Far-future what-is-reality puzzler, a first venture into science fiction for the author of the mainstream Nowle's Passing (1996), etc. In the year 2874, Earth's population consists of 150 billion immortals, with all other species deliberately eliminated; every scrap of usable land (but not, for some reason, the sea) supports agriculture; and apartments are stacked inside landforms impossible to cultivate, though most folk prefer virtual reality anyway. Information Analyst Lydian meets the charming but evasive Merle through a net bulletin board, discovering that Merle not only can change his bodily form but can think himself to any previously visited location--and he can teach Lydian to do the same! After a whirlwind series of adventures--though homosexuality is prohibited, Merle prefers a female body--the pair come to the attention of robot Security Units. Lydian, moreover, who lives with her robot Mom, suspects that Mom is other than she seems. It emerges that reality isn't real at all (yawn): People are just brains in bottles being fed hallucinations from a giant computer. Bland, trite, populated by mediocre characters, and painfully unsurprising: a crushing disappointment.