"In Preparation for Necessary Mutations" - Walter Mosley’s Approach to Science Fiction

The-Gift-of-Fire_MosleyOne of the pleasures of attending Book Expo America in New York City early in June was meeting Walter Mosley, best known for the Easy Rawlins mysteries. He’s also a science fiction writer whose book The Gift of Fire/On the Head of a Pin is comprised of two novellas. “The Gift of Fire” takes as its inspiration the ancient myth of Prometheus, but is set in present-day South Central Los Angeles. In “On the Head of a Pin,” researchers find something hiding in high-tech animatronic film footage that leads them beyond reality. The book is the first of three sets of unique doubles by the O. Henry Award winner, part of his “Crosstown to Oblivion” series.

Mosley participated on the SF in the Mainstream panel at BEA, along with me, my wife Ann VanderMeer (The Weird), and John Scalzi (Redshirts). A relaxed and free-wheeling conversation in the green room beforehand included Mosley’s ruminations on airlifted crocodiles in Australia, among other topics.

As for the panel, at 30 minutes it was too short. I felt we were just getting into the meat of the topics when we had to stop. Early on Mosley called science fiction “the kind of writing that prepares us for the necessary mutations brought about in society from an ever changing technological world,” and as a result “The mainstream hasn’t excluded SF; the mainstream has excluded itself. No one told Jules Verne he was a science fiction writer, but he invented the 20th century.”

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