Nancy McKibben's Reviews > Merge and Disciple: Two Short Novels from Crosstown to Oblivion

Merge and Disciple by Walter Mosley
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bookshelves: reviewed
Recommended to Nancy by: just found it at the library
Recommended for: those who like science fiction or Mosley

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 minimum wage job to spend his days reading the Popular Educator Library. When aliens land on Earth, only Rahl seems to have the right vibes to connect (quite literally) with one of them, and the merge of the title refers to the desire of the soon-to-be-homeless aliens to merge with mankind and live on Earth.

Disciple, the other novella, follows the journey of a 42-year-old data entry clerk, fat and unloved, who has given up on life until he is unexpectedly contacted on his computer screen by an alien of enormous power and intellect and called upon to become either the Earth’s savior or its destroyer - or perhaps a bit of both.

I enjoyed both novellas. Like most - perhaps all - science fiction, the story is a vehicle for pondering cosmic questions like sentience and love and the place of man in the universe. Mosley’s protagonists are flawed, unassuming antiheroes whose greatness - if that’s what it is - is thrust upon them rather than sought after. The reader may wince at scenes that graphically depict man’s racism and inhumanity, but Mosley also imagines other, higher planes of existence than ours, giving us an intriguing tour through alien minds and worlds.

Mosley has written four other novellas for his Crosstown to Oblivion series. I plan to seek them out.


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Reading Progress

November 29, 2012 – Started Reading
November 29, 2012 – Shelved
November 29, 2012 – Finished Reading
January 4, 2013 – Shelved as: reviewed

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