They began as manufacturers of electronic mood organs and player pianos. Then they improved the line – they started building exact simulacra of famous men. They thought that people would pay a good price to have anyone they wanted made to order – to talk with, befriend, and eventually utilize for any purpose they wanted.
But they ran into trouble. For one thing an exactly programmed reconstruction of a famous man is going to be obstinate and as a character – complex as the real man was – and nobody’s puppet.
For another, they got involved with a project for settling the moon with their creations. And finally they got tangled up with their own personal identities.
It’s a Philip K. Dick masterpiece of 1981, future thinking, comlex plotting, and typically “different” – as is to be expected from the Hugo-winning author of THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, EYE IN THE SKY, and SOLAR LOTTERY.