Contempt for the Flesh
The principal city of Mars, Valles-New Shanghai is transhumanity’s largest planetary metroplex, with 37 million inhabitants. Valles-New Shanghai lies in the heavily terraformed Eos region in the east of the Valles Marineris canyon system. The metroplex is comprised of five major domes connected by a network of Martian souks. The souks are a unique architectural feature of large Martian cities, consisting of covered thoroughfares and galleries lined with bazaars, eateries, and squats. It is said one can find anything if one spends enough time walking the souks.
The domes themselves are tamer, with artificial waterways (many of which now connect to the tenuous rivers etching the surface of the Eosian bottomland), grand architecture, residential mini-arcologies, entertainment complexes, and hypercorp conference centers. The most impressive by far is the Bund, the larger and older of two domes making up the city of New Shanghai proper. New Shanghai is roughly bisected by the twisting Ares, an artificial river that helps regulate the dome’s climate. Near its center is an almost brick-for-brick duplicate of the original Bund from the destroyed Earth city of Shanghai.
The other four domes are Little Shanghai (a newer, smaller dome adjacent to the Bund), Valles Center (a business and financial center that rivals the Lunar banks of Erato and Nectar), New Pittsburgh (also called the Burgh, a hub of research and planet-side industry), and Nytrondheim (housing major entertainment districts).
Valles-New Shanghai is transhumanity’s wealthiest population center, a hotbed of art and culture, and one of the system’s great centers of hypercorp activity. The populace includes an extremely high percentage of gerontocrats, but their stifling infl uence on culture, economic mobility, and the legal system is only one force among many in a city of 37 million people. The city has expanded so much to accommodate its exploding population since the Fall that new construction is a constant. Crime and corruption are widespread, though the worst of it is contained to Little Shanghai. Valles is a place where dreams are made and broken every day, if not every hour.
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