The Unincorporated Man

Acknowledgments

Writing a book ain’t exactly easy. These people helped:

Paul Lance, who let us know we were on the right track. The unnamed intern (really, we still don’t know her name) whose passion describing the concept got our manuscript into Tor. Denis Wong, for having the presence of mind to say, “We need to buy this book.” David Hartwell, for not only agreeing with him but also for changing the manuscript from a worthy concept into a worthy read. Stacy Hague-Hill, for patiently guiding us through the straits and narrows of first-time authorship. Howard Deutsch, our agent friend and fellow provocateur. (Dude, really. We so landed on the Moon!) And our test readers who kept us on course and off stupid. (Sorry about that original sex scene. What can we say? We were just starting out.)

To Bond, George, and Sasha. Many of the things I’ve done that are worth remembering (and some I’m still trying to forget) revolve around the three of you. If friends are the family you choose, we’ve been family for a long time. Uncle Harvey, who once made up a science-fiction story for a wide-eyed, seven-year-old boy who then grew up to become a science-fiction author. (I still want to know how it ends, damn it!) Eric, whose intellect, conversations, and comic book collection have enabled my imagination to grow in ways it might never have otherwise.

—Eytan

If you’re fortunate in life, you’ll secure a group of friends that, although not always near, somehow manage to feel ever-present. I’m blessed to have seven. Alan, Dan, David, Evan, Leo, Mike, and Yoni. I’m honored to be your friend, brother, and co-conspirator.

To the Insomniyakkers: Barry, Larry, and Lisa. As if road-biking at 4 A.M. weren’t hard enough, you have to listen to me rant, rave, and filibuster about everything under the Moon. (Some of which I really know nothing about! P.S. Don’t tell Larry.) Thanks for the endless miles and the invaluable insights.

To the Wolverines: Albert, Mark, and Jason. Your smarmy wit, dry deliveries, and wonderfully self-deprecating humor mean more to me than you could ever possibly know. Thanks, dudes. Go gym kata!

—Dani

the unincorporated man

1 Look What I Found

The counterpart for education (financing) would be to “buy” a share in an individual’s earning prospects; to advance him the funds needed to finance his training on condition that he agree to pay the lender a specified fraction of his future earnings. There seems no legal obstacle to private contracts of this kind, even though they are economically equivalent to the purchase of a share in an individual’s earning capacity and thus to partial slavery.

—MILTON FRIEDMAN, CAPITALISM AND FREEDOM, 1962

Though he was filthy from head to toe, bloodied, and his skin shredded as thoroughly as a cat’s scratching post, Omad couldn’t suppress a grin. He was a miner with a knack for finding veins of valuable material even in old, worked-out quarries, and he felt in his bones that today was his day. Today he’d find something valuable enough to achieve his dream, and achieve it at the respectably early age of sixty-nine. His stock was selling for 183 credits a share, and all he needed was one more good find and GCI would owe him enough credits to enable him to buy a majority of himself. Even if his stock price rose, as was often the case with personal success, he could still make majority. He’d just have to pray that his personal valuation wouldn’t go over 200 credits a share, and that he’d take home at least 20,000 credits from this venture. Yes, Omad was 100 shares away from controlling himself.