what was she wearing,
clinging like a scared marquee
to her acreage?
I love Sheri S Tepper. I have just read her novel, ‘The Fresco’ which is as good an example of my view of Rationalism as I could have hoped for.
It’s ostensibly a science-fiction novel in which an alien race, the Pistach, offer Humanity the chance to join a Confederation of alien races, but in order to qualify we must conform to a certain standard of behaviour.
Benita Shipton, an abused wife and mother of two, is chosen by the Pistach to take the role of intermediary in the negotiations between Earth and the rest of the galaxy.
Meanwhile, another race, this one being warlike and predatory with a taste for human flesh, is seeking to gazump the Pistach and open up Earth as a hunting ground for the more carnivorous races of the galaxy.
The science is immaterial, since Tepper uses the story to give us a view of Humanity through an alien’s eyes and casts a cruelly objective look at our global childish behaviour.
The aliens, asked by the President of the USA to show what powers they have to solve the problems of the world, immediately set about doing so. Their first act is against Afghanistan, where the women, more or less imprisoned and covered up by the Taliban lest they fill their men with demon desire, are all turned ugly, with bald heads and crone faces. Now that they can no longer engender lust, the aliens say, they can walk freely in the streets.
Likewise, the aliens completely remove Jerusalem and tell the Earth that it will be returned when humanity has grown up and learned to live with itself.
In a plot element which is not worth going into in detail, several men are impregnated with an alien larvae by a race which has evolved from insects who lay their eggs in living creatures. The men are promised that after 13 months the larvae will begin to eat their way out and that, although the process will be painful, the hosts will come to no harm.
The aliens have chosen the men because they have all taken a religious position on abortion and are committed to a pro-life agenda. Thus, these men are compelled to not only go through the experience of pregnancy but to also suffer an experience equivalent to that of childbirth.
I recommend this novel to all religious (and non-religious) people. It’s a breath of fresh air which cuts through the nonsensical dogma of politics and theology and simply espouses common sense.
How I wish the aliens really would arrive.