Agent of Chaosby Norman Spinrad
Boris Johnson thinks he wants democracy. But in the course of his adventures he discovers that
First published in the 1960s, Spinrad was one of the first writers to perceive the totalitarian implications of the cradle-to-grave welfare state. But at the same time he was too organically a radical ever to be confused with a conservative. Result: "Agent of Chaos!"
Boris Johnson thinks he wants democracy. But in the course of his adventures he discovers that democracy to him means freedom. It's a banned concept from the Millennium of Religion. Like God.
He finds himself dealing with a byzantine political situation worthy of anything from the banned past. The dictatorship is the Hegemony. Opposition is provided by the aptly named agents of C.H.A.O.S. Meanwhile, the Brotherhood of Assassins plays a game that no one can fathom. Whose side are they on? Whose fool are you?
Spinrad explores his philosophical theme in a manner all too rare in contemporary science fiction. The problem is that Order will always try to eliminate any random factors. By its very nature, it encourages opposition and that feeds the forces of chaos. But chaos has built in problems as well. Its victories cannot help but feed the forces of reaction, of order. The heroes in this novel ultimately opt for personal freedom. The villains try to establish a dictatorship over the very nature of reality itself.
And then Spinrad throws in the discovery of aliens. A starship sets forth to meet them, the Prometheus. The Hegemony doesn't like that.
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Meet the Author
Norman Spinrad (1940 - ) Norman Richard Spinrad was born in New York City in 1941. He began publishing science fiction in 1963 and has been an important, if sometimes controversial, figure in the genre ever since. He was a regular contributor to New Worlds magazine and, ironically, the cause of its banning by W H Smith, which objected to the violence and profanity in his serialised novel Bug Jack Barron. Spinrad's work has never shied away from the confrontational, be it casting Hitler as a spiteful pulp novelist or satirising the Church of Scientology. In addition to his SF novels, he has written non-fiction, edited anthologies and contributed a screenplay to the second season of Star Trek. In 2003, Norman Spinrad was awarded the Prix Utopia, a life achievement award given by the Utopiales International Festival in Frances, where he now lives.
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This is one of the books I read as a young adult. I enjoyed it very much. I did get a lot more out of it the second reading. Agennt of Chaos is one of a few books I will read every few years. A must read for any sci-fi lover or someone concerned about a big brother state!
Order will always try to eliminate any random factors. The random factor does not have to force or damage. I enjoyed the book and found the ideas of order vs freedom interesting.
This review specifically concerns the nook book/epub version on sale in early June 2012. This is by far the laziest effort I have ever seen call itself a retail ebook. No cover image. All hyphens in place. PAGE NUMBERS in-line and breaking up paragraphs! Heck, not even a copyright notice. This is what I found after I slashed my way through the DRM jungle to read it on my computer. Putting DRM on this title is like putting a padlock on a piece of doggy-doo. It looks like a raw epub conversion of a PDF scan. As a paying customer I feel gypt and out $8.56 for the sort of quality that I could have found on a newsgroup in 1996. As a reader trying to express my appreciation of the author's work I just feel insulted. Next time I'll just mail him five bucks and save both of us the trouble. The book itself? It's fine, I'm sure. I haven't read it in 20 years--loved it when I was young and stupid--and am not sure that I want to anymore.