This is the story of Rick. He’s a scurrilous, irascible scoundrel, with a heart of gold. Not in the sense of being warm and fuzzy and good underneath, but in the sense of having a heart totally devoted to gold. His favorite goldmine is his shop, an entertainment venue where he vends virtual reality and manufactured novels to his latter-day escapist customers. He runs a tidy shop, he keeps his customers happy, and he always knows the right party to hit to find a pliable college girl with more cocaine than sense. Life is good. But life has a way of doing unexpected things, and the world has a way of changing around the most adaptable people.
So, please step into Rick’s parlor. Don’t mind the bell on the door or the old fashioned cash register. Buy a manufactured novel, fresh from the computer, a first edition. Sit in the easy chair or lay out on the sofa. Strap on a helmet and a skinsuit and take a swim on Europa. He can be trusted, really. It says so on the door. He’s completely upfront with his advertising. In ten foot high letters, right above the shop front, he tells you what they do in his place:
“We Create Worlds.”
And he does it on the cheap.