First of all - It's one of Van-Vogt's most ideas-filled books. If you've read Van-Vogt before you know that a comment like that is not to be taken lightly.
Writen in 1970 and being rather "new" in Vogtian standarts , I was afraid that Van has gotten old , lost his zest , and boy , how wrong was I !
From the first word I was captivated in the story of Modyun - a far future human man that has a 30cm body and a 15inch diameter head. Modyun , who's a telepath and a genius using 100% of his brain's potential like all other humans ( who numbers a mere 1000 )decides to enlarge his body to the original size of the ancient humans , and take a tour around the world , to see how the animal-men are doing.
The animal-men , ofcourse , were created by Man by mixing every animal's DNA with human's inorder to give them intelligence. When that was achived , Man has built the animal-men cities and food-commisary's and factories to fulfill every need , and that done - reduced his number to a representative 1000 and began passing time in emotion-free , stimulant-free , totaly peacfull philosophic existance.
When Modyun encounters the world outside the human valley , he has many enlightment's on the way "ancient man" use to think and feel , and the way the body , not the brain , was mostly responsible for those feelings because of the number and intensity of the stimulations over-flowing into the mind and interfere with rational thought. Besides fighting his own bodily sensations , Modyun is noticing a diference in the way the world is run ! He begins his investigations and does have some success but the thing that holds him back is really his own attitude - after hundread's of years of peacfull existance , Modyun is almost uncapable of identifying a violent situation , not to mention a suspicion of scheming !
I won't tell you what Modyun finds out and how he deal's with it , but I'll tell you that though : this book is a wonderfull exemple of the mind-expanding works Van-Vogt give us every once in a while. It might have been his greatest , if the end would'nt have been a bit rushed - hence the four stars. But anyway , It's an excellent book , and you should read it if you're an early sci-fi lover , an A.E Van-Vogt fan , or a person interested in having a wonderfull reading experience.