Two decades after a nuclear war, small enclaves survive the destruction of the ozone layer, somewhat protected by walls of air established by the alien floating globes that the radiation-contaminated humans call angelbees. Isabel Garcia-Chase comes of age in Gwynwood in what was formerly Pennsylvania, rebelling against the angelbees, who communicate with humans only through a now-dying Contact and forbid the use of much technology, including radios. The enclaves, the largest of which is in Australia, keep in touch with each other through the angelbee-operated Pylons which provide instantaneous transmission. While Isabel and others believe the angelbees either caused the devastation or at least exacerbated it, the Quakers who mostly populate Gwynwood see them as saviors. After an act of rebellion, Isabel and her new husband, Daniel Scattergood, are taken into the Pylon and they begin to learn more about the aliens. Slonczewski ( Still Forms on Foxfield ) writes a thoughtful and unusual after-the-holocaust novel, strongly infused with the Quaker outlook. Its slow but careful pace rewards the reader with such beautifully developed characters as Peace Hope Scattergood, born without hands and a talented painter, and a hopeful view of humanity and its future.