Samuel, who teaches at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, divides his time between England and Israel with occasional trips to Thailand, Japan and the U.S., and these countries provide the settings for his social vignettes that frequently turn bizarre. He is at his best when landscaping a satiric future--a female Israeli dwarf controling the world's finances; a schoolteacher treated to an exhausting day at Israeland, that country's answer to Walt Disney's complex. In a stand-out, ""Kathy Kogan's Country Club,"" a visitor wanders through the wonders of a huge Catskills hotel, elaborately rigged for ersatz sports. The author's fine sense of the absurd overcomes an occasional stiffness and his miniature culturamas provide quite human configurations of odd characters in ordinary situations or the reverse. Their designation still seems remote.