Ape and Essence
UK First Edition Book & Synopsis
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Published 1949 by Chatto
Black cloth, gilt titles
Dust jacket priced at 7/6
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Ape and Essence is a cautionary tale, a satire, and a prophetic nightmare—a warning to Mankind of what will happen if we persist in our present follies. Its form is that of an imaginary film script, discovered in a Hollywood dustbin, whose author has set out to give a picture of California as it might be, two centuries from now, after a third World War. We see, through the eyes of a New Zealand scientist, attached to ah expedition sent to re-discover America, the appalling legacy of atomic and bacteriological warfare. Hideous as are its physical effects, even these pale beside the horror of the moral disaster to which Man has succumbed; he believes no longer in the principle of Good, he worships Evil—the evil that has won the last battle in his soul. It is as if men had been 'possessed by an alien consciousness, a consciousness that willed their undoing and willed it more strongly than they were able to will their own happiness and survival*