Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Agent of Chaos” as Want to Read:
Agent of Chaos
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Agent of Chaos

3.44  ·  Rating Details  ·  253 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
One of the most celebrated underground science fiction books of the time. Led to the "Agents of Pie-Kill Unlimited" the group that for a price would throw a pie in anyone's face.
Paperback, 222 pages
Published January 1st 1978 by Popular Library (first published 1967)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Agent of Chaos, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Agent of Chaos

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 425)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Andy Wixon
I bought - well, okay, I didn't actually 'buy' this book, it was in the FREE BOOKS box outside one of the local second-hand shops along with a pile of Michael Moorcocks - I picked this up on the strength of the author's name and because of the blurb on the back (more on this later).

I read Bug Jack Barron years ago and was really impressed by the thoughtfulness and energy of the story. Agent of Chaos was written earlier and it definitely shows: this book is incredibly clunky and uninvolving. It's
Jun 06, 2013 Norrin2 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've got a feeling this is one of those books that you have to read at the right time in your life. And the right time is probably freshman year of high school, which, fortunately for me, was when I read it. And its lasting impact on my thought processes is immeasurable. To this day, I cannot believe wholly in any politician, and in any situation I can step back and take a larger view. Good and bad, this book changed my perception of reality and my process of perceiving. If you're not 14 years o ...more
Aug 20, 2015 Mitchell rated it really liked it
Interesting to see reviews that put this in a Heinlein tradition when it is a very direct critique of the technocratic authoritarianism of works like "The Roads Must Roll." And while the prose is not as vivid and idiosyncratic as Spinrad's later work, it is very serviceable here. The character development is on par with most SF: fuller than Asimov or Clarke, thinner than Dick, but not wasted like the pointless verbosity of Kim Stanley Robinson and other current by-the-pounders. Thematically it i ...more
Nov 15, 2015 Jack rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of early science fiction
Another book I read in the 1970's. It spawned the "pie-in-your-face" movement of political activism during that time. Not one of Spinrad's best, but certainly influential to the Baby Boomers that were either in high school or college at the time it was written (1967) when we still had the "Leave It To Beaver" mindset.

I've noticed that those giving this book a good review are of my generation (that lived through all the socio-political upheaval) and many-to-most of the bad reviews are from people
John E. Branch Jr.
Feb 27, 2012 John E. Branch Jr. rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
The Science Fiction Encyclopedia, which I now turn to frequently in assessing my earlier reading, unceremoniously dismisses Agent of Chaos as a "commercial Space Opera…which depicts a garish Dystopia en passant" and says no more. When I read Norman Spinrad's early novel, in the late 70s or early 80s, it did more for me than that reading captures. It seemed vaguely political, even vaguely philosophical, in the way it described a conflict.

There's a big, bad government ruling Earth with a heavy han
David Gross
Aug 01, 2007 David Gross rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Heinleinians, Randoids, fnord-spotters
Shelves: sci-fi-esque, fiction
A space ships & laser blaster scrappy rebels against the empire story.

You gotta be able to tolerate monologues like: "Once the League is eliminated, we'll be able to go on to establish absolute control of the entire human race. Look how far we've come already! Three short centuries ago, the human race was on the verge of destroying itself. The Greater Soviet Union and the Atlantic Union were ready to fly at each other's throats. If the Sino-Soviet war hadn't brought them to their senses ...
Apr 08, 2008 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mad scientists, discordians, jammers, secret societies, social protesters
Recommended to Steve by: found it at a book fair long ago
I read this book in Junior High School and it made me question everything I knew at the time (which wasn't much), while embracing a life of pranks. In retrospect, this book was a turning point for me in that it shed light on politics, anarchy, chaos and more. In a Post 9/11 world the final act of the Brotherhood of Chaos might be considered just too much. But fuck that- it's fiction.

In retrospect, it doesn't seem as revolutionary as it did to my eager young mind at the time. But it remains thoug
Ben Sutter
Fairly flat characters who monologue their predetermined ideas throughout the entire book, with very little if any character development. Spinard's futuristic world draws heavily on Cold War motifs in a way that seems somewhat silly and unbelievable. Most of the plot points were fairly predictable.

