Arrabus on the planet Wyst is an "egalistic" nation, where everyone is supposedly equal to everyone else. Arrabins work only two hours per week ("drudge"), which is drawn at random each week. In return, they receive food in the form of gruff, deedle, and wobbly - all synthetically produced food - and are housed in gigantic block tenements. Natural food ("bonter") is very rare, resulting in a flourishing black market trade with the "Weirdlands", the lands beyond Arrabus. An executive committee of four, selected at random and known as the Whisperers, governs Arrabus.
Jack Vance (1916-2013)
John Holbrook Vance was born in 1916 and studied mining, engineering and journalism at the University of California. During the Second World War he served in the merchant navy and was torpedoed twice. He started contributing stories to the pulp magazines in the mid 1940s and published his first book, The Dying Earth, in 1950. Among his many books are The Dragon Masters, for which he won his first Hugo Award, Big Planet, The Anome, and the Lyonesse sequence. He has won the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Awards, amongst others, and in 1997 was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America.