This is one of the most original Sci-Fi novels I've ever read. The protagonist, Allie, is forced by the court to undergo training as a mindplayer - someone who engages in direct mind-to-mind contact with others. The existence of this practice has necessitated whole new social and legal norms of behavior, which professional mindplayers with different specialties help people navigate through. Allie embarks on a career helping creative types regain artistic power they feel they've lost, and she encounters extremes of the human condition, which change her forever. The fully-realized-but-not-annoying-detailed world all this transpires in is a world of decadence, where it seems like everyone is seeking diversion from surroundings that are decaying somehow, even though on the surface it's a technological paradise. I'll need to find some more Pat Cadigan and see if she does any more work set in this fascinating future. Totally recommended to anyone looking for something new.