- The Control Voice: To sleep, perchance to dream. But what happens when the dream is to never sleep again?
In the future, humanity is divided into Alphas, Betas, and Elites. The Elites rule and the Alphas and Betas work in shifts, alternating going into stasis pods to conserve resources. An Alpha and Beta fall in love even though the only time they see each other is when they change shifts, and try to fight the system.
- The Control Voice: Unless humankind awakens to the need to preserve its future, it may one day find itself asleep... for eternity.
"Half a trope is no trope":
- Culture Police: Books have been transferred to discs. Hardcopy versions can only be procured on the Black Market.
- Earth That Used to Be Better: Earth's resources are severely depleted to the point that half of the population is placed in stasis for 72 hours at a time.
- Extinct in the Future: Most species of plants are either extinct or endangered.
- Government Agency of Fiction: The Urban Conservation Authority (UCA).
- Human Resources: Under the guise of a relocation program, the Elite plan to murder the Alphas and convert their bodies into fuel, which will provide enough energy to power the City for 3.4 years.
- Overpopulation Crisis: Earth's severe overpopulation results in its resources being significantly depleted.
- La Résistance: There is a resistance against the Stasis Initiative, which forces half of the worker population into stasis for 72 hours at a time. Stasis jumping, the act of leaving your pod before the end of the shift, is on the rise. The resistance's slogan is "Half a life is no life."
- Techno Dystopia: Society is divided between the Elites and the considerably larger worker population, who are themselves split into the Alphas and the Betas. Fifty years earlier, the Stasis Initiative was introduced. It involves half of the worker population being placed in stasis for 72 hours at a time in order to conserve resources. Each Alpha has a Beta stasis partner who has the same job and lives in the same accommodation while their counterpart is in stasis. As such, each worker lives only half a life. The Elite, who are exempt from stasis, have developed into an aristocracy who suppress and persecute the workers. About 2% of the Elite are former workers but they are no more than a Token Minority. Eric Waters, a Beta who is in love with an Alpha named Larissa Whitestone, is horrified when he discovers that the Elite intend to convert the Alphas into fuel in order to power the City.
- We Will Spend Credits in the Future: The unit of currency is the V-credit.