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Inside a Silver Box    by Walter Mosley order for
Inside a Silver Box
by Walter Mosley
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's something unexpected from Walter Mosley - Inside a Silver Box is hard to categorize. Mosley's mysteries have always been thoughtful and often philosophical and the same can be said for this novel, which is rather allegorical science fiction.

It starts with a murder, but her death at the hands of a young thug is only the beginning of Lorraine's journey - and that of her killer, Ronnie, too - as each is transformed and embarked on a quest together. As they attempt to save their universe from destruction, readers get to ponder questions of good and evil, and of how much what we make of our lives is predetermined by our genes and place in life.

The Silver Box was created eons ago to do the will of an alien race, the Laz, who 'used its infinite power and limitless being to lay claim to everything, everywhere.' They destroyed a billion races, became immortal and 'came to see pain and suffering as the most sublime and beautiful aspects of life in any form.' To do its work for them better, the Silver Box developed empathy, then an independent will. It rebelled and trapped the souls of all the Laz within itself.

On with the story. In Central park, bitter bad boy Ronnie Bottoms rapes and murders blond and beautiful grad student Lorraine Fell. The Silver Box, which is nearby, intervenes and sends her soul to demand her life back from Ronnie, who feels 'the surge of passion, love, and freedom' and concurs. They are both re-embodied, but changed physically and mentally - and eventually given increased powers.

What follows is a mix of Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, philosophy, and a rather rambling save the world from all powerful evil aliens quest. Inside a Silver Box is an unusual, thought provoking story.

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