...Hetzel categorically refused the novel, writing that he found nothing good in it: "frankly nothing...a disaster...almost as if by a child...a failure...painful thing, so dead...inferior on nearly every line...mediocre...no real originality...no wit."The letter went on to say:
"I was not expecting perfection - to repeat, I knew that you were attempting the impossible - but I was hoping for something better. ... In this piece, there is not a single issue concerning the real future that is properly resolved, no critique that hasn't already been made and remade before. I am surprised at you ... [it is] lacklustre and lifeless."