The world of 2043 was one where almost every dystopian prediction made about the Information Age at the beginning of the century had come to pass. At least in the United States.
The Great Blowout of 2013 came when the last of the cheap fossil fuels ran out. To call the ensuing situation "chaos" would have been an understatement, as mobs formed around grocery stores and gas stations, fighting for the last of the supplies, in a world where oil had hit $280 a barrel. Blackouts ensued.
But as it turned out, not everyone was taken by surprised. Apparently the oil companies had actually done something with all those billions in profits around the sunset of the Oil Age, because lo and behold, up came new breeder-feeder reactors...just in the nick of time. There was Exxon-Atomica and ShellNeutron and General Electric/Atomics. The corporations, riding to the rescue, capitalism at its finest. All the neoconservative pundits were aglow.
The corporations had wasted no time consolidating political as well as electric power. The media were now owned. As a gift to the American people, cable TV was now free in every home, along with (quietly filtered) Net access. Of course, old-timers noticed all the bad news in the world came from overseas. Nothing bad ever seemed to happen in America anymore. Entertainment just kept getting more and more edgy.
Of course, the street told a different tale. Crime surged as poverty grew. Surveillance became the norm. Cameras everywhere. Violent uprisings were quickly put down, their leaders terminated with extreme prejudice...the incidents touted as the reason for new laws, more police powers. But always there was more and more entertainment and technology. Books became rare, booksellers (what few there were) seen as Luddites of very questionable morality, likely subversives...
And into this world, Briar came of age...a nonconformist after her time.