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And Chaos Died

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  261 ratings  ·  27 reviews
His name was Jai Vedh; he was an Earthman. But his ship had blown up on a star voyage and now he was a castaway on an uncharted Earth-like planet.

There were people here: humans, apparently an Earth colony that had lost contact with the home world centuries before. They had developed telepathy, telekinesis, teleportation - and the damnedest social system you could imagine h
Paperback, 189 pages
Published May 1st 1979 by Berkley (first published 1970)
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3.45  · 
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 ·  261 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Sep 08, 2015 rated it liked it
A baffling and bizarrely dated (the protagonist is a gay man whose misogyny is taken as a natural outgrowth of his sexuality, and who must be "cured" if he is to transcend his mental limits) sf novel, out of print and rarely mentioned. Nowhere near as compelling as the novels to either side of it in Russ's body of work: the gripping survival narrative Picnic on Paradise and the unassailable masterpiece The Female Man. For Russ completists only.
Moira Russell
I interrupted my memorial reading of Castle in the Air (which, truth be told, wasn't grabbing me very much yet) to sneak a peek at And Chaos Died, Joanna Russ's first novel which I'd never read, after dreading news of her death all day yesterday and finally hearing it. I wound up ditching Castle entirely and finishing Chaos of an evening, which should tell you something about Russ's narrative power, which was inherent even in this, her first, deeply flawed novel.

If Le Guin's voice is often stat
May 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
There was a moment in the 70s of experimental science fiction, and And Chaos Died fits into it. It's a strange way for a novel to become dated--there was a time when our science fiction was weirder and more experimental than it is now. The book that comes to mind in terms of a similar experimental style is Witting's Les Guérillères (although that one is even weirder).

And Chaos Died expresses in form as well as content the experiences of a man who crash-lands on a planet of psionic humans and slo
This is classic Joanna Russ. I've mentioned her complex, often overwhelmingly dense prose before, and "And Chaos Died" is the epitome of that style. The opening of the story finds a ship crash-landed on a planet where everyone has the powers of telekinesis, teleportation, and telepathy. The rest of the book is an attempt to convey the experience of telepathy and telekinesis as a normal human would comprehend it. It's an insane goal. And somehow she succeeds. The book is crazy hard to follow, one ...more
Jul 04, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-on
I sometimes enjoy novels for which plot has lesser importance, whether explorations of milieu or character studies. But they need some kind of plot at least, or something compelling enough to make up for lack of a plot. Somehow I made it over a third the way through this, all the while expecting a plot of some sort to kick in, or even for one of the characters to finally express some kind of motivation or compelling characteristic--or do to something, anything, to get me to give a shit.


I th
Jay Daze
Sep 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt
Really wavers between three and four stars. Some really problematic stuff. For example a main character who seems to be 'cured' of his homosexuality, one moment he's not into women and then bam he leaves that behind and the novel never goes back to it - one of those assumptions that probably had a lot of strength at the time and now is abhorrent, laid next to real criticism of the 70s society Russ was writing in. She didn't stay with this view, her own ideas changed as society in general changed ...more
Mar 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
Man, what a disappointment. I gave up at page 65 after spending all those pages feeling as though I was in the SF equivalent of LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD. You know, characters you don't care about at all having scenes where something random but arch occurs for inexplicable resaons. I know Joanna Russ was an important and influential writer so I'll try another one or two books. But this was plain bad, it seemed to me. All the hoopla seems possibly a case of the emperor's new clothes.
Nate D
Nov 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: vaccuous insensate leisure dystopia, hopeless alienation
Recommended to Nate D by: Emilie
Russ' first, a thoughtful and provocative garble with high aims, dizzying and adept.

Thanks, Emilie, for a very elucidating Delany review that gives a little more conceptual form to Russ' very-alive brand of chaos here.
Magdalena Gilbert
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The greatest novel by my favorite woman science fiction novelist. Written in a very artful and complex prose style, sort of a cross between Virginia Woolf and Lawrence Durrell writing of a future Earth buried under teeming cities.
James Lick
There are some good moments in this book, but overall the story is a jumble of events happening seemingly at random.
Mark Enderle
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Psychotropic drugs would likely have resulted in a higher score.
Mark Collins
Apr 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
Did not enjoy--like being on an acid trip...very experimental.
McNevin Hayes
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This might become a 5 when I reread it, which I’m definitely going to, soon. Maybe even next...
Stephen B
Jan 08, 2016 rated it liked it
This was quite hard going in some parts, and got the better of me on occasions. Its very trippy, a critique of peoples lack of integration with nature and others. And you'd be hard pushed to find a better sense of what being telepathic might feel like. I enjoyed the female man much more though, and both have a touch of something like Vian (Froth on the Daydream) or Queneau (Zazie).
Aug 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
I can't remember the plot here. Time-traveling aliens crash-land on earth in the distant future? The prose is a poetic stream of consciousness that succeeds, in my opinion, in emulating time-travel and evokes the spirit of an unknown world seen through new eyes. It's been more than a decade since I read it but I remember it warmly.
May 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is delightfully indecipherable. The story shifts and flows and jumps and one is always straining to follow the extra-human experiences of the main character. Reading this book demands concentration and requires a bit of a mind-stretch. I also really enjoyed its vision of our future. Bizarre and yet reflecting a truth about the human condition that makes it seem possible.
Mar 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
Worth reading once, but I wouldn't recommend.
Although, it's a sci fi book written in 1970 that still comes off as completely original, and that's hard to pull off. I like seeing things from new perspectives.
Dec 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
Sep 18, 2007 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Cover art by Leo and Diane Dillon.
Nov 12, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: keep
She's recognized as the first (one of the first) woman science fiction writers.
Justin Howe
Apr 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Not the best Russ to start with, but it shines from time to time.
Sep 20, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Chaos died, and my 2013 reading challenge died along with it.
Dec 12, 2014 added it
A little confusing. More mental than feeling
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Lewis Major
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Scott Roberts
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Feb 26, 2015
Jen Julian
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Nov 15, 2015
Tim Bushell
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Aug 21, 2013
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Joanna Russ (February 22, 1937 – April 29, 2011) was an American writer, academic and feminist. She is the author of a number of works of science fiction, fantasy and feminist literary criticism such as How to Suppress Women's Writing, as well as a contemporary novel, On Strike Against God, and one children's book, Kittatinny. She is best known for The Female Man, a novel combining utopian fiction ...more
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