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.
* "Only Lord Dunsany could create worlds, names, atmospheres as magical as Jack Vance s; and Vance is a better storyteller." Poul Anderson
* "You can't possibly pass up any book by Jack Vance. He has perfected the trick of creating new worlds so deceptively real that after a while your own home seems imaginary." Jerry Pournelle
* Be warned: reading Vance is addictive. George R.R. Martin
* A modern classic by one of the great fantasy and science fiction writers of the 20th Century. A rare tale of an Earth so far in the future as to be nearly unrecognisable to the contemporary reader. Raymond E. Feist