A thousand years into the future - the world a husk because so much water has been exchanged for omnium from the Other World - an artificial woman loses her fortune and is thrown out of reality. She has no memory - ruined by her long stay in reality - yet she feels compelled to cross the desolate land to the high towers in the north. She is the Midwife; her task the salvation of a dying humanity. More
It is about a thousand years into the future. The world is a dried out husk, most of the water having been exchanged for omnium from the Other World. The human race is dying out because most women can no longer bear children and the alternatives don't work. Artificials are self-obsessed and clones die of loneliness. The few natural offspring that there are – called natals – rule the world as a time-serving bureaucratic clique. The rest of the human race subsists on what is known as Machine Maintenance, a superlatively efficient welfare system that oversees life from incubation bottle to render plant. Into this hell on earth awakens the artificial woman who will be known to some as Sophie. She has just lost her fortune in the latest Bubble and so finds herself turfed out of reality into the tender metal care of the Machine. Her memory has been destroyed by her overlong sojourns in reality, and her only consolation perhaps are the strange dreams she has when she manages to sleep. Even so, she is filled with an overwhelming desire to journey across the desolated land towards the high towers on the northern horizon. She doesn't know why she wants to go there, but she goes in any case – if only because she cannot do otherwise.
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