the author. He is one of my absolute favorites! This book did not disappoint. Both stories were good. It was not what I expected, but I loved it. Sci-Fi/Fantasy is not usually my main genre but I was taken in by the writing and the plot. I loved it! I so miss Easy Rawlins (can't wait for the next one to come out), but this was satisfying, refreshing, interesting, exciting. I would have ...more
Adriaan
Nov 06, 2015 rated it liked it
I've only read one other Mosley book, and it was a completely different genre. I was pleasantly surprised to read his take on an apocalypse of sorts. Both stories talk about our destruction of Earth which affects more than we think.
Both protagonists are average men, loners. They're contacted by alien beings to help bring about Earth's demise. The aliens are different, so are their methods. It was very interesting to read a different point of view about alien invasion other than "destroy everythi
...more
Fredrick Danysh
Nov 14, 2015 rated it liked it
In merge an alien lifeform comes to heart seeking the survival of their race. Many are destroyed on contact after deadly results by misunderstood humans. When one shows up in Raleigh Redman's apartment he is more receptive and soon forms a close bond. When the government finds out they are captured and both tortured. In Disciple fourty-two year old Hogwarth Trymanis sought out by aliens because of his skills with predictive statistics. He can predict consequences along different path lines for t ...more
John Benschoter
Jun 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Mosley is doing some interesting things in this sci-fi collection. While none of the stories are related in plot or character, they are all connected in theme. What would you do if you knew a catastrophe was coming for our species? What if it might spell our end? What if you were a witting participant? What if you were black? All of these questions make for interesting reading. Even so, I've read four of Moseley's Crosstown to Oblivion novellas, and while individually each is rather good, the id ...more
Tina Hvitfeldt
Sep 13, 2012 rated it liked it


Merge/Disciple was unlike any Walter Moseley I have read -- totally different than The Last Days of Ptolemy Gray, which I loved. Both novellas feature young black men who are given control of their worlds by outside forces. I got a bit bogged down in Merge, but enjoyed Disciple. At times, the writing reminded me of Murakami's Wind Up Bird Chronicle, perhaps because of the straightforward prose and the fantastic elements.
Ellen
Oct 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Since this book contains two short novels, it's not fair to give it only one rating. I'd give "Merge" 4 stars and "Disciple" 3 stars. I think Walter Mosley is a great writer. I love his new Leonid McGill series. I ordered this from my public library, not knowing that it's science fiction. Science fiction is not one of my favorite genres, but I still enjoyed reading these stories. I think "Merge" is the better of the two; it had more depth than "Disciple."
Mariana
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This most versatile author,Walter Mosley,explores some intriguing questions in these two short novels: how would aliens communicate with us? Why would they bother? Would this communication be for our/their good or ill? Would we welcome them or exterminate them? Could they understand our society? By what standards do they evaluate us?

Perhaps the underlying questions are by what standards do we evaluate our society? And do we celebrate or exterminate people who are different from us?
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Walter Mosley (b. 1952) is the author of the bestselling mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins, as well as numerous other works, from literary fiction and science fiction to a young adult novel and political monographs. His short fiction has been widely published, and his nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and the Nation, among other publications. Mosley is the winner of numero ...more

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