Harman Patil

And Chaos Died

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Cover artist  Leo and Diane Dillon
Publication date  1970
Originally published  1970
Publisher  Ace Books
3.5/5 Goodreads

Language  English
Pages  189 pp
Author  Joanna Russ
Country  United States of America
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Media type  Print (hardback & paperback)
ISBN  0-425-04135-2 (1979 edition)
Genres  Novel, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Speculative fiction
Nominations  Nebula Award for Best Novel, Locus Award for Best Novel
Similar  Joanna Russ books, Feminism books, Science Fiction books

And Chaos Died (1970) is a science fiction novel by Joanna Russ, perhaps the genre's best-known feminist author. Its setting is a dystopian projection of modern society, in which Earth's population has continued to grow, with the effects somewhat mitigated by advanced technology. The novel was nominated for, but did not win, the 1970 Nebula Award.

Contents

Plot introduction

On the grossly-overpopulated planet, remnants of "nature" exist only in the isolated areas not covered by housing, industry and industrial farming. Creativity and individuality are suppressed and channeled into rigid social formats. A powerful bureaucracy/police state oversees the acts of all citizens. Its purpose is to maintain control for the planetary elite, and to that end it is prepared to resort to any method, however ruthless.

In contrast to all this, the author introduces another planet on which human development has followed a diametrically opposite path: the natural world is respected; population is limited; and each individual is encouraged to develop uniquely. On this other world, human beings are known to be basically "spiritual", and immortal in nature. Telepathy and telekinesis are developed as much and as rapidly as possible.

As the narrative progresses, a confrontation develops between these different systems.

Reception

James Blish praised the novel, saying "The totality is impressive not only for its inventiveness and the brilliance of its technique, but because the fantastic central assumption has been used to tell you real things about the real human psyche." Modern readers have been less welcoming, though: Brit Mandelo, writing for Tor.com, called And Chaos Died "a strange, psychedelic book that, in many ways, doesn’t age well," citing in particular the apparent curing of the main character's homosexuality as a problematic element.

References

And Chaos Died Wikipedia


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