The girl took a nervous breath. ... when Ah see a bunch them little mothahs out slidin round on those glass feet lack, an then Ah know. ... Kiley brushed a nervous hand over his scalp and tried to focus only on the girl's eyes.
Author: Richard E. Peck
For years universities have been restive sounding boards for those who talk of revolution, of a new system, of freedom for every man. This chilling tale begins with a university, and a student riot — only this time the riot becomes a revolution and produces a new epoch in the American Way of Life. Robert Kiley, a member of the faculty, seems to endorse the change as a giant step forward in the educational process. After all, his name appears on the plan that created the change. But his efforts at reform have brought him near death, saved only by a colleague’s experimental research in cryogenics. Awakening years in the future, Kiley finds that he is still on the university campus where, through some strange metamorphosis, he has become the spiritual leader of the people — against his every wish. He can’t understand where he fits, in a new era when everyone speaks in distorted versions of today’s ghetto jargon, everyone (literate or not) has a Ph.D., and the university has become a miniature hell, isolated from the new paradise of America. But the money still comes from Washington and as the new “leader,” Kiley goes to fetch it, a journey across America which reveals just how alien he — or his world — has become. Often hilarious, this devastating first novel shows how easily the best intentions can produce a nightmare.