In a city that could well be New York, a series of identical women are found dead in suspicious circumstances. Magazine photographer Johnny Farthing, who is reporting on the suspected murders, is chilled to discover that his fiancée looks identical to the victims too - and then she disappears. As his investigations spiral beyond his control, he finds himself at the heart of a sinister plot that uses cloning to revive the Nazi vision of a world-powerful master race... Part detective noir, part dystopic thriller, Plan for Chaos reveals the legendary science fiction novelist grappling with some of his most urgent and personal themes.
About the Author
John Wyndham was born in 1903 in the Midlands. After leaving school, he tried his hand at several careers, including farming, law and advertising, before starting to write stories in 1925. During the war he worked as a censor in the Ministry of Information and afterwards served in the Army. The Day of The Triffids was published in 1951, and was followed by many other famous works of science fiction, including The Kraken Wakes, The Chrysalids and The Midwich Cuckoos. Wyndham died in 1969.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Written c1950, during the time Wyndham was working on "Day of the Triffids", this novel has been published only recently. It concerns a post-WWII Nazi plot to clone a master race, told in the first-person by a news photographer who begins to see a striking resemblance between various murder victims and his own cousin, with whom he is in love. The two investigate and fall afoul of the plotters, who are led by their aunt, a rabid Nazi thought to have died in the bunker with Hitler.This edition has a lengthy introduction which describes the efforts made by Wyndham and his agent, the sci-fi author Frederik Pohl, to edit the novel so it would appeal to an American audience, an effort they abandoned after several years and various rejections. It's hard to tell from 2010 how an American of 60 years ago would have found the book, but for a modern reader it vacillates between silliness and vintage Wyndham. The dialogue of the main character (an English-raised American of Swedish descent) is especially unconvincing, with echoes of Cary Grant's over-the-top style. But when the plot takes off, some of the dialogue fades away and Wyndham's powers of description and fantasy become more obvious. I'm not sure if I'm glad I read the introductory material first or would have enjoyed the book more if I'd read it afterward. The editor's thoughts on Wyndham's real-life attraction to his first cousin and the books in which the idea is used as a main plot line was fascinating. "The Chrysalids" is well known to Wyndham fans, but there is also a third novel, "Foul Play Suspected" (a 1935 detective story long out of print). Until this present publication, the pattern would have been virtually invisble. It's not that shocking to a modern reader, but it's still an interesting angle. There's also the fact that Wyndham's approach to "Plan for Chaos" was to start with a plot to appeal to mystery readers and lull them in to what he saw as essentially a science fiction story. Of course to a modern reader it isn't particularly science fiction, but the idea of using multiple fission of embryos to produce copies must have been considered distasteful by the standards of the time, and especially loathsome if practiced within a Nazi society literally growing in secret. It's easy to see why publishers of the time declined.For the Wyndham fan, a must-read, but it's not his best and it's quite erratic.
An odd book. Supposedly the prequel to "Day of the Tiffids" but that was hard for me to see.Johnny Farthing, a magazine photographer, noticed that women who look just like his fiance show up dead all over town. Then, he starts getting recognized at places he has never been before. What is going on?I really enjoyed the first part - suspenseful and went quickly. But the second part just dragged and dragged.Dated, sure, it was written in the 1950s, but I don't think one of Wydham's best.
Interesting- but only so so by comparison with his mightier works. Shades of brave new world in the cloning. the nazi empire theme continuing in the jungle was never really plausible enough - and too much time was spent with nothing happening. Not great to be honest.