Scarcely more than a novella, this was first published in Ecuador in 1936, later blackballed in Europe for political reasons, and now reappears in translation as timeless today as it will be in 2015, the ""year of disgrace."" Then a virulent epidemic of an unclassifiable, untraceable disease will have killed off all the women in the world save those over sixty, and men in groups will be left to their pursuits -- wars and massacres. For ""all the means of life that men believed they had devised for the sake of progress but that in reality they had invented to enjoy in the company of women"" will also have been destroyed. Until a young girl, who has survived via a cataleptic trance, emerges to be auctioned off, rented out, and finally to become the new Mother of Mankind -- a mankind destined to repeat its cyclical follies. It's all very simple really, far from the cosmicomics of our age -- a cautionary tale of clear and everpresent dangers for which humor is the real antitoxin. As such, it disarms rather than alarms.