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The Annunciate Mass Market Paperback – December 4, 2001
Severna Park, author of the related SF novels Speaking Dreams and Hand of Prophecy, turns to a new universe in The Annunciate. ThreeSys is a three-star system, and each star has 11 human-settled worlds. The humans are separated not only by vast distances but also by technology, divided into Jackless, Jacked, and Meshed. The Jackless have no access to the virtual reality of the Jacked. And neither caste has access to the nanotech-sculpted dimension that the Meshed can enter to control and manipulate them.
When Jackless and Jacked rise against their overlords, three Meshed survive and struggle to retain their mastery with Staze, a potent, immediately addictive drug that traps users in an overwhelming dream. But the dream may be the entrance to another world--one inhabited by a mysterious and powerful being that wishes to enter our universe. Is it the Unknown Child, the long-prophesied savior of ThreeSys? Or is it an alien predator that will destroy humanity?
The Annunciate is an interesting, ambitious consideration of love and need, power and responsibility, and the complexities of human bonds. --Cynthia Ward --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Park ambitiously transposes her characteristic topicsApower, drug use, lesbian relationships and racial hatredAinto a sinister, far-future universe in her third novel (after Hand of Prophecy). Some 3000 years after humanity has settled the multiplaneted triple-star system ThreeSys, a vicious caste war has broken out among its inhabitants. The Jackless, who cannot plug into ThreeSys's vast information resources, and the Jacked, who have surgically implanted limited access, are both trying to exterminate the elite Meshed, who can access all knowledge, enter a virtual dimension and alter the others' reality. Annmarie, her conniving male lover Corey and the novel's 21-year-old protagonist, Eve, are Mesheds who make and sell Staze, an addictive drug that immobilizes its users. After Eve falls in love with Naverdi, a Jacked Staze smuggler and addict, all four travel to ThreeSys's first settlement, the now ruined Paradise, where they encounter a seductive, female alien who can meld VR, dreams and reality, and thus eliminate the distinctions that fuel ThreeSys's war. The succubus arranges to be birthed by Naverdi as a new AnnunciateAthe first settler of an entirely new kind of realityAbut whether this development will save or destroy humanity, no one knows. Park's dizzying plot occasionally founders because the nanotechnology on which the story's progress depends is fuzzily drawn. None of her characters achieve much life as they constantly shift between the virtual and "real" universes. Moreover, her treatment of the romance between Naverdi and Eve, which is integral to her theme of growing up enduring prejudice, suffers from a strident tone unrelieved by the saving grace of humor. Parks's ideas seem crowded here: they stifle one another, while distorting her undeniable literary fecundity. (Nov.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
The Meshed is the most powerful and envied of the triad. However, many of the Meshed selfishly and malevolently flaunt their powers by using them for personal gain regardless of the cost to others. The other groups use computer viruses to hunt down the Meshed. Three of the more evil Meshed (Eve, Corey, and AnnMarie) flee to the ThreeSys where they begin to peddle an elixir to end aggressive actions. They actually sell the addictive drug Staze that leaves the user inside an euphoric dream state. The trio finally heads to the planet Paradise where THE ANNUNCIATE and the original Mesh live. Awaiting their arrival is an essence that does not require mechanical means to break down the barrier between reality and virtual reality.
THE ANNUNCIATE is a dark look at the future of humanity and in the fertile mind of Severna Park it appears very bleak. The story line is fast-paced yet thought provoking. The main characters are unappealing including Eve even after she breaks away from Corey and Annmarie. However, that characterization is essential to the overall theme of galaxy growing gloomier wherever mankind is. Not for everyone, Ms. Park is one of the new talents that have energized the SF genre with this novel and the HAND OF PROPHECY.
The story was not compelling, the heroine seems (in a nutshell) to go out and get into trouble and then watch what happens. The supporting characters were ill-defined and generally unlikeable. The alien was kind of neat but really a stretch on the suspension-of-disbelief. Everyone and everthing else was just paint on the background. The story had a couple of mildly tense moments, but I cared so little about the characters that even those moments were largely uninteresting.
It's readable but if I didn't own it, I wouldn't go out and buy it.
I would recommend reading Suzy McKee Charnas "Walk to the End of the World" instead of this one.
It wavers on the edge of DUNE or perhaps THE MATRIX. The constant idea that the world we live in is barely separated from the world we could live in if only we knew how to tap into that world. The ideas of control, of classes in society and what happens when the barriers between classes disintegrate, the two sides of drug addiction from the perspectives of the users and the suppliers... Creationism ideas too that borrow from Adam/Eve yet take their own peculiar twist. Give it a go.