The year is 2134, and the living is easy. The Information Age has given rise to the Boutique Economy, in which mass production and mass consumption are rendered obsolete. Almost everything one needs - clothing, food, furniture, medicine, electronics, etc. - can be easily fabricated in the home with nanotech assemblers. Life-extension therapies have increased the human life span by centuries. Loyal mentars (artificial intelligence) and robots do most of society's work. What they can't manage is performed by a contented labor force of human clones.If this sounds like paradise, it is - but only as long as you make your payments. And that's the problem. The Boutique Economy has made redundant 99 percent of the world's fifteen billion human inhabitants. The world would be a much better place if they all simply went away. And conditions on Earth are about to get a lot worse.Without much in the way of public debate, greater Chicagoland announces the deactivation of its canopy. Its canopy is a region-wide filtering dome structure that protects the city from airborne and waterborne viruses, toxins, and nanobots (a legacy of the terror wars of the mid-twenty-first century).By 9:00 A.M. on the date Chicagoland plans to "break out of its shell" - its region-wide canopy will be deactivated during a ceremony with fireworks - the day has swerved off its tracks. Eleanor K. Starke, one of the world's leading citizens, is assassinated, and her daughter, Ellen, is mortally wounded. Her cryonically frozen head is in the hands of her family's enemies.A ragtag ensemble of unlikely heroes joins forces to rescue Ellen's head, all for their own purposes. They include family retainers and friends and their artificial intelligence mentars and cloned human helpers, as well as destitute chartists, assorted robots, and a defrocked bishop of a radical Gaiaist movement.
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- Hardback | 336 pages
- 162.6 x 236.2 x 38.1mm | 589.68g
- 01 Nov 2005
- Tor Books
- United States