Picks and Pans Review: Blue Light
Sci-fi battles of good vs. evil, light vs. dark or life vs. death are common enough. But how many of them are created by writers better known for their detective stories? Here, crime-fiction master Walter Mosley (Devil in a Blue Dress) vaults that genre barrier with an engaging tale that opens with a shower of intelligent light.
In 1965 strange streaks of brilliant blue cut across the California night. Those who see the lights—a motley bunch of humans and animals—become the Blues, godlike telepaths, evolved beyond human consciousness and social limitations.
But before they can put their new selves to humanity's benefit, the Blues must defeat an evil force that is Death itself. Told by a biracial, failed Ancient Studies scholar simply named Chance, Light turns a large cast, fantastic elements (singing red-wood trees, altered DNA), biblical allusions and talk of the Greek historian Thucydides into an abstract novel about community and identity based as much on myth as science.
An allegory about humanity's ideals and shortcomings, Light does not reveal a truly different world, just a darker, though perhaps more poetic version of the one we've got. (Little, Brown, $24)
Bottom Line: Literate tale fails to shine