Contempt for the Flesh
Located in the Elysium and Hyblaeus Chasma in the north of the Hesperia region in Mars’s eastern hemisphere, Elysium is the entertainment capital of the system and the largest Martian city outside of the canyonlands of the equator. It is also the most physically remote of the large Martian cities, though transhumanity’s advanced transportation technology (suborbital flights and rocket flight from habitats above) make this remoteness a trivial quality.
Elysium and Hyblaeus Chasma together make up a 250-kilometer long canyon system in the shadow of Elysium Mons, a 14-kilometer mountain located about 200 kilometers northeast of the city. In between is the Zephyrus Fossae, an undulating, windswept lava plain. The city was the vision of one person, Zevi Oaxaca-Maartens, an eccentric entertainment magnate who was intrigued by the close proximity of the eminently terraformable Chasma to the unspoiled Hesperian terrain.
The city is only 30 years old but already boasts a population of 9 million transhumans. Elysium is mostly built into the canyon walls of the Chasma, sprawling over a 75-kilometer stretch, all of which has been domed over. Unlike the big domed metroplexes of the south, Elysium takes advantage of the canyon walls, which are close enough together that rather than building free standing domes, the builders have simply built great enclosing arches to completely cover the canyon. These expand northward year by year as the city grows. From low orbit, it looks like a great, glistening serpent.
The Martian city of Elysium is the spiritual successor to old Terra’s Los Angeles as the entertainment capital of the solar system. Glamorous stars and blood drinking producers, coupled with a healthy dose of outrageous (if often vapid) transhuman creativity have made Mars an unrivaled media powerhouse. Elysium may boast more exalt and sylph morphs per capita than any other transhuman city.
Image is everything here, and to visitors it may seem as if everyone in this city is either blindingly beautiful or calculatedly ugly. The most successful performers and entertainment tycoons live lives of glittering privilege that would make the richest gerontocrat in New Shanghai mildly envious. Everyone else, from up-and-coming game producers to the virtual erotic performers, has to hustle constantly.
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