Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Operation Chaos (Operation Otherworld, #1)” as Want to Read:
Operation Chaos (Operation Otherworld, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Operation Chaos (Operation Otherworld #1)

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  634 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
The prequel to the popular Operation Luna.

In a war waged against black magic, a werewolf and his witch wife are called upon to neutralize an enemy's ultimate weapon--the world's most powerful demon.

Set in a fantasy alternate history United States where magic and technology combine. Werewolfery is not only hereditary, but a recessive gene, and the polarized component of mo
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 8th 1999 by Orb Books (first published 1971)
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 Operation Chaos, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Operation Chaos

The Broken Sword by Poul AndersonTau Zero by Poul AndersonThree Hearts and Three Lions by Poul AndersonThe Corridors of Time by Poul AndersonBrain Wave by Poul Anderson
Best of Poul Anderson
14th out of 57 books — 9 voters
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.The Sparrow by Mary Doria RussellTagged by Joseph M. ChironHis Dark Materials by Philip PullmanThe Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
SF & Theology
110th out of 212 books — 302 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,674)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
SF Grand Master, Poul Anderson, at his idea-cultivating, world-germinating, yarn-spinning just should ignore the somewhat tepid, plywood character development.

This is head, shoulders and naughty bits above any other Anderson effort for pure synapse-satisfying, brain-boggling creativity. This book has a warehouse full of "holy shit that's cool" ideas that somehow manage to fit together into a phantasmagoric, adrenaline-fueled funhouse of awesome.

Operation Chaose is rea
May 07, 2016 Lyn rated it liked it
I have read other reviewers say that Poul Anderson is a great idea man if not always a great writer of stories.

I have always been impressed with his story telling skills but I can whole heartedly agree with their first part, he comes up with original and well thought out fantastic and science fiction ideas. Operation Chaos was first published in 1971 but was put together from short stories first released in the fifties and sixties. Anderson introduces a world where magic and technology live sid
Jul 30, 2015 Manny rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Their child has been kidnapped by a demon from a universe with highly non-Euclidean geometry, so they summon up the spirits of Riemann, Bolyai and Lobachevsky to assist them and then head off through the transdimensional portal to get her back. As one does.
Sep 08, 2015 Werner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of action fantasy
Years before we read this book, Barb and I had read and greatly liked Poul Anderson's The High Crusade, and I'd read and liked a few of his short stories. But this book wasn't on my radar, and I'd never have discovered it but for a recommendation from a Goodreads friend back when I was new to this site. I've forgotten now who my benefactor was; but on the strength of that recommendation, I put the book on my BookMooch wishlist, and eventually got a copy. Last month, when I was looking around for ...more
Mary Catelli
I like the frame on this one. They are projecting his story outward in case there are alternate universes out there, to warn us. He discusses what he probably has in common with the recipient -- but you should hang on, even if you know how steam boilers work or who won World War II, because too much information is better than too little.

Then he talks about his part in the push near Oregon. . . yup, you don't know who fought World War II, or where. But our hero, being a werewolf, is pulled in on
Sep 08, 2015 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in the 70s and have (without knowing the title) been holding it up as a deft mingling of science and fantasy. The magic even follows some "scientific" rules, such as conservation of mass and energy.
Jenny Schwartzberg
I've had this book since the early seventies on my keeper shelves. I forget how many times I've happily reread it. It's four connected stories with interludes woven into an episodic novel. Great fun, set in a world where magic became a science after 1900, so up to 1900 it shares a common history with our world then takes a sharp turn left. It echoes the attitudes of the 1960s and 1970s vis-a-vis family, women, and work but presents a very strong woman in the heroine. The cover of my copy is rath ...more
Oct 16, 2008 Stephen rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite fantasy books. Made from a selection of short stories, Anderson mixes magic and technology in ways I'd never considered before this book. The set-up in the intro, explaining the alternate history is priceless. Of course, our story would be nothing without great characters like our werewolf protagonist and the unforgettable witch, Ginny. The sequel is good, too, but this is ground-breaking stuff. I need to read it again.
***Dave Hill
May 15, 2013 ***Dave Hill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: urban fantasy lovers; romance lovers
Shelves: text

I picked this as a "read out loud in the car" book for the family as we traveled around, consciously picking a book I loved and that was an inspiration for some of my own writing. It was enjoyed by all, so far as I could tell, though reading it aloud made me conscious of (a) some interestingly epic prose styles that Anderson used, and (b) some substantial infodump passages, which are usually interesting reviews of the historic differences in our worlds, but which still drag the actio
Feb 15, 2010 Juushika rated it liked it
In a world where fantasy is as real as our own science, Steve is a werewolf and Ginny is a highly-skilled witch. Drawn together by need and love, this husband/wife team battle elementals and demonsbut a darker threat may hide behind their enemies. A series of short stories drawn together in one volume, Operation Chaos has an unusual and promising take on science-fantasy, but it's altogether unconvincing and plagued by uneven pacing. As other reviews indicate, my response is not the majority opin ...more
Nov 14, 2012 Louisa rated it it was ok
Shelves: libertarian
My rating is really too kind, and just because I liked the first story (the book is a fix-up novel of four earlier shorter works). That first bit was new to me in the Anderson library -- a contemporary world where magic replaced technology, so brooms and flying carpets replaced aircraft, etc. It had demons and magic spells as a werewolf and virgin witch fought off the evil Caliphate that had invaded the good ol' U.S.

