It all starts in an elevator, as the unnamed narrator - a professional data-cruncher in Tokyo called a "Calcutec" - finds himself called in for an assignment. The elevator, our hero notes, is moving so slowly that he cannot tell whether his is rising or ascending. It's the perfect opening to this unpredictable tale in two parts, told through alternating chapters. One storyline follows the Calcutec as his job, past and future turn out to be far more complex than he imagined, while the other unfolds in the parallel fantasy world of The Town, an isolated place of unicorns and lost selves, surrounded entirely by a threatening, mysterious Wall.
The Calcutec's latest assignment draws him deep beneath the city, into the hidden sanctuary of a former government scientist who specializes in the rewiring of human minds. In an information war between the government (The System) and private industry (The Factory), what could be a more effective way of protecting data than by shuffling it through the utterly unique pathways of a human brain? The Calcutec happens to be the sole remaining survivor of a group of human guinea pigs on whom such experiments have been conducted, and he finds himself threatened on both sides by the System and the Factory, and forced to trust the eccentric scientist and his granddaughter.
In the Town, we follow the story of a lost, confused narrator who doesn't know why he's here, or what his purpose may be. The townfolk provide vague guidance, but offer no clues to his identity or origin.
This report prepared by John Booth