Friday, December 28, 2012

The Bar Code Prophecy by Suzanne Weyn

The final book in the bar code trilogy tells the story of Grace Morrow and her friend Eric Chaca, who is the son of barcode resistance fighter and native spiritualist, Eutonah. Eric is Native American; half Irish and Cherokee and Hopi. Grace knows Eric from the rock climbing center, where she is learning to climb. She works as a part time receptionist at GlobalHelix, the genetics division of the multinational Global-1 corporation. Grace's father, Albert works at GlobalHelix in maintenance.

Grace learns that Eric is part of Decode, a group working to destroy the practice of branding citizens with the bar code. She is warned by Eric not to get bar coded on her seventeenth birthday but Grace ignores his advice and does so anyways. After getting her tattoo she is warned by Dr. Harriman to leave at once and go home. Harriman invented the bar code in 2012 and in thirteen years it has spread all over the world, first in Asia and Africa and then to Europe and America.

When Grace arrives near her home, she sees that Global police have staked out the house waiting for her and possibly her parents. Her capture is prevented by Eric and by Mfumbe Taylor and Katie who have shown up with a tractor-trailer to scoop her away from the Global-1 police. Eventually, Grace meets the most important of the Decode resistors who have been keeping a watchful eye on her. They know that Global-1 wants Grace but they are not sure exactly why. They know that Grace is the daughter of Dr. Jonathan Harriman, designer of the bar code tattoo and that her file in Global-1 is deeply encrypted.

Grace and Eric learn from Eutonah (who is Eric's mother) that the Native Americans have been meeting to discuss the future of the planet. The ecological balance of Earth has been deeply disturbed by the mining efforts of Global-1, particularly on Hopi lands. The Hopi consider their sacred lands to be the center of the universe and as a result, such disturbances are believed to have profound affects on Earth. Grace is told that the Hopi have prophecies which have correctly predicted past events. However, an unknown tenth prophecy has been discovered. This prophecy is incomplete and refers to both Grace, her father and Eric. Grace, along with members of Decode are in a race against time to discover the prophecy and what it means for Earth.

As with the other two books in this trilogy, The Bar Code Prophecy is entirely action driven with little character development. Events are conveniently contrived to further the plot and the discovery of the prophecy seems to have little bearing on the outcome which happens independently of the prophecy anyways.

These short novels are recommended for younger, reluctant readers, aged 9 to 12, who enjoy science fiction, are less likely to question some of the more flimsy coincidences, and an innocent touch of romance. It's really a shame that these novels were written in such a superficial way. The idea of tattooing everyone with a bar code, encoding their genetics and using nanotechnology to track and even control people is an interesting concept that deserves a more in-depth and mature treatment. This is no so unbelievable and the implications are far-reaching.

Book Details:
The Bar Code Prophecy by Suzanne Weyn
New York: Scholastic Press 2012
202 pp.

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