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The WaveReview - The Wave
A Novel
by Walter Mosley
Highbridge Audio, 2006
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D.
Mar 28th 2006 (Volume 10, Issue 13)

Walter Mosley is best known for his detective novels based in 1960s Los Angeles featuring African American sleuth Easy Rawlins. But he also publishes different sorts of books, including science fiction. The Wave is firmly in the genre of visionary science fiction. It is not based in the future, but starts out in the early 2000s, chronicling the bizarre events happening to Errol Porter. Porter is down on his luck, separated from his wife, and living in a garage, without a job. His father died several years previously, and his mother and sister both still live in Los Angeles. A young man who he comes to name GT contacts him. The remarkable man looks exactly like his father in his youth, and has all of his father's memories and verbal quirks and characteristics. Porter won't believe that his father has risen from the dead, at least until GT reveals some facts that only Porter's father could have known, and would have never told another living soul.

That is only the beginning of the story, however, and soon GT's remarkable behavior is comparatively mundane compared to the story of the Wave that develops. About a third of the way into the novel, the plot takes off as extraterrestrial life and government conspiracies make their appearance. Characters come and go quickly, and Porter's life changes radically. By the end, we have encountered amazing cosmological events and terrible battles.

The Wave is a fairly short book, and Mosley does little to prepare the reader for the transitions in the plot. It is set in the context of the US war against terrorism, and raises questions about the morality of government. Yet much of the other symbolism of the book is far more far ranging, bringing in mysticism and the paranormal. So when GT tells Porter "Me sitting here in front of you is the most important event in the history of the world," it is hard to be impressed, because the story doesn't hang together coherently. As it becomes more and more preposterous, it is easy to lose patience, because the symbolism lacks any significance. The story seems to want to point the reader to a transcendent vision, but it only manages to gesture at something odd. The book seems to believe in its own profundity, but there's nothing there.

The unabridged audiobook is performed by Tim Cain, who has a deep resonant voice and does a good job of separating out the different members of Porter's family. However, when it comes to the rest of the fairly large cast of characters, Cain's talents are exhausted, and the different voices become confused.

So this is a disappointing novel by Mosley that tries the patience of the reader. Nevertheless, there are parts that will intrigue the reader, and it is certainly an unusual book that attempts to go beyond the limits of most science fiction or other genres, and fans of Mosley's work may want to take a look at it anyway.

 

 

Link: Highbridge Audio

 

2006 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Review.  His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.


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