Middling post-nuclear-holocaust novel that avoids the excesses of so much futuristic fiction, while not quite escaping from the clichâ€šs and predictability that marred Everett's earlier efforts (Cutting Lisa, Walk Me to the Distance, Suder). Life is bleak following thermonuclear war: survivors live under an oppressive government, subsist on cheese and crackers and illegal black-market fruit, and face the eventual extinction of humankind--women have all been compelled to submit to sterilization. Protagonist Alice Achitophel, however, ignored the summons from the hospital, making her perhaps the only woman left on earth capable of bearing a child; she's also a social deviate because she is grotesquely obese. After she's raped, believes herself to be pregnant, and commits an act of resistance, Alice has to flee to the rebel camp in the countryside. But, alas, the rebels oppose the government with a tyranny of their own. In a bizarre gloss on the clichâ€š that inside every fat person there's a thin person trying to get out, the fat, dirty, smelly Alice grows huge enough to burst, leaving her head and body in the rebel camp while the ""real"" Alice--now beautiful and thin--escapes. In her new form, she finds love with the autonomous black man Kevin Peters (who rejects both the established government and the rebels) and must consider what's the right thing to do: Bear Kevin's child and continue human life on earth? Or hasten the end? For all its portentous subject, a pleasant, entertaining tale that packs little lasting impact.