The corpse people of Planet Keela believe that life is an illusion. Earthman Jaimi Cooper finds their practices bizarre but is attracted by a beautiful tribeswoman. Cooper's task on the planet Keela: offer the native Lukai fair price for their rare ore rhovium, but first convince the powerful Death Woman that he and the Lukai themselves are more than illusions in a world where everyone has already died. The fascinating story of one man confronting a totally alien culture.
Jaimi Cooper has spent seven years as a planet rep, negotiating one contract after another to buy rare deposits of rhovium, the crystal essential to spaceflight. Now, anticipating a promotion out of field work, he comes to the Lukai, a tribe who believe that they and their entire world have died. Without a thought for the future, they get along in makeshift fashion in a vast automated city left behind by its builders. The difficulty for Cooper is that they don't believe anything is real and therefore won't consider the idea of selling the rhovium. After failing to get his message across to Death Woman, the group's religious leader, Cooper tries to persuade the people, in essence, to subvert all their beliefs. The premise is intriguing but with so little development this scenario might have had more impact as a short story.