The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

On the morning of November 1, one year early in the twenty-first century, master drug designer Santiago Columbar sends an invitation to four old friends to meet him that night at the Terminal Cafe in Necroville. Nanotechnology has made it possible for humans to escape death: They can be reborn into techtoplastic bodies, and the process can be repeated whenever necessary, perhaps forever. The resurrected dead, however, are not legally human. As a permanent underclass, they are exploited and are confined at night to deadtowns such as Necroville.

On this night, however, the dead are allowed to have a carnival, and “meat humans” (those in flesh bodies) can frolic with them. Santiago, who believes that he has experienced all that flesh permits, summons his friends for a visit before he goes off on a jaunt with the dead. Before some of them eventually come together on the morning after the deads’ carnival, however, each has an adventure somewhere between life and death.

Trinidad is a dilettante looking for something to believe in, her spirit emptied by the adrenaline-freak lover who deserted her by taking one chance too many. She helps a stranger destroy a cult leader who is physically stranded between life and death and who tempts others to gamble on becoming immortal without dying.

Tousaint is the alienated son of Adam Tesler, head of the corporation that controls the resurrection process. He left his home and became a surgically...

(The entire section is 525 words.)