There were no female characters in the whole book. I also found the slaughter of many unnamed characters to be poor, lazy writing.
Apr 10, 2013 Abraham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Favorito instantáneo. Al principio parecer ser otra novelita de la época de la guerra fría sobre sistemas totalitarios surgidos a partir del crecimiento de la URSS. Otra "1984", pues. Sin embargo, pronto se nota que no es así. Una ciencia ficción distópica diferente a lo común, con un uso muy inteligente de la sociología combinada con la teoría del caos y la entropía introducida en los sistemas sociales. Muy, muy recomendable.

«Todo conflicto social es un escenario en el cual actúan tres fuerzas
Jul 11, 2015 Luigi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was wondering if Norman was still around and what he would think of ISIS and today's politics. Turns out he is still alive at 75 and wrote Osama the Gun in 2007, will have to find a copy.
Alessio bozza
Mar 14, 2014 Alessio bozza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
un bel libro, in poche pagine analizza molto bene il concetto di caos ed entropia, se vogliamo trovare una pecca sta nella sua ambientazione davvero poco sentita e caratterizzata.
David Stone
Feb 03, 2015 David Stone rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
A Classic!

Not much character development in this tale of diametrically opposing concepts intended to guide humankind. I felt sympathy for the forces of order, doomed to fail in a chaotic universe.
May 08, 2015 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
1987 grade D+
Mckenzie Langford
Jul 05, 2015 Mckenzie Langford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steven Peterson
Interesting work from sci-fi author Norman Spinrad. This was an earlier work, and his craft improved with time. Nonetheless, an interesting work examining some political issues.The Hegemony is a dictatorship, ensuring order. It is opposed by a rather weak Democratic League. And, then, there is a third party--the enigmatic Brotherhood of Assassins. This is not one of Spinrad's great works, but it is provocative and shows hints of the talent that was to be mmanifest as his work matured.
Jun 17, 2009 Scott rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh...This is just really, really bad. Spinrad pretty much has the characters say that they are archetypes. It doesn't help that the book is written at a 6th-7th grade level.
And I've never understood why science fiction writers have interstellar spacecraft communicating via radio.
Mar 08, 2012 Alex rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
More like a 2.5 in reality, but goodreads doens't do half-stars. While the general idea of the story is alright, the characters aren't very interesting and Spinrad doesn't expand on his the basis of the story as much as I would have liked. Skip this one.
Erik Graff
Jun 21, 2009 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sf fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
Spinrad has a more intellectual approach to science fiction than many in the field, even in this early (1967) space opera.
Mar 23, 2015 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Some neat concepts. Might have been three stars if there had been a single female character in the entire book.
Mar 13, 2012 Cati rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book, loved it, I think any review is useless, if you really like SF, you will find it all too interesting :)
May 11, 2012 Peter rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Very interesting book - bit dated in now but the concepts are still valid
Mr. Pe Mr. Pe
this book is great i recommend this to everyone
Dec 14, 2010 Pierre rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dutch
Conflict tussen de sterren
Thomas is currently reading it
Feb 02, 2016
Bryan added it
Jan 18, 2016
Jerome rated it it was ok
Jan 17, 2016
Melina Van Der Werf
Melina Van Der Werf rated it it was amazing
Jan 16, 2016
Heather Nelson
Heather Nelson marked it as to-read
Jan 14, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 14 15 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Those Who Watch
  • The Lifeship
  • Ballroom of the Skies
  • Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban (Film)
  • Iceworld
  • The Man with a Thousand Names
  • Gather Yourselves Together
  • Sunfall
  • Journey Beyond Tomorrow
  • The Brave Free Men
  • Starchild Trilogy
  • Cosmic Engineers
  • The Incal: The Epic Journey (The Incal, #4-6)
  • The Seedling Stars
  • Icaro, Vol. 1
  • Caesar's Column: A Story of the Twentieth Century
  • Windfall
  • Nothing Sacred
Born in New York in 1940, Norman Spinrad has been an acclaimed SF writer.

Norman Spinrad, born in New York City, is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science. In 1957 he entered City College of New York and graduated in 1961 with a Bachelor of Science degree as a pre-law major. In 1966 he moved to San Francisco, then to Los Angeles, and now lives in Paris. He married fellow novelist N. Lee Woo
More about Norman Spinrad...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »