Rick is a scurrilous, irascible scoundrel, with a heart of gold—not because he’s warm and fuzzy underneath, but because his heart is totally devoted to money. His favorite goldmine is his shop, where he vends virtual reality and manufactured novels. 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.
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. In ten foot high letters, right above the shop front, he tells you exactly what they do:
“We Create Worlds.”
And they do it on the cheap.