Started in 1975 and heavily revised over the next five or six years, this book has aways been considered way ahead of its time - or so the publishers which rejected it have suggested in their comments about it.
The Farrago & Farrago edition marked the novel's age of majority. In fact, it more or less coincided with its twenty-fifth birthday, and the outside world on the eve of the third millennium, but not as close as the politicians and newspaper editors would have us believe, had still to catch up with the author's ideas for concentrated refuse recycling on a grand and extremely profitable scale.
And highly profitable that business will be some day. In Night Flowers, the opportunity to turn other people's discards into electrical power, hot water for industrial and domestic heating and renewed materials is worth a vicious commercial war in a society that has already taken a plunge into lawlessness on a grand scale.
In this world, all sorts of people carry arms quite legitimately because there are plenty of others ready to take advantage of them if they are unready or unwilling to defend themselves. Looking forward from 1975, the author has anticipated the next step beyond so-called 'booze cruises'. In the world of his book, citizens at every level of society are prepared to circumvent taxes which they believe to be unjust. And those responsible for administering justice have adopted a very pragmatic attitude of mind in response.
As ever, the many are going about their lives and creating a framework of normality, in and out of which the extraordinary duck and dive as they do their particular thing.
Additional note: there are complaints by characters in the books about national parks losing their character because they are full of 'petrol plants'. As the trend to biological sources of fuel ('biofuels') grows as fossil fuels run out, or remain concentrated in the hands of unlovely regimes, no doubt the British people will be voicing similar protests before too long.
See Biofuel rule for cars will cut greenhouse gases, theGuardian, 2005/11/11.