20 years after the present. The long-awaited dream of artificial intelligence has finally been realized, from an unexpected source: a Maine-based toy company called Fundroids. When it developed a line of life-sized dolls that could learn and play with human children, the company knew it was creating a revolution in entertainment.

However, as with many revolutionary technologies, the change it has created has gone far beyond what anyone expected. Some of the Fundroids have ascended beyond the simple forms of intelligence they were intended to have, becoming truly self-aware beings. Certain unscrupulous individuals have attempted to use the Fundroids for war and other not-so-innocent purposes. And of course, the entire concept of manufacturing and "putting up for adoption" (as the company puts it) mass-produced artificially-intelligent children presents philosophical problems of its own.

As androids become more common around the world, some societies continue to treat them as second-class citizens and even as slave labor. However, others are beginning to see things differently, such as Fundroids engineer Maxine Sandberg, who eventually adopted a modified version of one of her own designs as a daughter, Annie.

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