Benita Alvarez Shipton is an everyday woman living in New Mexico. She has an alcoholic, abusive husband who depends on her for food and money. She has two adult children in college in California. She has a job at a small bookstore that she loves. She is self educated. She is not a person with power or influence. So why did the alien Pistach beings come to her to be their intermediary with the American government, and Earth?
They give her a message to deliver to someone in authority and the money to carry out their injunction. Before they leave, they also wish for her a welcome reversal. Then they leave in their spaceship. So her new adventure and life begin. The woman who has given in to her husband and the local authority all these years finally says goodby to it all. She travels to Washington D.C. to deliver the message entrusted to her.
Benita Alvarez in thrust into a new role as the Intermediary. The Pistach rarely meet with humans except her. Their touch is felt across the Earth. Cities are affected; strange plagues occur. No one is killed, merely inconvenienced. The wrongs of the world start being addressed in odd ways.
Unfortunately, the Pistach are not the only aliens to discover and visit Earth. There are also predatory beings who come at the same time. These beings have a different agenda. They see the planet as a hunting ground. Benita is swept up in politics, both human and interstellar. She discovers she is more than a representative for Earth, but also for beings beyond her imagination. Can she fulfill the tasks required?
This book is magnetic. Benita's transformation from the downtrodden wife to the capable, knowledgeable woman is fascinating. She does not realize it is happening. Her growth as a person is an integral part of the story.
This book is also a commentary of much that is wrong in the world. Tepper uses this novel to preach against the male dominated establishment, the ruination of the environment, the handling of the war on drugs, alcoholism, abuse, religious persecution and many other ills. Through the Pistach, she devises some creative methods to deal with the problems so that humans can still maintain their individuality and follow their beliefs, yet not harm others. At times I found the book preachy. Other times I was laughing out loud at some of the solutions.
I was caught in quickly by the description of Benita's first encounter:
"Thinking it over later, she blamed the TV and movies for her immediate reaction...So, when the aliens walked out of the trees across the rutted road and asked her what her personal label was, her first thought was that she'd stepped into the middle of TV movie set. She looked around for cameras. Then she thought, no, she'd seen ET arrivals done better, far more believably, and certainly with better actors playing the abductee than herself, so it was a joke..."
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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