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In a grim post-nuclear near-future, Garrett is wealthy entrepreneur-engineer with a penchant for collecting. His deep-dug shelter overlooking the twisted and flash-burned Golden Gate Bridge contains everything the solitary man could ever desire?closed-loop recycling and mountains of vacuum-packed supplies, tools and spare parts for his restless tinkering, his library of old-fashioned printed books, his prized firearms?and a staggeringly wide selection of erotica, along with expensive high-end roboticized love dolls that can cater to his any and every whim. The methodical, introspective Garrett is determined to survive in this poisoned, ruined world. He has always been driven to succeed, after all, in whatever the contest has been. Yet even as he tries to busy himself in puttering in his laboratories and his archives, when his armored, radio-controlled crawler crunches through a litter of bleached bones in his remote exploration of the eerily glowing ruins of hydrogen-bombed San Francisco, it is hard, so hard, to believe that life really means anything anymore. Oh, Garrett has his memories of all the beautiful $10,000-an-hour escorts he once had frequented, his endless terabytes of porno of all possible variety, and his harem of shapely silicone playmates to be pulled out of storage whenever he needs something to use and abuse, to tease and torment and punish?or even simply to talk to. But there has to be more than that, doesn?t there? Yet exactly what, the melancholy man cannot say. One morning, however, Garrett?s long-range crawler tops a rise in the wilds beyond the zone of total destruction, and for the first time he sights other living human beings. And among these ragtag survivors is one particular brunette, an intelligent-seeming black-haired girl of perhaps twenty-eight or thirty whose sly eyes and crooked, red-lipped smile just might make life worth living once again?