Art is an up-and-coming interface designer, working on the management of data flow along the Massachusetts Turnpike. He's doing the best work of his career and can guarantee that the system will be, without question, the most counterintuitive, user-hostile piece of software ever pushed forth into the world.
Why? Because Art is an industrial saboteur. He may live in London and work for an EU telecommunications megacorp, but Art's real home is the Eastern Standard Tribe.
The comm – instant wireless communication – puts everyone in touch with everyone else, twenty-four hours a day. But one thing hasn't changed: the need for sleep. The world is slowly splintering into Tribes held together by common time zones, less than families and more than nations. And Art is working to humiliate the Greenwich Mean Tribe to the benefit of his own people.
The world of next week is overflowing with ubiquitous computing, where an idea scribbled onto one's comm can revolutionize an industry. But in a world without boundaries, nothing can be taken for granted – not happiness, not money, and, most certainly, not love.
Which might explain why Art finds himself stranded on the roof of an insane asylum outside Boston, debating whether to push a pencil into his brain. Happiness or smarts? What's it going to be, Art?