Literature: Biting the Sun
The Eden imagery is your guess as much as mine.
In The Seventies
, Tanith Lee
wrote two short novels entitled Don't Bite The Sun
and its sequel Drinking Sapphire Wine.
These novels were later collected into a single volume as Biting the Sun
The dome cities of Four BEE, Four BAA and Four BOO exist on a planet that is mostly desert. Within the cities, men and women can live forever in near-total hedonism, in the midst of luxurious surroundings with lots of bizarre, beautiful amusements. "Jang", the younger immortals, are expected to be wild, crazy, impulsive teenager/college student types, eventually graduating to become "Older People". Every morning sparkles with radiant sunshine and ends with a gorgeous sunset. Bodies are amazingly glamorous or cutely outre. Robots and androids do all the work.
The protagonist is bored senseless.
The story follows her (sometimes him
) as she tries to find something to give her life a bit more meaning. Eventually, of course, this gets her on the wrong side of the city's android authorities...
Tropes present in this book include:
- Babies Ever After
- Body Backup Drive: Everyone in the cities is promptly picked up and has their "life-spark" transferred into a new body of their choosing upon death. Some characters actually take advantage of this to get around the normal time limit for body changes.
- Kind Hearted Cat Lover verging on Crazy Cat Lady: Thinta. She's a bit of a Cloud Cuckoo Lander as well. (Her name is an anagram of the author's; we're expected to draw our own conclusions.)
- Crystal Spires and Togas: Lots and lots and lots of crystal spires. Togas are never explicitly mentioned, but in this society anything is possible.
- Death Is Cheap: Due to the "life-spark" being rescued and placed in a new body upon death, death is never permanent. Even when someone decides they're done with life for real, their personality is simply wiped and placed in a new body.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life
- Designer Babies
- Domed Hometown: The three Fours Cities
- Driven to Suicide: Danor, though see above.
- Everyone Is Bi and/or No Bisexuals: All the relationships we see until the end of part 2 are opposite-sex, but not necessarily opposite-gender (e.g. the protagonist and Danor.) The one same-sex couple we do see is implied to be more of an If It's You, It's Okay situation (one of the participants is male-identifying but stuck in a female body.) Basically, all the sex changes make it a little complicated.
- The author does not handle homosexuality well in this series. She specifies that people's life-sparks or essences are predominantly male or female. There should be actual gays and Lesbians, and there are not. This was corrected and explored in a spectacular Fan Fic, A Real Sky, which unfortunately was never finished.
- Free-Love Future: And how!
- ...although it is considered highly scandalous for Jang to have sex out of marriage; a typical chat-up line is 'Do you want to get married for a couple of hours?'.
- Future Slang: A scattering of words, mainly swears.
- No Name Given: The protagonist.
- Suicide Is Painless: "Suiciding" is commonplace among Jang who want a new body outside of the usual time limit between changes. It's not exactly painless so much as consequence-less — the protagonist shares a fatal plane crash with a friend, and later grumbles "Why do you have to do it that way — it hurts". The friend replies "Pain is a reality."
- Sufficiently Advanced Technology
- The Loins Sleep Tonight: Danor, at least when he/she tries to play along with the social norms.
- Title Drop
- Uterine Replicator: Attempting to have a kid with yourself this way is not recommended.
- Winged Humanoid: One of many options for the bodies people design themselves, appearing a couple times.