In February 2108, the New Zealand Rediscovery Expedition reaches California at last. It is over a century since the world was devastated by nuclear war, but the blight of radioactivity and disease still gnaws away at the survivors. The expedition expects to find physical destruction but they are quite unprepared for the moral degradation they meet. They find that the current inhabitants of Los Angeles belong to a sadistic, devil-worshipping society obsessed with the mutations arising among them due to the radiation poisoning they have suffered. Ape and Essence is Huxley's vision of the ruin of humanity, and he treats it with all his moral indignation, his knowledge and his imaginative genius.