This novel, which received a Nebula nomination for Best Novel, takes place in a post-war landscape. The particulars are left vague: we know that there were bombs and radiation, followed by smaller wars for control, and the creation of city-states. Outside of these, borders have become fluid, and life brutal.
To stay out of trouble, the Circus Tresaulti travels a wide circuit; the towns they visit may not exist by the time they return. Those who join the circus are looking for a measure of security, or a job that doesn’t involve killing. Most were soldiers once.
In this world, people don’t live long. So, for a select few, the idea of having boss (the powerful woman who runs the circus) replace their body parts with metal gadgets seems like an attractive option, even if that means becoming something no longer quite human. Read more »