That was fun and interesting, but the further stories and novelisation just took
John Loyd
Apr 08, 2015 John Loyd rated it really liked it
Operation Chaos (1971) 282 pages by Poul Anderson

Operation Chaos was composed of three novelettes and a novella that were integrated pretty seamlessly. Looking at the title page told me that the first story was written in 1959, and the last one in 1969. Don't know if Anderson wrote connecting pages or not.

The setting is a world with magical powers and were creatures, witches, etc. The protagonist, Steve Matucek is a werewolf, able to change into wolf form pretty much at will. The first mission h
Jeff Greason
May 31, 2016 Jeff Greason rated it really liked it
I've greatly enjoyed almost everything by Poul Anderson. This is as close to Anderson channeling Heinlein -- but the Heinlein of Magic Inc and Jonathan Hoag -- as anything else. Creative parallel world story, but for once, not quite enough of the worldbuilding work is shown. I have the definite sense that Anderson knew what made his fictional world divergent from ours, but never felt the need for some exposition that brought the reader along. So it didn't feel quite as well grounded as, for exam ...more
Sep 20, 2011 Joris rated it liked it
humor flavoured proto urban fantasy with a twist
I am glad that I read indicia first because it mitigated what I would have otherwise judged as a disjointed first half of the book. Parts of the novel were published as separate stories in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1956, 1959 and 1969 before being combined into this novel and published in 1971. It is very easy to tell while reading where the breaks between the separate stories are but knowing the history beforehand ensured that it wasn't disruptive to me even though it was d ...more
Iuliana Manea
Feb 09, 2014 Iuliana Manea rated it really liked it
This was a nice break in my reading routine. The first pages were like... I had to re-read some of the parts, because they were so funny.
Imagine a world where science is replaced by magic. This is no Harry Potter book, adults are using magic in everyday life.
I really liked the way that paranormal beings and activities are described. Zombies, werewolves and witches and wizards. It's more of an adventure book, narrated in first person by Steven Matucheck, the werewolf.
It's actually a fun and easy
Morgan Alreth
Mar 27, 2013 Morgan Alreth rated it really liked it
The blurb on Goodreads doesn't even give a good introduction to the book, much less give a clear picture of what to expect. Yes, the hero and heroine are a werewolf and a witch. Yes, magic and technology work together. Yes, they meet each other on an assignment to neutralize a demon. All of that is covered in the first, maybe the first couple of chapters.

After that, it starts to get interesting. Poul Anderson's greatest strength, in my opinion, has always been world building. An expert graphic
Andy Love
Apr 10, 2012 Andy Love rated it really liked it
Back in the 1940s and 1950s it seemed like every major SF author wrote a "magic as science" story; this one is probably my favorite. It's made up of four short stories, the first of which introduces Steve and Virginia, a werewolf and witch, fighting for the US in an analog of the Second World War (which in this world, the US is fighting against the Caliphate, which successfully invades the western US). Magical technology, made possible by technological developments in the 19th century which allo ...more
Mark R.
Sep 16, 2010 Mark R. rated it it was ok
Having never read anything by Poul Anderson ... I wish I'd started somewhere else. He's got a reputation for being a pretty fantastic sci-fi novelist, but this book never managed to catch my interest.

"Operation Chaos" is set in an alternate reality which mirrors ours, which has a Second World War that is quite different than the tradition Second World War. Everything is slightly different, and cute little references to normal human objects and inventions are given magical twists. It's all done c
Тази книжка е писана в далечната вече 1971 и на много от читателите вероятно ще се стори леко остаряла. Не за друго, а защото е много сбита, върти се предимно около идеите на автора, но за сметка на това героите са леко попретупани. И все пак си мисля, че романът заслужава внимание, защото се чете изненадващо бързо и незатормозяващо.

