In the Cryogenic Laboratory of the Masdon Science Center (London unit), a team led by cryobiologist Emma Porlock is on the verge of reviving the memories from a deep-frozen human head: Daniel Feeld's head, preserved in liquid nitrogen since his death in 1994. The team's moral dilemma has to do with whether they have merely tapped into stored memories, or actually reawakened Feeld's person - his volition. They conclude, wrongly, that they have only recovered memories.
Halfway around the world in Los Angeles, aged corporate chief Martina Matilda Masdon is discussing a profit-increasing strategy for the recreational-drugs division of her empire with virtual-reality media tycoon David Siltz, who himself has just realized the entertainment potential of real memories recovered from a brain dating back to near-antiquity.
In this mid-24th century world, nothing is safe, everything is polluted (literally and figuratively), and the universal commodification begun 400 years earlier has reached its ultimate result. As a consequence, daily experience is entirely artificial, controlled by moguls like Siltz, using continuous-audience-monitoring devices to shape the entertainment as it is being delivered. The problem is, everyone is all too aware of this artificiality, and there is a widespread yearning for a long-lost time of genuine experiences. In fact, the single greatest threat to corporate order (governments having disappeared some two centuries ago) is a growing guerrilla terrorist organization using the unlikely graffiti slogan "RON": Reality Or Nothing.moreless