THE CHAIN OF CHANCE by Louis Iribarne


translated by , by
Email this review


As you might guess, this "novel of suspense" from Europe's favorite deep-think science-fictioner is rather light on the suspense, rather heavy on the philosophical implications. True, the first 50 pages or so do generate some tension--since we haven't the slightest idea what's going on, as the narrator, an American ex-astronaut, drives from Naples to Rome, wearing electrodes on his chest, apparently going through some sort of predetermined schedule, and then (not on the schedule) trying to foil a terrorist bombing at the super-secure, super-modern Rome airport. In Paris, however, where the narrator consults computer scientist Philippe Barth, all is explained: a series of mysterious disappearances, psychotic attacks, and deaths have Occurred around Naples (mostly to American tourists), and the narrator-detective has been recreating the route and the actions of the most recent victim--a decoy "simulation mission." Since this mission has failed to smoke out the evil forces, the detective has come to his last resort: Dr. Barth and his crew of logicians. They study all the case histories (including some similar deaths which pop up in Paris), and the culprit is deduced to be. . . Chance. "There's no such thing as a mysterious event. It all depends on the magnitude of the set. . . . The victims were the result of random causality. Out of the realm of infinite possibilities. . . you chose a certain fraction of cases that exhibited a multifactorial similarity." Obviously not for most fans of the suspense genre; Lem is just playing, seriously, with the form, and the result is tightly moody in that only half-translatable continental manner, alternately witty and scary and ponderous.
Pub Date: Aug. 28th, 1978
ISBN: 0810117304
Page count: 190pp
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1978


FictionTALES OF PIRX THE PILOT by Louis Iribarne
by Louis Iribarne


NonfictionHIGHCASTLE by Stanislaw Lem
by Stanislaw Lem
FictionPEACE ON EARTH by Stanislaw Lem
by Stanislaw Lem
FictionEDEN by Stanislaw Lem
by Stanislaw Lem
FictionFIASCO by Michael Kandel
by Michael Kandel