A parable to remind late-movie-watchers of those end-of-the-world sci-fi clunkers from the '50's in which the hero singlehandedly preserves the values of Western society from chaos and barbarism. Clement's account of the building of utopia (no money, no poverty, no war, etc.) begins long after the holocaust -- an atomic spat between China and Russia -- when the dying Pierre Beaumont writes these didactic memoirs for his grandson to dispel the legend surrounding his lifelong rule (but by popular plebiscite) over the Polynesian paradise of Raevavae. It's all about Pierre's modest efforts to shape up a ""happy and irresponsible"" population of Rousseauian natives by hook or by crook into a papier mache model of civilization a la francaise. Once he roots out the old superstitions and replaces them with sacerdotal democratic institutions, Pierre's biggest battle is fought against bigotry among the natives -- never mind the a priori European noblesse oblige. At first foolish and naive, ""mayor"" Beaumont learns the virtues of force and secrecy as the means of maintaining order. Stuffed with moralizing about the dangers of our own stupidity -- but really no more than a nco-colonialist adventure story.