Yet another near-future dystopia (cf. Laidlaw, above), again with nothing in particular to recommend it. In 2020, the world is controlled by big bad multinational corporations who have shifted industrial production to cheaper Third World countries. In Europe and America, most people are mere consumer units, permanently jobless, zonked out on drugs and TV; interpersonal relations are in a perilous state. So Ernest Goodman, part actor, part psychologist, part sociologist, is a professional friend, lending his expertise to harassed executives for a stiff fee. Dick Devine, president Of OMNICO, is spearheading a drive to market heroin to consumers; he feels the need for a trustworthy friend, and so tests Goodman in a series of murderous encounters. Goodman wins the job, but finally he is forced to witness the rape and murder of his lover. Pushed too far, Goodman kills Devine and escapes to a place as yet uncontrolled by the multinationals. All this is padded out with (and mired in) subplots and details of OMNICO's corporate dirty tricks. Add on the lack of narrative momentum, the unsympathetic and indistinguishable cast of thousands--and overall this isn't too much more than a pretentious belaboring of an old-hat notion.