The Million: Let's talk about money
Actually, let's not. Because, let's face it, if you're one the Million you don't have your own money--you have your own economy.
If you're thinking about wealth in terms of money, you're just not thinking big enough. This was one of the principles I decided to run with when I set out to write The Million. I mean, this is a story about the literal inheritors of the Earth--the culmination of human civilization, distilled down to a population small enough to prevent the extinction of the species, and large enough to permit diversity, creativity and ambition to flourish. One million people, who have inherited all human history, all human art, all our accomplishments, our homelands, cities, technology and, yes, money.
Think of The Million as Downton Abbey without the servants. In the future, after all, we assume robots and AI that serve us hand and foot. You want an suborbital spaceplane? How about a whole air force of them that can do aerobatics around you while you fly yours? You want a yacht? Why not a migratory island?
No amount of thinking big is big enough for understanding the ordinary lives of the Million. Just one teaser: while you're drowsing in bed, not yet fully awake, an army of bots has fanned out across the land, looking for individual stands of ripened wild wheat. By the time you're blinking at the cathedral ceiling of your bed-chamber, they've picked thousands of wheat seeds, judged them and selected the best, and have ground them into flour. When you finally stagger downstairs, thinking about the temporary city your cousin built for last night's party, with its crowds of fake humans revelers, the smell of fresh baked bread entices you to the kitchen where you see the newly cut loaf... and decide to have something else instead.
The one thing you won't be doing, as a citizen of the Million, is going online. Or watching television. Why watch a recorded program--so gauche!--when you can summon a set of robot players to perform the thing on sets built just-in-time by your other army of carpenters? Why play a first-person shooter on a console when you can have a city neighborhood built to play out a raid for real? Or, when it comes to romance--well, the possibilities are endless.
So: forget money. Forget the whole concept of wealth, it no longer applies.
What does still apply, even in this world, though, are jealousy, envy, pride, ambition, and deceit.
What's all the wealth in the world worth, after all, if you can't conspire against your neighbours...?