It's hundreds of years in the future and the world is perfect. Total fulfillment and happiness are the official goals of the Compassionate Society, and any citizens who find themselves less than delighted are guilty of a PainCrime.
Cartoonist Courtney Hall is trying to find her true place in a society whose computers and projections have asisgned a happy life to everyone. Yet when one of her political cartoons runs afoul of the Ministry of Pain, Courtney finds herself a fugitive from justice – and a target of the omniscient Love Police.
Her only escape is to drop through a manhole into a strange underground of discontent, a labyrinth of nests and tunnels beneath the surging metropolis. Now in a counterworld of orgasm junkies and biochip-implanted raccoons, a solitary rebel dreams of finding the edge.
Ian McDonald (born 1960) is a British science fiction novelist, living in Belfast. His themes include nanotechnology, postcyberpunk settings, and the impact of rapid social and technological change on non-Western societies.
Photo: Ian McDonald at Worldcon 2005 in Glasgow, 2005. Picture taken by Szymon Sokół. Source: Wikimedia Commons.