The story opens in June of 2073. We're standing on a little Scandinavian island with a guy named Eric Seven. He's a journalist and he's just arrived on assignment to a place called Blessed Island.
You could say it's sort of an odd place. After all, it's midnight and the sun is still shining, but that's just because the island is so far north—there are other things making Eric feel weird. Things he'll forget about. Later.
Suddenly, Eric thinks about a girl named Merle who makes him feel like everything will be all right after all. "Well, so it is," he thinks to himself pleasantly.
Eric remembers how the weird vibes started when he was on the plane ride up to the island. There were loads of other people on the flight, but when Eric bumped his OneDegree app, he got nothing.
The OneDegree app is super popular in 2073. And useful. The idea is that most people are connected—not by six degree of separation, or even Kevin Bacon—but by only one. When you go someplace, you simply have to open the app and it will tell you who in the surrounding area is someone you might know. Or maybe they know someone you know. Or maybe they worked somewhere that you worked a long time ago. You get the idea.
But Eric didn't get any results even though the flight was half-full. This has never happened before, so it's a little unsettling.
Of course, the other guys on the flight looked like miners who were travelling for work—they were a tough-looking lot—so maybe Eric really didn't have any connections up there.
It's all very mysterious. In fact, that's the point of this trip; it's why Eric's editor gave him this assignment.
Sure, there have been rumors and whispers about Blessed Island, but no concrete evidence or firsthand accounts—nothing on the Net at all. It's very strange.
The only thing Eric knows is that some people seem to think that Blessed Island is a place where people can live forever. He's about to find out.