Chapter 15 Summary

George Greggson comes home, complaining to his wife Jean about the reviews for the television program for which he designed the sets. It is not that the reviews are negative but that they are wrong as to the details of the set. Jean asks him if he wants to go back to live theater, which leads George to mention a letter he received recently about New Athens, a colony on an island in the Pacific Ocean. The colonists have returned to the days before the arrival of the Overlords, and George is interested in investigating it. Jean fears that it will mean cooking over a fire and dressing in skins, but George dismisses this. He suggests that they go for a visit, taking their young son and daughter.

On New Athens, the guide shows them that the colony consists of two islands: the one on which they are standing and Sparta, which is rugged and primitive, built on an extinct volcano. The guide tells them that there is an optimum number of people that will make the colony viable, and they are close to that number. They are looking for people with a variety of talents who will fit into the cultural atmosphere of the island. Since the arrival of the Overlords, the world’s culture has stagnated, with nothing new being created. Here on New Athens, the artistic traditions have been revived. Each applicant is subjected to psychological tests, with about a third of them being rejected. Those who pass go home to settle their affairs and return. Some change their minds, but most settle in and become a part of the community. George is assured that, should they choose to leave, they are free to do so.

Six weeks later, George and Jean move to the colony with their two children. Jean is a little nonplussed at the sight of the kitchen. There is no automated Food Service, but she soon learns to enjoy cooking her own meals as a creative outlet. There are no private cars on the island, since the greatest distance is only fifteen kilometers, so the primary mode of transportation is the bicycle. George struggles to get used to bike-riding, but he is sure that eventually he will manage with no trouble. He is taking part in the community theater and loving every minute.

The colony was started by a Jewish man, who died before it was actually founded. While appreciating what Karellen has done for the human race, he was still unhappy about the future plans for mankind. He wanted to preserve the creative nature of human beings. He convinced a number of famous artists to join the colony, which insured the creative atmosphere that he wanted.