From the goodreads synop:
The Mad Metropolis opens with ordinary laborer Stephen Cook being locked out of a bar at night. Which doesn’t sound so bad, except that in 24th Century Free City Two, being outside in the dark is a death sentence. “Psychos” haunt the streets looking for human prey, and the Nonpol patrols are scarcely more compassionate.
It soon becomes evident that Mr. Cook, is not as ordinary as he believes himself to be. For one thing, while he’s been operating at the mental level of a low-normal serf, Cook is actually a potential super-genius
Of course! Just like the reader. This sounds interesting:
Free City Two (formerly London) is an eerie place, where everything is disguised by hypnotic projections that fool all five senses (and even mechanical ones!) There’s a chilling scene where Cook forces himself to see what the city actually looks like, and how badly designed and dilapidated it truly is. And its society is just as rotten as its surroundings. Cook is shocked to his core about halfway through when he sees a human child for the first time.
The government has a plan; creating a global computer network that can assist them in keeping order. Turning it on, however, only creates more problems, as can be guessed by the fact that the main computer immediately dubs itself “Mother.”
A reminder: High was born in 1914, and died in 2006. He lived to see a lot.
Wonder if he saw "Alien."