Book Review: Walter Mosley’s Futureland

Posted July 7, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Walter Mosley’s Futureland



Walter Mosley

horror, science fiction, short stories that was published by Grand Central Publishing on June 4, 2013 and has 400 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Nine short stories of horrifying science fiction, of a future that simply continues the problems of today with more advanced science. Each story provides a different look at this future society, and it isn’t nice. It isn’t a world in which I want to live, where your birth or lack of employment condemns you to a life of nothing. Where the system is sucking out man’s ingenuity and spirit for the sake of production and profit.

I received an advance copy from NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for the purpose of an honest review.

The stories tie loosely together with a few common characters that crop up here and there. There’s Akwande and his idealism and Tristan the First, Dominar of the Blue Zone, and his shared lack of compassion or humanity with Kismet. Folio Johnson is a far-seeing man — no pun intended — who has a sense of justice. Fera Jones, Pell, and Professor Jones have their ups and downs. And D’or of the China Diner who is one of the last remnants of our past is a common thread.

This ARC was sent to me by NetGalley and Open Road Media for an honest review.

The Stories

Whispers in the Dark” will make you cry as Chilly Bent does his best to take care of his dying mother and brilliant young nephew. It’s a future where the government takes your child if he or she tests smart. It’s a future where interfering old biddies still think they know better than you. And it’s an ending that makes me want to know more. Lots more.

The Greatest” finds Fera Jones, a woman boxer, up against Jellyroll Gregory, and she’s doing well. Beating men in KO fights. But she can’t lose one lest her father lose access to the Pulse. It’s a story of feminine rights, of standing up for yourself, of turning it around on the rich.

The flip and uncaring “Doctor Kismet” has his own island kingdom, Home, and owns most of the world, both business-wise and in religion. A benevolent tyrant as long as he wins, it’s a contest of good versus evil, of idealism versus reality with a reference to Popo from “Whispers in the Dark”. It’s a dream Akwande has of relieving death and suffering in Africa. One he struggles to achieve only to realize that truth, that reality.

Angel’s Island” is a futuristic prison that sounds like a nightmare. One that only gets worse. I gotta say that I’m in favor of capital punishment, but I am not in favor of lying. Nor am I in favor of what is done in this prison. The whys of it. It’s just nasty. And I gotta wonder about the justice of such a system. Their ideas of poor behavior.

The Electric Eye” is both terrifying and exciting. I love the idea of Folio Johnson’s eye, although how he got it is not my idea of a good time. And that’s not the terrifying part. That comes at the end when Folio learns the horrid truth behind those assassinations.

Voices” finds us dipping back into Fera Jones’ life, as we meet back up with her Pulse-addicted father, Professor Leon Jones, and the treatment he’s undergoing to save his life.

“I think we’re all the same color, just more of some colors and not so many of others.”

It’s another terrifying story of future possibilities. One that entices you in, gives you hope that future medical care truly can save you. And then it makes you want to run in fear, hoping, hoping to be saved from something more invasive, more threatening. I couldn’t actually tell what happened at the end, as Mosley leaves it rather vague.

Little Brother” explores the future’s judicial system, and it hasn’t changed from being a system that caters to the rich. What has changed is its automatic “capability” and a deeper lesson in why allowing man to set up a judicial system is a bad idea. It’s another ending in which Mosley leaves us wondering.

En Masse” is a nightmare 1984 as it looks at the mechanics and requirements of employment in the future. Anything can be an infraction and anything can get you fired. Being fired sends you down to Common Ground and the horrifying possibility of never working again.

Oh, lol, “En Masse” takes “in the cloud” to a whole new meaning. A system that wants to return man to being an innovative, thinking person with spirit. It’s another depressing ending as we don’t know the results of one half of the mission, and Neil…well, Neil isn’t in much shape for anything.

The Nig in Me” is all that’s keeping Harold alive. It is gawd-awful depressing, but made me laugh about those “Caucasians” who discovered something about their genetic heritage. Yep, it’s a brave new world after the virus from “En Masse” got changed around. Only, it’s not brave or new. It’s the same ol’, same ol’.

The Cover and Title

A slim band of red frames in the cover at top and bottom in the yellow-green lights of the towering highrises against a misty gray night. The author’s name and the title are in white using a digital font, a reflection of this Futureland of fear.