In a future world of rampant inequality, a martial-arts video star finds himself in a real fight for survival, in this novel by the author of Schismatrix.
Founded centuries ago by the enigmatic genius Moses Moses, the planet Reverie can either be heaven or hell, depending on whether you live on or above it. The superrich orbit the world in luxury abodes, keeping their sometimes-lethal ennui at bay by watching homemade sex and violence videos created by the peons dwelling on the coral continents miles beneath them. The most popular entertainer of all is the Artificial Kid, an unbeatable combat artist whose bloody, self-produced martial arts videos have made him beloved both above and below. But the Kid is about to stumble onto something no one was ever meant to discover—a mind-boggling conspiracy of science and antiquity that forces him to run for his life into the strange and dangerous wilderness known as the Mass. And when Moses Moses returns to Reverie after seven hundred years of cryogenic sleep, things are about to get much worse.
Written long before the era of YouTube, Ultimate Fighting, and reality TV, Bruce Sterling’s prescient, thoughtful, and wildly satiric novel previews the nascent cyberpunk sensibilities of the acclaimed author’s later works.