When a vastly superior alien force comes to earth they walk over mankind with the same lack of interest as a human walks over an ant hill. Millions are killed, but many are able to escape to space to establish colonies on the earths moon, mars and other moons and planets. In John Varley’s Eight Worlds books hundreds of years have passed since mankind has set foot on earth. The population of Luna enjoys a comfortable life with advanced medical procedures ensuring healthy life spans of hundreds of years and allows people to alter their physical appearance, age and even gender with little to no difficulty. Although there are still careers available to those who wish to work, everyone is provided a basic, comfortable standard of living. Everything in this futuristic society is controlled and maintained by a massive Central Computer which has the ability to deal with law enforcement, medicine, economics and running huge environmentally controlled domes while at the same time being a personal companion to every individual, appearing as a voice in their head. In this story we follow a star journalist for the Daily Nipple electronic news pad named Hildy.  He / She finds herself at the focal point of a series of massive career making news events, and wrestles with her own reporter instinct verse the personal knowledge of the predatory nature of the lightning fast daily electronic news cycle. As she struggles to cope with her own personal demons she also struggles to understand the nature of personal happiness in a society that provides for all your needs, and  to unravel the mystery of some strange behavior by the Central Computer.
This book was a long and twisted journey. About half way through it seemed as though it had reached a logical ending point, but of course there was much more to come. Varley (like Heinlein) paints an enjoyable and believable version of mankinds future and the characters are complex and interesting. At some points I did struggle a little bit to decide if the slow progressive change in the storyline, main character and even writing style throughout this book was a brilliant masterwork, or more of a confusing ramble. I have read the Varley likes to write his books in a somewhat linear fashion from beginning to end, and then will only do minor editing and think that might be the cause of my feelings that the end of this story felt like a completely different book than the beginning. Overall that change did not lessen my enjoyment of this excellent book and its underlying high quality story.