The portrait of life in Nanuen must begin and revolve chiefly around the people themselves: their peculiar mode of living is entirely mindmade, and not derived from location or circumstance. Fewer than 300 people live in Nannuen, and each one commands a significant influence over some major aspect of society today. They are, exclusively, the finest and most influential bankers, executives, scientists, and artists. In our own independent study, WHEE calculated that the residents of Nanuen directly influence 26 billion people every day, and some 21 trillion hands’ worth of trade. Never before has so much raw power been concentrated in so small a place, and in so limited a population.
While their lifestyle is not unique—many of NAnuen’s amenities may be found elsewhere in local space—it was trendsetting. Residence on the 9 wheels is considered the very finest of status symbols: a way by which the incalculably rich and powerful may lord their marginally greater fortune over their peers. The open secret is that living in Nanuen signifies not only that you are wealthy and important, but that you are moreso than others in your social strata. This is a stigma to which the crème de la crème gladly submit: it is not uncommon for bidding wars to arise over Nanuen residences; and these are customarily conducted with such bitterness that it calls to mind two estranged lovers fighting for the favor of their only child. It is very common for these bidding wars to escalate to insults, threats, and—with pedestrian regularity—murder.
Of course, none of this is ever any cause for alarm. The Nanuen code of law, as drafted in 2106, is entirely apart from the one observed in terrestrial Canada. The authority of the Saskatoon police department is not recognized except in those situations which directly affect terrestrial city residents. Among the Nanuens, the ancient custom of honor dueling is alive and well—disputes are regularly allowed to escalate to the condition of violence, and it is generally considered good fun by those involved and those who watch. Indeed, bloodsport of all varieties is popular in Nanuen, and on the third ring it is even broadcast on pay-per-view.
All of this is only possible because of the Nanuen’s strange relationship with the flesh. As mentioned in the introduction to this section, most of the Nanuens have transcended traditional mortality: on the whole there is no particular taboo associated with the destruction of life, since to them life is more a function of engineering than biology. Their bodies are not assigned to them, but rather crafted by artisanal augmenticians—they are things, which may be replaced or repaired at any time. Their minds, too, are similarly replaceable: the mind of every Nanuen is digitized and stored remotely in dozens of places at once, so even if a Nanuen is destroyed down to the very last atom another version of them will persist unmolested. It is not even uncommon for a Nanuen to maintain multiple versions of themselves in close proximity to one another, in case they are particularly fond of their own company.
Perhaps the ultimate example of Nanuen culture—and certainly its most striking—is Theater Gonoe. A substratum of performance art styling itself in the vein of certain twentieth-century exhibitionists, theater gonoe explores the ideas of sapience post-mortality. It emerged in the early 2100s, just after the advent of commercial neurotrans tech; and rooted itself in the idea that, since previously harmful physical stimuli could no longer greatly shorten or diminish a person’s life, they could be deliberately cultivated as an artistic statement—much like tragedy or horror before it. This initial slew of acts included trendsetters such as _Curated Stenches of Decay_, _Hot Liquid Poured on Face_, and—of course—_I Crush Your Hand With a Hammer_.
Over the next 20 years, this movement—though initially controversial—would evolve into the form we recognize today. Soon there arose a taste for pieces which were too lengthy or damaging for the Nanuen professional on the go. Consequently, Theater Gonoe developed into a form of Vaudevillian walk-in theater, where patrons may enter into a performance area and observe as much of the act as they please. Notable long-form Gonoe acts include Four Horses, Four Ropes, Four Days, One Man; and Amelia Rosenbaum’s oft-imitated Disassembly of Man, Still Living, By Razor Blades, Over 37 Hours, Featuring The Adventures of Pluto Nash.
In popular culture, there exists a certain stereotype of the Nanuen ilk as being generally dismissive of inkish persons. This is understandably founded, since the Nanuens rely on a level of body modification which inkmen cannot survive; but this is not to imply that the Nanuens and their culture are wholly unfriendly towards them. Figureheads of the district—namely Doctor Marcus Travers, head of research at Divinity Systems—have repeatedly denounced the idea of Nanuen as a ‘meats-only’ club, often to pronouncedly cynical reactions. One popular sticking point in the narrative of Nanuen as an ink-exclusionary district is the conspicuous absence of Croesus Catsby—who, despite having built the place and being able to easily afford residence there, does not. “Why would the richest creature refuse the world’s most luxuriant housing”, ask Nanuen’s critics, “unless he is not wanted?” Catsby has never spoken on this matter.
Ever since 2050, the Nanuen public relations council—a loose affiliation of residents who have not yet murdered each other—has maintained the “Reach for the Skies” tourism campaign, where they host outdoor events in Nanuen’s public promenades and invite those less fortunate. Detractors are quick to point out that “those less fortunate” in the Nanuen context translates to “people who only make a few million hands a day, instead of a few billion”. These outreach programs are customarily dismissed as a vulgar display of wealth, and it is generally held that anyone who accepts taxi to Nanuen’s public events is naught but a hopeful bootlick.
Nanuens who maintain conventionally ambulatory forms do, however, regularly descend to the surface level for business and recreation. The elder Nanuens—those who are by this point 150 and older—may often be glimpsed in the central business district, passing between engagements in their funeral-like hovercade processions. Their children may likewise be seen up and down lakeshore drive or Overside’s glass district, flaunting the newest designer bodies and racking up truly extraordinary bar tabs. A number of derogatory terms exist for Nanuens who visit groundside businesses: goldies, nanny boys, and others. Of course, people are seldom stupid enough to say this to their faces.