Blue Light

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bluelight.gif

William Mosley

GENRES:
Sci-Fi, Spiritual, Mystery

SUMMARY:
In the 1960s mysterious shafts of blue light beam into earth, striking many plants and animals. Most beings touched by this light die after a pure epiphany of truth. Some, however-- namely a handful of men and women, a dog, a pack of wolves, and a redwood-- survive the blue light and become spiritually transformed.

A fried hippie becomes the prophet for this group of Blues, drawing them together and founding a congregation based around their complete understanding of the meaning and purpose of life. A swinging housewife becomes a love goddess to a vast group of men. A young Hispanic boy and his sister grow up to be pivotal Blues as the guider and the dreamer. A baby of the prophet possesses remarkable intelligence and ignores time as she ages of her own accord. A crazy recluse becomes one of the most powerful Blues, harbouring and teaching the group after their prophet is killed by Gray Man, an evil incarnation of a dying ex-con who is struck by the blue light.

Circling this core group of direct recipients of the mysterious blue light are those like Chance, a suicidal historian who indirectly incorporated some of the powers of the blue light. Through him, the story of the Blues unfolds over time as they initially group together and then disband when their prophet is killed. The main group with Chance finds solace in the forests of northern California where they meet Juan Thrombone, a powerful and eccentric Blue hermit guarding several Blue redwood trees.

The group stays with Juan over years as they grow and learn, hiding and preparing for Gray Man who would see all Blues exterminated. Blue Light ends with the Blues scattered again and Chance writing their history in a mental institution.

RESPONSE:
I adored the first half of this book. The mystery of the blue light was appealing and made for a good sci-fi premise. What was the blue light? Where did it come from? What is its purpose? Unfortunately none of this is even touched on except for in random speculation by the characters. The best answer that I could come up with was that the light was the essence of life.

This ambiguity worked well in the first half of the novel when the reader was assimilating the numerous characters and events. However, towards the end of the novel things got more static and very fantastic. It was as though, upon entering Thrombone's forest glade, the novel moved from scifi to pure fantasy. Although I'm a big fan of genre overlapping, I don't think it works well when two parts of the same book could fall into distinctly different genres.

Towards the second half of the novel, the New Age crystal mentality seemed to kick in. Chance and the other secondary Blue-touched characters seemed to become acolytes to pagan gods, the Blues. The Blues themselves did not seem to have a purpose other than surviving Gray Man and showing off their superhuman powers. All attempts at answers were abandoned, and although an air of mystery can add depth to any novel, Blue Light drowns in mystery towards the end.

I sincerely hope that Mosley is intending sequels or else this was one of the most unsatisfying and inconclusive endings I have some across in awhile. The end gives no answer as to what happened in the battle with Gray Man and what the possible remaining Blues are doing. But... it's been more than a few years now, and Mosley seems to show no signs of visiting this transcendent plotline.

One of the most redeeming features of this novel is that it does promote thoughts about the purpose of life and the potential existence of some higher power.

POINT BLANK:
Interesting, but a bit too reverent and mysterious for my taste. Numerous and interesting characters can overshadow overbearing mysticism. I think the sequel should be take place in seedy porn districts and be called Red Light. That might balance this out.