If you could wear a mask every day, would you still think about what you looked like? If everyone wore the same mask, would we all be equal?Gemm lives in such a world in the future. It is a perfect one, free of troubles or disagreements, free of extreme emotions, sounds, or sights. Every individual lives in harmony and unity. Gemm and his genetically engineered match, Gemma, will follow the same path of life as all the other individuals. Should they not wish to, they have the option to be “recycled,” and begin their lives again. It is a perfect, pleasant world.
Gemm is troubled, though. He has been hearing sounds. Not controlled sounds. And strange things happen to him when he hears these sounds. He wants to move his body and open his mouth and make the sounds, too. When he attempts to do this, he is discovered and determined to be “deviant,” dangerously different. Scientists explain that he is hearing something rulers thought they had eliminated long ago: music.
Gemm is given a choice; he and Gemma can be recycled, or he may choose The Cure. The Cure is designed to make him live a period of history selected especially to make him form a negative association with music. It is a terrible, dangerous experience, and the scientists warn him that very few survive The Cure.
Faced with this choice, Gemm chooses The Cure.