The action of this book takes place on Earth between 2130 and 2172. The narrative includes mention of a number of technical, economic and governmental developments preceding and during this period, but these mentions are kept to a minimum so as not to disturb the flow of events.

It is possible to read the book as a novel based on this minimal factual background, but for those wanting to know more in detail about how the various changes came about, there is a series of appendices at the end of the book which describe them in more detail.

Appendix One deals with the concept of 'contribution', a measure of human achievement which came to replace money partially as a type of wealth in the mid-21st century.

Appendix Two introduces the technological developments that led to the existence of cloned human brains, at first in bio-electronic form, but quickly supplanted by clones 'in the cloud'. These are called RCRs in the book (Remote Cognitive Representations). A later development of them led to shared cognitive spaces, known in the book as RCCs (Remote Cognitive Collectives).

Appendix Three describes the economic and historical developments that led to the creation of a world government, the Assembly of the People, in 2060, and has a chart of its structure.

Appendix Four deals with language: how its nature and its uses changed as communication between people gradually ceased to be based primarily on the spoken word.


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