The time is the fourth millennium. The storyteller is a robot, Pentser, a lone relic of times lost, a museum piece of electronic memorabilia, an automated antiquarian of long forgotten information and, in his own humble opinion, mankind’s most perfect creation. The premise is simple: what if you created your perfect mate?

* * *

Pentser’s user, a 600-year-old-but-doesn’t-look-a-day-over-twenty man, Govil, is unhappy. Although he—and everyone else on Earth—lives in a luxurious, genetically designed paradise of eternal health and ceaseless pampering, Govil wants something more. He doesn’t know what it is, but he wants it anyway.

Pentser finds this new world mankind has installed while he was packed in a foam-peanut limbo unacceptable and absurd. But what can he do? Operating machines are taboo and the best he can fare is an outlaw’s existence within the confines of Govil’s estate. There he is reduced to acting as Govil’s diverting but sarcastic manservant while observing this new rather visceral age with a jaundiced lens.

Mankind provides plenty of grist for Pentser’s critical mill. After it eliminated human death, mankind eliminated birth, as well as human coupling. Ecological balance is maintained with careful biological bookkeeping. And the books are kept in tidy order by one great, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent human institution, the Genie Corporation, or GenieCorp™.

GenieCorp™ is where Govil works. He’s a Neer, stranding DNA to create the various biological entities that make life perfect in the fourth millennium: Mades© that attend their manses, DreamWeavers© that spin them fanciful garments and Foodstruders© which provide flavorful sustenance. There are even cute teddybear-like creatures called HuggiWugs© and ever-loving dog-like PuppiLuvs©, who bark “I love you,” instead of “bow-wow.”

Govil is an intelligent but nerdish Neer whose major vice is his seemingly unwarranted dissatisfaction with the predictable side of paradise. His exasperated mother, Juune, advises him to, “Stop trying to be so clever all the time. Figure out what you want and hit The Mall.” His best friend, Moord, suggests he try out a Beddinbuddy©, Govil’s latest bio-concoction, a self-contained, multi-functional sexual pleasure organism. “Nah, I don’t like to take work home with me,” is Govil’s glib reply.

Govil’s needs are relieved by neither a Beddinbuddy© nor by his illegally re-animated robot, Pentser. Through a random turn of events, however, Pentser hits on something that might fulfill Govil’s hopes: the creation of a deliberately ordinary woman, a helpmeet, an “Eve.”

This is a radical and even immoral concept in the fourth millennium. Human beings are no longer created, and all created life is recycled. To create Eve, Govil must break the law. “But, what harm could she do?” Govil reassures Pentser. “She won’t be any more dangerous than I am.”

Late one night, when everyone is at home, Govil and Pentser sneak into GenieCorp™ and act. Eve is born, like a middlebrow Venus on the half-shell, the answer to Govil’s prayers.

Govil isn’t bored any more, and neither is Pentser. This newest creation of theirs is definitely unpredictable, to Govil’s delight and Pentser’s dismay. Eve, however, is not just another DNA strand Govil shaped any way he wished. She is a unique, living, thinking, feeling human being. She is naïve and ignorant of the world, but, with Pentser’s help, she learns fast.

Govil’s clandestine violation is detected, and GenieCorp™’s Intelligence Officers, three clones with oversized brains, pursue the case. They know somewhere out there a creature exists that unbalances the books, the perfect equilibrium of life and mankind’s paradise on earth. This dangerous creature must be found and, quite literally, liquidated.

While the GenieCorp™ IO’s conduct an elaborate yet incompetent search for Eve, Eve discovers her new world and embraces it. But as her namesake did in paradise, she soon yearns for forbidden fruit. Or is it left for her to find, because somewhere in the garden there is a serpent?

In a carefully calculated world of perfect balance, Eve is the wildcard in everyone’s hand. Her ultimate survival is a matter of both skill and random chance, and as in all such games, someone has to lose.

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