The setting is a society in which aging has been cured, individuals have indefinite lifespans, and population control is used to limit the population of the United States to forty million. This is maintained through a combination of infanticide and government-assisted suicide - in short, in order for someone to be born, someone must first volunteer to die. As a result, births are few and far between, and deaths occur primarily by accident. Everything was perfectly swell. There were no prisons, no slums, no insane asylums, no cripples, no poverty, no wars. All diseases were conquered. So was old age. Death, barring accidents, was an adventure for volunteers. Never, never, never -- not even in medieval Holland nor old Japan -- had a garden been more formal, been better tended. Every plant had all the loam, light, water, air and nourishment it could use. A hospital orderly came down the corridor, and looked in at the mural and the muralist. "Looks so real," he said, "I can practically imagine I'm standing in the middle of it." "What makes you think you're not in it?" said the painter. He gave a satiric smile. "It's called 'The Happy Garden of Life,' you know."