vladimir makanin examines the fates of ordinary people of the future - or is it the present? - in these two novellas. these characters are caught in surreal situations which test their ability to retain their humanity. in escape hatch a man switches back and forth between two worlds, one above-ground, where social order has broken down and chaos reigns, the other underground, where art and beauty survive, but at a terrible price. in the long road ahead a young engineer is sent to a secret base to solve a technical problem, and encounters a world he never suspected existed.