While postapocalyptic visions of future Americas are legion in science fiction, most cannot sustain their credibility long enough to be memorable. A welcome exception, Aikin's latest novel depicts with striking realism a telepathically united civilization somewhere in thirty-first-century California that has walled itself off from the surrounding wilderness. Genetically impaired citizens who haven't bonded with the common overmind by late adolescence are ritually "cleansed," i.e., beheaded. Danlo Ree is still grieving over the loss of a past love purged in such a public cleansing when he is kidnapped, along with several other men, by an unheard-of tribe of women living beyond the wall. After becoming intimate with and teaching his language to one of the women, Ree enlists her aid and that of fellow dissenters to free condemned outcasts and defy the ruling body of telepathic overlords. Besides providing a suspenseful story line, Aikin surmounts the plot's inherent improbabilities via masterly characterizations. Images of the novel's vividly constructed telepathic society should remain in readers' memories for a long time.