The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Todos Santos is an arcology (a word invented to describe the city concept embodied in Paolo Soleri’s Arcosanti, built in Arizona) constructed in a burned-out area of Los Angeles’ city slums and bought by financiers in Switzerland. A monolith covering four square miles, more than 1,000 feet high, and housing nearly a quarter of a million people, the technocracy provides everything for its citizens. It is designed as a cooperative in which the residents buy shares in the corporation. Citizens of Todos Santos can meet all their needs within the city limits of the arcology, never visiting the city of Los Angeles that surrounds it.

A “social contract” has developed among the citizens of Todos Santos: They have agreed to accept the potential for constant surveillance by their security force in return for a pervasive feeling of safety. This feeling of safety so affects the citizens of Todos Santos that behavioral differences allow the citizens of Los Angeles and the citizens of Todos Santos to tell each other apart. This is an important sociopolitical concept underlying the entire story.

Todos Santos functions as a feudal family structure through the hard work of the corporate managers. The feudal aristocracy includes the top executives: Arthur Bonner, the general manager; Barbara Churchward, the director of economic development; Preston Sanders, the deputy general manager; and Tony Rand, the chief designer of Todos Santos and its security...

(The entire section is 572 words.)