In the year 2054, humans have all but replaced their bodies with lifelike replacements called "surrogates". Violent crimes are down and everyone gets to have the body of their dreams, but beneath society's polished façade not all is well. Tensions between mainstream society and an anti-surrogate religious group led by "The Prophet" continue to fester, while surrogates turn up destroyed by a mysterious, superhuman figure.
Police Detective Greer becomes a victim of the anti-surrogate crimes, and to catch the perp he must venture out of his home without a surrogate for the first time in years. As the case progresses, Greer himself begins to doubt the benefits of living life through proxies.
There's also a prequel titled The Surrogates: Flesh and Bone, taking place 15 years prior to the original story. It goes more in-depth in Greer and The Prophet's backstories as well as the initial stages of surrogate integration into society.
The Surrogates provides examples of:
- And That's Terrible!: Steeplejack plans to wipe out every functioning surrogate, vandalism on a large scale. Greer is horrified. They would have probably killed a lot of people just by taking out the Surrogates, via collateral damage. See Fridge Logic.
- Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain: A plot point, since Steeplejack harnesses electrical energy from lightning to fry his victims.
- Fighting a Shadow: Humanity has become a non-villainous example, mostly.
- Grey-and-Gray Morality: The anti-surrogate side has engaged in rioting and destruction, but also has a point that using surrogates removes all risk and sense of living. The pro-surrogate side has seen surrogate users kill non-surrogate users and plans on doing it again at the risk of losing their surrogates, but surrogate use has dropped crime, improved public health, and promoted gender equality.
- Not Quite Dead: A consequence of the switch to surrogates is that murders become exceedingly rare, since humans almost never venture out of their homes in person anymore. What would have been a murder in present-day real life is reduced to property damage and the surrogate owner can simply buy a new one and resume daily life. Of course, damaging your real body can still kill you...
- Robo Cam: why did the Data-miners need a surrogate? they could have saved time and money by transmitting straight to the VRchair
- Samus Is a Girl: Crossgender surrogates are common.