A challenging combination of fiction, social inquiry, and philosophical discourse. The top two thirds of each page bears a series of seemingly unrelated short stories and vignettes; the bottom third contains what Fawcett (Cambodia; 1988, written in a similar format) calls his subtext (looking like a long-running footnote), which ""discusses the implications of the various upper-text episodes."" The upper-page material includes an encounter with rock star Chrissie Hynde at a fast-food restaurant; a tabloid reporter's cynical investigation of a woman who butchered her children; ""A Short History of Zip the Pinhead""; a disturbing exchange in an airport bar with a man who claims people should not travel because their souls cannot keep up; and ""Public Eye's"" ongoing investigation of the (fictional) Akron Design Center, a think tank that is behind the ""disappearance of the world"" (which is synonymous with the alienation of modern man). The insidious center, Fawcett posits, was founded by conspiratorial capitalists in the 1950's in Akron, Ohio, for the purpose of controlling the tastes and increasing the needs and desires of the unsuspecting consumer. The Akron Design Center is responsible for everything from gold neckchains to the impending nuclear holocaust. Fawcett periodically provides lists of ""antidotes"" to the all-pervasive influence to the media, tourism, professionalism, the stock market, and so on. Difficult and sometimes bewildering, but an exciting literary exercise all the same.