AGENT OF CHAOS by Norman Spinrad


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Spinrad's second published novel first appeared as a 1967 paperback; conceived as a reaction to an orthodox overthrow-the-evil-dictatorship yarn, it finally falls back on the clichÉs it set out to parody. In the medium future, humanity has colonized the solar system--but the Hegemony rules everywhere, brooking no opposition. Boris Johnson leads the underground Democratic League, which seeks to overthrow the oppressive Hegemony by assassinating its leaders. However, all Johnson's efforts are thwarted by the mysterious Brotherhood of Assassins, a secrecy-shrouded group with inscrutable motives. Eventually, Johnson faces a choice: continue his battle for democracy, knowing it will be doomed, or join the Brotherhood, whose activities apparently consist of perpetrating weird mischief, random blows, bizarre deeds--they are, in fact, Agents of Chaos. Finally, Johnson confronts the Brotherhood's mysterious leader, Robert Ching, and learns that the Brotherhood has built an interstellar ship and discovered an extraterrestrial civilization. Faced with such an outside stimulus, the Hegemony will crumble. Provocative, sometimes, but rather florid and immature; unsurprising and unremarkable 20 years ago, it hasn't improved with age.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1988
ISBN: 1584450428
Publisher: Watts