Biologist Erik Erdman is beating his head against the wall trying to grow living tissue that will be able to manufacture protein-like polymers from atmospheric gases. He is intermittently aided in his ""biotosis"" project by his friend Sergei Arafyev, an inveterate misfit and inventor manque who has joined the staff of the Moscow Institute of Telepathy in hopes of developing some means of complete communication between individuals: an end to metaphysical aloneness. Both dreams are realized on the night that Erik's biotosis suddenly expands to a mass of several million tons and every person in the world is assaulted by the thoughts and experiences of others. When the chaos subsides, a sufficient residue of telepathy remains to convince Sergei that mankind can now indeed be one. Waves of amnesia and rosy contentment begin to swamp what is left of individual consciousness; the biotosis' absorption of all pain and doubt into a vast collective euphoria appears inevitable. This ambitious short novel has its sketchy and mechanical moments as a novel, but it remains an imposing and intelligently executed concept, frankly examining the rival claims of individuality and collectivity.