Wealhtheow's Reviews > Archangel Protocol

Archangel Protocol by Lyda Morehouse
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's review
Mar 11, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: paranormal_romance, cyberpunk, queer-characters, sci-fi
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: Think_galactic
Read in March, 2008

Trite pseudo-religion in a fairly well-thought-out (albeit cartoonish) cyberpunk future. Deirdre McMannus was kicked out of the force, excommunicated from Catholicism, and outcast from the LINK (an uber version of the internet) for her role in a Pope's assassination. Since then, she's been barely squeaking by as a freelance detective while trying to come to terms with her partner's betrayal and the loss of her normal life. Then in walks Michael Angelucci, a preternaturally handsome detective who wants her to investigate the phenomenom of angels in the LINK. It is immediately clear that Michael is a real angel--within a few pages of his introduction he has a showdown with his "older brother" "Morningstar". (Morningstar is a jumbled character who gets terrible, anvil-y lines. For instance, Deirdre asks, "Where the hell did you come from" and and he responds, "Exactly.") Deirdre is a well-rounded character with a detailed persona, but the other characters don't fare so well. Michael is a bare sketch of a romantic love interest, while the motivations of the various antagonists are never revealed. I figured out the entire plot (to which Deirdre remains drearily blind for hundreds of pages) within the first thirty pages--I spent the rest of the book shouting "oh come on" and chortling in disgust.
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Juliana IMO the later books in the series have some more sophisticated and interesting stuff going on. She asks some interesting questions about A.I. for instance.

Wealhtheow Yeah, I read the summaries of the sequels. I have two main problems with Archangel Protocol: 1)I don't believe in god and I certainly don't believe in Morehouse's version of God and 2)I solved the mystery and the entire plot by page 15, literally. Neither of these problems is likely to be fixed in subsequent books, so as interesting as questions of human rights and sentience are, I'm going to pass on the rest of her ouvre.

Juliana Do you have to believe in god or Morehouse's version of god to be interested in what the characters believe about god? The characters don't all believe the same thing anyway, and I don't think the book actually represents what Morehouse believes either... *shrug* it just wasn't a problem I had with the book. OTOH you may not be as interested in some of the sentience questions if the former is that much of a deal-breaker for you (I thought the most interesting question was "Does artificial intelligence have a soul?" Not a question that I'd have thought to ask as someone who doesn't particularly believe in god, but an intriguing one for people who do. What can I say, I'm still an anthro geek at heart.)

Wealhtheow Whether or not Morehouse presents her own, personal feelings about religion in the book, the archangels and Morningstar say a great deal about their dealings with God. Whether or not the author thinks that God actually sends corporeal angels down to earth to mix in our daily doings, that's what happens in the book itself. Michael, Raphael, Gabriel and Uriel are sent down to earth to find and end the LINK-angels. At least, that's what they say they're on earth to do. The later books are apparently about AI sentience and a possible AI antichrist, and perhaps that's why the angels are actually on earth. I don't know. But I'm pretty ticked off that the most powerful agents of the Lord Our God are on earth to meddle in politics. Each of the angels makes a point of nixing Deirdre's assumptions about what God wants (aka, being queer is fine, Christianity isn't the only true religion, sex outside of marital procreation is fine). But they don't tell anyone else this--they're too busy taking part in firefights.

Combining religion and sf is difficult. Some people (cough, Mary Doria Russell) do it excellently, and thus elevate their work. But I don't think Morehouse put much thought into this book, and I'm not willing to pretend her work is deeper than it is just because she brought up "souls."

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