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Before the Fall, the solar system had a population of approximately eight billion, with all but five million of these people living on Earth. The Fall wiped out almost ninety-five percent of transhumanity, and today the population of the solar system is slightly less than half a billion, with almost all of these transhumans living off the Earth. The lifestyles of these people were almost unimaginable thirty years earlier—the vast majority are immortals living in sealed habitats on hostile alien planets or in sealed space colonies, the largest of which hold more than a million inhabitants and are many kilometers long.

In this vastly changed setting with its vastly changed inhabitants, the core concerns of humanity remain much the same. People seek both material abundance and social status, and they wrap themselves in various public and private ceremonies. Like generations of humans before them, transhumans separate themselves into different cultures and subcultures, all of which enjoy a wide variety of physical and virtual entertainments. Politics and economics remain vitally important and as always, those who are wealthy, powerful, and famous have a large degree of control over the lives of those who are poor, relatively powerless, and unknown.

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