Stephen Oram writes science fiction and is lead curator for near-future fiction at Virtual Futures. He enjoys working collaboratively with scientists and future-tech people - they do the science, he does the fiction. He's been a hippie-punk, religious-squatter and an anarchist-bureaucrat; he thrives on contradictions. He is published in several anthologies and has two published novels, Quantum Confessions and Fluence. His recent collection of sci-fi shorts, Eating Robots and Other Stories, was described by the Morning Star as one of the top radical works of fiction in 2017.
Matt Helm is to captain the last space shuttle carrying passengers to the starship, but his irrepressible desire for Fern Angelus corrupts his sense of duty. He agrees to take part in her time experiments.
Set against a background of passion and longing, Matt's uncanny success with mind projection meets unforseen complications. He projects his mind to a future Earth: a world of shallow, extensive seas, mutated trees growing in layers on each other's branches, and strangely evolved animals like snappersnouts, humpers and energy creatures.
Matt's strange visions eventually meet reality when he discovers that the last load of passengers for the starship has been left behind; and he is one of them.
The 'Joy Juice' is the vital life fluid extracted from the workers, the second class citizens whose life is a constant search for and movement from one trip, one hallucination to the next. It is only when the workers are tripping that the Uppers can extract the 'Joy Juice'.
But what happens when the good trips turn into bad ones? When pleasant dreams become nightmares?
But for one inhabitant there was always something askew. He/she had tried everything and yet the taste always soured. And then he/she succeeded in committing the one illegal act—and was thrown out of heaven forever.
But forever is not a term any native of that robotic utopia understood. And so he/she challenged the rules, declared independence, and set out to prove that a human was still smarter than the cleverest and most protective robot...
You don't need to have read Tanith Lee's DON'T BITE THE SUN, which set the original scene, to find DRINKING SAPPHIRE WINE of the same high merit that distinguished this author's THE BIRTHGRAVE.