Well, North America (Noram) ran out of gas decades ago, but luckily people in Usam had the clever idea of moving back to the cities and making them pollution-free enclaves in the wasteland of the continent. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is on the brink of some dangerous power-jockeyings or worse, so the times clearly call for a little brinkmanship. The Canams and Cenams are more than willing to provide it, even (or especially) over the dead body of Usam. First thing they try is a phony revolution of ""ratgangs"" from beyond the ""Fringes"" of the Usam urban oases. And so Shanlon Raille, a D.C. street magician and EcG lobbyist, finds himself on the lam after being fingered for the assassination of a respected senator. Grant cranks out a lot of portmanteau words (hovbus, diagmed) and maintains a great air of having something important to say, but fussy plotting and writing (a festival of commas) propel this one right into the realm of the distinctly forgettable.