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Public beheadings, gladiatorial games, and suicidal demolition derbies provide entertainment for the masses. The church and the Department of Population Control—a government agency known as POPCON—control the state. Marriage is not allowed. Women are required to serve the state by conceiving as frequently as possible with priests. To keep the population in balance, POPCON not only eliminates criminals but also burns apartment buildings and blows up cars full of commuters. The populace is taught from an early age that dying for the state is the highest service and assures one of eternal happiness in the afterlife. Euthanasia is mandatory at sixty-five. Those who dare question the authority of the state are executed, sent to the games, or banished. A chief executioner and a schoolteacher join the resistance movement in its struggle against the state.
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