Fans expecting a cinemascope technicolor extravaganza on the order of The Mote in God's Eye and Lucifer's Hammer are in for a sharp disappointment with this lowkey, rather trudging novel--about a near-future conflict between the inhabitants of Todos Santos, a mile-square, nearly self-sufficient city (an ""arcology"") and the denizens of crumbling Los Angeles (which surrounds it). Todos Santos is operated like a business, with its occupants as shareholders; it supplies itself and LA with water by towing icebergs up from the Antarctic; it's run by a computer, to which the leaders have implanted links; politically, it's somewhat feudal, with everyone accepting constant surveillance by the arcology's private police force in exchange for almost total security. So the plot here involves the efforts of jealous outsiders to infiltrate or sabotage Todos Santos. But the minimal action is mostly feeble cat-and-mouse stuff, ending in an inconclusive standoff; and the boozy, colorless cast spends much of its time chatting. All in all: a good idea handled with little conviction or dexterity.