In post-apocalyptic 2008, a journalist reports on his voyage the across mutant-overrun western U.S. in search of a Uptopian floating Genius-City. Translated from (supposed) American original, into the dead German language as a form of censorship, with various askance commentary from the translator (one of the last 120 or so Germans alive, which everyone seems to deem a good thing given the three world wars). Sardonicly written (in reality) in the jarring syntax of (they say) postwar-West Germany's Joyce. Arno Schmidt is a pretty unique character, and though I liked his first novels pretty well, I'd been holding out my hopes for his later, weirder developments, of the sort on display in this 1957 sci-fi story.

Very much a distorting mirror of its time, it reflects the realities of the divided East-West world (and Germany), various failures to learn from the past (eugenics are back in both U.S. and U.S.S.R. policy), and the beginnings of post-war sexual liberation, though in the generally cavalier sexist manner that keeps me away from a lot of the big early-post-war American writers. Though I can't be sure how much of that is Schmidt versus the cavalier, sexist American narrator, who Schmidt sets the translator complaining about incessantly, and hilariously (so probably Schmidt is the balance of the two). Plotwise, certainly the most entertaining of his works I've read, what with the mutants, the attempted murders, the satire, the Bad Science, general twistiness, and the rather chilling image we're left with of the state that Cold War world would be stuck in for 30 some years after the publication of this book, even.