Малко преди края на Втората световна война на съвместна мисия са изпратени вещицата Вирджиния Грейлък и върколака Стивън Матучек. Задачата е да бъде неутрализиран из
Scott Vandrick
“Operation Chaos” is evidence that it is possible can overthink and overwrite a fast-paced, fantasy novel. Poul Anderson is intellectually gifted, with a dazzling imagination and a wonderful talent for language, but this novel, which is set-up to be a demon-human megabattle, trudges along at such an excruciatingly slow pace, it’s a challenge to stay engaged. A novel of potential and unfulfilled promise.
May 14, 2010 Jack rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
The striking thing about the stories (it's really three short stories and a novella) is how firmly they are rooted in the time they were written. Part one is very obviously a post-WWII story, part two is a mid-fifties 'veterans in college' setting, part three a newlywed piece from the same era, and part four is set in a late '60s civil unrest milieu.

The net effect to me was jarring. These stories are set in a world where magic is (re)discovered somewhere in the first half of the twentieth centu
Alfaniel Aldavan
An amazing breath of fantasy from Poul Anderson.

I *loved* this book. Its "what if" is Just Fun (tm): what if the human race wouldn't have gone the way of industrial revolution and giving value of physics/mathematics in scientific thinking, but instead, it was witchcraft who had "won" in medieval times? What if science would be science of psychical realm, not physical realm?

I loved this book. Ah, the idea alone is nothing speshul. Fun, fun, but the body-soul dualism has yielded many sub-theories
S. G.
Notes: First paperback edition. Date from copyright. Other sites list it as either 1971 or unknown. Hardcover was 1971, Berkley reprint in 1978. No artist listed, does look like Freas. (
Keeping this edition, since it's first paperback.
Garry Geer
Sep 29, 2015 Garry Geer rated it really liked it
Old Poul Anderson--one of the earliest examples of true "urban fantasy" back when Anderson was at the top of his game. It definitely feels dated now, but it works well in the context it was written. Adventureous for its time.

Jun 06, 2013 Jackie rated it it was amazing
Ah, this was a nice chance to revisit an old friend. I first read this book in the late 1970s and enjoyed greatly. It was nice to see that it had held up well. It’s a collection of 4 stories linked into a novel about Steve (a werewolf) and Ginny (a witch) and their adventures from meeting during “The War” to having to save their infant daughter from the forces of evil. The stories were written between 1956 and 1969 and give a vague sense of the times in which they were written without letting th ...more
Jun 22, 2014 Mars rated it it was amazing
A fun romp through an alternative reality, where magic rather than technology rules the world. (Yes, I do realize that this describes 95% of all fantasy books).
In this case a somewhat scientific approach is taken, which has also been tried by others, but Poul actually manages to pull it off surprisingly well.
All in all it was an enjoyable read, but it's really unclear how the introduction ties in - "i am using up what's left of my energy to transmit this", but once you finish the book you realiz
Jul 22, 2009 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Modern Fantasy Nerds
Shelves: science-fantasy
One of the early "Magic as Science (Fiction)" books see also The Case of the Toxic Spell dump. A highly enjoyable, pun-tastic, if slightly awkwardly timed book. What would really have saved this book and made it a classic of speculative fiction as opposed to an obscure footnote in a GURPS manual would have been about 200 more pages of supporting facts and character details. As it stands, one can barely care about anybody except the narrator and possibly his wife, let alone understand the world t ...more
S. G.
This is an earlier edition, but I'm keeping the later as well because the type is larger
Jun 16, 2016 Dantegideon rated it really liked it
Bit more old-fashioned values than I expected, but great otherwise.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 55 56 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Hoyt's Huns: July 2015 -- Operation Chaos -- spoilers allowed 3 3 Jul 08, 2015 08:35AM  
Hoyt's Huns: July 2015 -- Operation Chaos -- no spoilers 2 5 Jun 30, 2015 11:51PM  
  • Too Many Magicians (Lord Darcy, #2)
  • The Shattered Sphere (The Hunted Earth, #2)
  • Bite Me! A Vampire Farce
  • The Door in the Wall and Other Stories
  • The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump
  • The Ship of Ishtar
  • The Werewolf Principle
  • A Quest for Simbilis (The Dying Earth, #2.5)
  • Mosses from an Old Manse
  • The Overlords Of War
  • Doc Sidhe
  • Hitler Victorious: Eleven Stories of the German Victory in World War II
  • Sword and Sorceress XVII
  • Digital Knight
  • Swiftly
  • One for the Morning Glory
  • Wagner the Werewolf
  • Hereticus
Pseudonym A. A. Craig, Michael Karageorge, Winston P. Sanders, P. A. Kingsley.

Poul William Anderson was an American science fiction author who began his career during one of the Golden Ages of the genre and continued to write and remain popular into the 21st century. Anderson also authored several works of fantasy, historical novels, and a prodigious number of short stories. He received numerous a
More about Poul Anderson...

Other Books in the Series

Operation Otherworld (3 books)
  • Operation Luna (Operation Otherworld, #2)
  • A Midsummer Tempest

Share This Book

“Heaven is not as narrowly literal-minded as hell.” 4 likes
More quotes…