Set in the near future, Nancy Kress's story gives us a world increasingly hostile to new ideas as religious fundamentalism dictates social agenda and where the primary use of science is to bolster these very same uncompromising attitudes.
This is a world we can imagine very easily since the author takes us down the sliding slope very gently. Years pass, and attitudes change a little bit here and a little bit there until the cumulative impact of these cultural changes becomes a thought-controlling nightmare.
Annabel Lee is a child of this society, but unique. She has been infected by a long-dormant alien parasite. But this "infection" may be the only hope for the world, if she can survive long enough.
Therese Pieczynski's companion piece predates the world Nancy Kress gives us and takes us to back to 1980s Nicaragua, where a strange demon lurks.