It's a novel from the 70's set in an alternate near-future, where the
Summer of Love consumed the UK and left behind a deindustrialized
society of basically hippies. The rest of the world looks on slightly
worried that this slacker contagion may spread, while the nominal
prime minister spends his time trying to persuade anyone to pay him
the slightest bit of attention.
The protagonists are a young couple writing and illustrating an epic
book about fairies(!) while wandering around the countryside. They're
joined by a man, Snake(?), who befriends but eventually betrays them.
After many adventures, including a visit to a paper maker in
Canterbury, they finally complete their book but are shanghaied onto a
ship headed into the Atlantic. The book ends up sparking a renaissance
in the UK, but the authors are given up for lost. At the end of the
novel, they are found as old people on the Falkland Islands, where
they've carved the fairy story into a cliff!
As you can tell, this was a pretty unique and inventive book, which
may be why it stuck with me all these years. I also have some
impression that it was not a typical SF writer behind it, but someone
prominent in another non-literary field.
Any and all help and suggestions are very welcome!
Could be Project Renaissance by Eric C Williams. Does this cover ring
Thanks. I don't recognize the cover but the time period is spot on.
Unfortunately I can't find any more info on Eric C Williams other than
his bibliography, and there's no synopsis, so I'll see if I can rustle
up a copy on abebooks.