If producing scalpel-honed gags and outrageous one-liners were the sum of the art, Robert Sheckley would be without peer among the science-fiction writers of our time. As it is, you may get about as much out of reading a Sheckley book back to front as front to back. In this case, you might start off with the Superior Court of Karmic Instrumentality, where the four-personality mutual-antipathy society locked in the body of Alistair Crompton is in real or hallucinatory danger of being snuffed out for the crimes of the violent component (""Schizophrenia is no excuse under karmic law,"" lectures Justice Obadiah T. Grudge). Paging back through the foursome's arrival at the Intersentient Therapeutics Center (""A Sound Mind in a Sound Body or Bust"") and the intrabody struggles that brought them there in the first place, you will discover how Alistair acquired each of his three arguing alter egos. All of this began, if you must know, with the childhood schizophrenia virus that would have doomed Alistair to life as a mere splinter of a man had he not been able to use his position as Chief Tester at Psychosmell, Inc. to set forth in pursuit of his transferred selves. Rickety, but full of inspired and often pointed foolery.