The Specific Gravity of Water is a comic fantasy for adults.
Mr. Trout is a misfit teaching creative writing at a minor state college who infringes the right-thinking mores of academe and must go on the run.
He escapes to another country, almost entirely his own invention, called Ishkastan.
There every citizen is considered an artist and paid to do nothing, the novel idea of the country’s president, a lugubrious poet and Nobel Prize winner.
Ishkastan’s only abundant resource is fresh mountain water, the new oil of a polluted and thirsting planet. The result is unimaginable prosperity for the citizens and satisfying profits for the global corporations who run the place.
All menial jobs are done by colour-coded immigrants.
Trout introduces the principle of ‘a stack-up of tolerances’ and catastrophe results.