The entertainment industry rules on the planet Reverie, a world founded by Moses Moses as an experiment in corporately controlled equality. Instead, the experiment has caused Reverie to mutate into a landscape of decadence and class separation. Miles above the surface, the ultra-wealthy live in orbital homes, watching the surface citizens' home-produced videos of sex and extreme violence. The title character of The Artificial Kid
, Arti, is the most popular of the Combat Artists. These futuristic mirrors of professional wrestlers or American Gladiators confront each other in superhero-esque battles (although the Combat Artists' contests are real) within a complex system of honor, ritual, and conduct. Arti has reached the height of his fame--equally loved by his fans and friends and despised by his competitors. However, he is not entirely who he seems to be, and when the planetary founder mysteriously returns, The Artificial Kid finds himself embroiled in a battle for power that's not ready for prime time. Bruce Sterling, best known for his nonfiction work, The Hacker Crackdown
, and the classic cyberthriller, Islands in the Net
, presents a seminal, vivid, and turbulent future in The Artificial Kid
. The Artificial Kid
is a work of satirical social commentary with the breakneck pace of a Hong Kong action film.