A band of more frail than hearty pioneers from Europe and America try to set up the New Socialist Colonization Company or ""Uterica"" in East Texas in the early 1800's. They arrive with high hopes, higher ideals and rarely have things gone from Utopia to Mopeia so slowly or so dully. The narrator duly records meetings, discussion groups, daily progress, lectures, etc., and is given (he fancies himself an essayist) to prosy musing; ""On Sheep,"" ""Premonition in an Instant at Night, "" ""The Maze of Growing Things."" Thankfully disaster strikes before he goes on to poetry. But it's still a Hard Year's Night with not all the members pulling their fair share of idealism or work, defections setting in, trouble with the Indians (a misunderstanding over a brutal murder of a young girl that has been actually committed by a colonist). It 'tall goes to show that communal life aint what it's cracked up to be, particularly when done up in such a dowdy book.