This novelette appeared in the March 1952 issue of GALAXY. This novelette, set in a near-future only subtly different from the McCarthyite and politically menacing present deals with social deterioration, cultural breakdown in a careful, documentary style which becomes terrifying. His romantically-linked leads are emotionally affecting but never sentimentalized, the background of chaos in which they enact their tragic, drowning love, is sparingly but furiously painted. Heinlein’s 1952 is clearly the apotheosis of those “Crazy Years” which he had noted in his famous chronological Future History, published a decade earlier in ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION as a precis of his intended career. Perhaps no story of this period limns its political and cultural dysfunction as accurately as this novelette.