The characters define Antiterra, and they are all destructive. They might be roughly divided into victimizers and victims. Demon Veen, Van’s father, is a monstrous egotist and a rake. He seems to feed on live beauty with the same appetite with which he feeds on gourmet meals. Van takes after his father—he is a younger and more robust, more spontaneous and less jaded, copy. Ada has a devastating effect on the frail mortals with whom she comes in contact. From childhood on, Van’s and Ada’s appetites are as prodigious as their intellectual gifts—they do not have to work for their conquests, who succumb to them without the least resistance. Nor do the men work for money, or do any drudgery; they live in a world of Swiss bank accounts, of multiple villas on the most desirable spots of the globe with “staffs” of servants filling them. It would seem that there might be an element of wish-fulfilling fantasy here, of self-indulgence bordering on privatism. The “author” (technically, Van) insists that to all of his endeavors Van applies “athletic strength of will, ironization of excessive emotion, and contempt for weepy weaklings.” In this black-and-white world where extremes (incestuously) meet, the victims appear little different from their victimizers; they feel no resentment or rebellion, and no doubt victims would be victimizers if only they had the means.
These values, or antivalues, are reinforced by the narration’s tone. All events...
(The entire section is 429 words.)