is already something of a world apart, alien and perhaps not a little dystopic, so it's not a huge stretch to go ahead and create a whole futuristic dystopia for your designers to work and scheme in. (The converse is not necessarily true, and indeed I never got any particular idea exactly how this bizarro future was supposed to have come about.)
The portions of the narrative in the present are all set in italics
, which is incredibly annoying to read for stretches of even a couple of pages (this book has short, choppy chapters, some of which seem to be barely twice as long as their rambling, gimmicky titles) at a time, especially since these sections don't advance the action much throughout the entire middle of the book, saving everything for the double climax at the end.
The part of the book I enjoyed most was actually buried in the middle, as Tane in the flashbacks gradually comes to a revised understanding of his even earlier childhood, brainwashed into devoting all his energies into growing the corn that feeds the decadent cities. Somehow, the detail that the mass-produced shirts impregnated with hormones and drugs to make the workers sexless and pliant were also ill-fitting and uncomfortable is telling.