The Fresco Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Fresco

Benita Alvarez was just an ordinary woman, working in a bookstore, until one day she meets some aliens in the woods. Suddenly she is thrust into the limelight as the "Intermediary" between the Pistach aliens and the White House.
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The Pistach base all their culture on a painted Fresco, which due to numerous pilgrims lighting candles in front of it as a sign of respect, it is covered with soot and can no longer be seen clearly. But one day, things become clear, and the Fresco is not at all what the Pistach had been led to believe.

They are a peaceful race and wish to help humans achieve "neighbourliness" so that they can join the federation that the Pistach are a part off. But the Pistach aren't the only aliens to have noticed earth, and not all of them are friendly...
The review of this Book prepared by Annette Gisby

Classic superior alien civilization contact with earth plot, but with a delightful new twist. Both "good" and "bad" aliens are involved. The good aliens contact an ordinary citizen, an Hispanic woman who works in a bookstore, has an alcoholic and abusive husband, 2 college age children, and designate her to be their sole contact with the human race. Good aliens want to help earth become more "neighborly" to allow them to join confederation of races. Bad aliens want to get an agreement allowing them to "prey" on humans, quite literally hunt and eat them. Right-wing politicians and CIA-types plot against the protagonists and good aliens, even allying with the bad aliens.

The main character, the alien's selected representative, presented in a very compelling sympathetic manner. You identify with her and her problems, and are incensed by her husband and son's attitudes and behavior from the beginning.

The book has a definite liberal political overtone, with severe digs against such current events as the anti-women government in Afghanistan, the violence in Israel and Palestine, Jerusalem especially, and against "pro-life" elements in this country. For example, a number of leading pro-life males in the US (such as TV evangelists, a US senator, etc.) are impregnated with alien children, and told that their anti-abortion stance will naturally prevent them from harming the alien eggs. These men will be required to gestate the aliens for 13 months, during which time they will have to behave in a manner similar to pregnant women, taking leaves of absence, taking care of their diets, etc.
The review of this Book prepared by Will Stuivenga

    At thirty-six years old, Benita Alvarez-Shipton finds herself trapped in an abusive relationship with her drunk of a spouse. In spite of her hard work ethic, Benita seems reasonably low on the human food chain. Yet for some unknown reason beyond earthly understanding, the intergalactic traveling Pistach ambassadors Chiddy and Vess choose Benita as their emissary.

    Chiddy and Vess give the earthwoman a cube containing a message of peace, an opportunity to join the galactic federation, and finally the ability to end crime, poverty, famine, and slavery. The male oligopoly running our country scorns the cube and its female holder. In spite of their contempt, the cube finally weaves its way through the bureaucracy to reach the president. He names Benita as his point of contact with the aliens. However, just as the Pistach have discovered the needle in the haystack affectionately called Earth, other races much more hostile see the planet as a large hunting reserve.

    THE FRESCO is a different type of science fiction novel that succeeds as a wonderful tale in support of women's rights. The story line satirically skews obstinate men in a very amusing way while highlighting the dreams of women seeking peace, freedom, and prosperity for all. The weird Python-like humor ironically offers intriguing twists to headline news is not for everyone (ask Jerry Falwell who makes a cameo appearance). Though clearly Sheri S. Tepper'snovel targets a select group of women, men will enjoy this wild morality ride or face the Pistach impregnating them via a wasp.

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of The Fresco

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Plot & Themes

FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Inner Struggle    -   Yes Plotlet:    -   search for identity/new understanding War or Invasion    -   Yes Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Cultural problems, alien culture    -   Yes Culture clash-    -   one culture tries to impose its culture on another group

Main Character

Identity:    -   Female Profession/status:    -   homemaker Age:    -   20's-30's


Earth setting:    -   20th century    -   near future (later in 21st century) A substantial portion of this book takes place on a non-Earth planetary body:    -   inhabited by friendly aliens Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes Planet outside solar system?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Sex in book?    -   Yes How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Sheri S. Tepper Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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