Hesse also deals with the idea of Utopia as a retreat for the intellectual elite to wrestle with the great, ethereal, intangible problems of the mind. The protagonist, Knecht, gradually becomes disillusioned and leaves his Utopia to help culture as a whole rather than the secluded culture of the Glass Bead Game.
Which ties nicely into the third book I just finished, China Mieville's new novel, Embassytown. Which pitches a group of humans barely surviving on a foreign world. The atmosphere and landscape is totally alien and would kill the humans if it wasn't for the help of their alien hosts, the Hosts, who provide them with breathable air and technology. When this support gradually erodes, the humans find themselves readying for death and lamenting the past.