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Operation Chaos: A Novel Paperback – November 8, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; 1st edition (November 8, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312872429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312872427
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,256,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"One of science fiction's most revered writers." --USA Today

"Operation Chaos was one of the truly fine fantasies of the 1970s, a fantasy whose magic was so splendidly engineered that you felt it was as logical--and as likely--as our real technology." --Harry Turtledove, author of Between the Rivers

"Anderson has produced more milestones in contemporary science fiction than any one man is entitled to." --Stephen R. Donaldson

"One of science fiction's masters." --Starlog

From the Publisher

"Operation Chaos was one of the truly fine fantasies of the 1970s, a fantasy whose magic was so splendidly engineered that you felt it was as logical--and as likely--as our real technology."--Harry Turtledove, author of Between the Rivers

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Customer Reviews

This one is a true pleasure to read and to recommend.
Roger J. Buffington
If you've never read anything in the unusual genre of science fantasy that blends science fiction and magic, this is the place to start.
Claude Avary
Overall, I found these to be well-written and very entertaining stories.
Kurt A. Johnson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Claude Avary on January 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
If you've never read anything in the unusual genre of science fantasy that blends science fiction and magic, this is the place to start. It`s one of the classics of the unique genre.
This book consists of four connected novellas published between 1956 and 1969 in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction: "Operation Afreet," "Operation Salamander," "Operation Incubus," and the three-part "Operation Changeling." Anderson added linking material for book publication in the 70s.
Heroes Steve (a werewolf) and Virginia (his witch wife) fight against a demon being used as a superweapon in World War II, stop an elemental college prank gone amok, confront a succubus/incubus on their romantic getaway, and enter the hell dimension to save their daughter. The tone changes between the different segments: the college story is riotously funny and played almost strictly for laughs, while the lengthy final novella emphasizes heavy science, a deadly-serious quest, and thought-provoking satire on religious zeal gone wrong. But ultimately, I'm not complaining: this is top-notch science-fantasy and an example of what an incredible talen the late Poul Anderson was. His logical approach to fantasy makes magic and the supernatural into scientific forces that operate in his fictional universe the same way that modern technology operates in ours. The world of _Operation Chaos_ is recognizable as 20th-century America, except that magic is this world's science, and is treated in the same way that scientific theories and inventions are in our own. Anderson handles this difficult conceit to near perfection, writing fantasy with the techniques of science fiction.
Come on, take the ride into chaos!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
There are infinite number of time streams in the universe including one in which a large segment of the earth populace uses magic. In the first century BC, the physical rules governing magic were discovered. Two millenniums later, magic is considered a combination science and religion that centers on spells that harness supernatural energies.
In this modern world reside two individuals who will impact the future of civilization, which is why the Adversary keeps close watch over them. Werewolf Steve Matuchek and witch Ginny Greylock meet just outside Trollsberg, Oregon. They are in a battle with the Saracen Caliphrate, an extremist Morlen sect. The duo must retake the town if they are to drive the sect out of the United States. Ginny and Steve succeed in their endeavor, and fall in love with one another during their encounters. They marry and beget a baby. However, a few years later that infant is kidnapped and taken to Hell. Steve and Ginny follow in hot pursuit of their beloved child.
The reprinting of the 1970's OPERATION CHAOS shows the highly regarded novel passes the time test required of being labeled a classic. Science Fiction giant Poul Anderson paved the way for many of the next two decades' great writers such as Huff, Hamilton, and Lisle with works like this one where an alternate earth seems physically real. The engrossing story line focuses on Steve and Ginny, who appear to be real persona in spite of their supernatural tendencies. Mr. Anderson's novels retain their freshness and that make him a hall of fame level of story teller.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Roger J. Buffington TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
This one is a true classic of the fantasy genre. The premise, however, is straightforward: the novel takes place in an alternate universe much like our own except for one thing: here, magic exists as a practical means of doing things, and various human beings are adepts at various types of magic. The protagonist is a true werewolf, his co-protagonist girlfriend/wife is a witch.

There is a plot and a conflict, and this one is great fun and quite interesting. The prose is also superb, which makes this fantasy novel an enjoyable page-turner, very unlike most fantasy novels, at least in my opinion. Here Anderson proves that he was very capable of writing either "hard" SF (for which he is probably best known) or Grade-A fantasy. Not many authors can do that, and perhaps none as well as Anderson. This one is a true pleasure to read and to recommend.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Edward Alexander Gerster VINE VOICE on November 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
In 1971, Poul Anderson combined a number of his stories of Steve (the werewolf husband) and Virginia (a witch of great strength and beauty) into a novel which is unique in that it is as powerful and relevant today as it was 30 years ago. In fact, isnt there a similar team on Buffy, The Vampire Slayer?
The adventures of this dynamic duo are exciting and fun, while Poul Anderson expounds wonderfully humorous parodies of modern society in the alternate reality in which the novel is set. The Orb edition is a wonderful way to keep this book around and share with your friends. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kurt A. Johnson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
Among the many short stories penned by award-winning author Poul Anderson (1926-2001) are a series of stories about Steven Matuchek (a werewolf), and Virginia Graylock (a witch), who inhabit an Earth where magic is studied and employed just like any other technology. In 1971, these four short stories were combined into one book – Operation Chaos.

In Operation Afreet (first published in 1956), Steven and Virginia meet during the great war against the Saracen Caliphate, when they are sent on a commando operation to stop the enemy’s use of a powerful monster.

In Operation Salamander (1957), Steven and Virginia must team up to stop a rampaging fire creature, before it can burn down the whole town.

Operation Incubus (1959) pits newlyweds Steven and Virginia against a demon that is determined to put a stop to them...permanently.

And finally, in Operation Changeling (1969), when Steven and Virginia return home after foiling the machinations of an evil new political movement, they find Virginia’s familiar nearly killed and their child exchanged for a simulacrum. It seems that a demon has stolen their daughter, and if they want it back they must be prepared to storm the gates of Hell itself!

Overall, I found these to be well-written and very entertaining stories. Indeed, the absolute crown jewel of the book is the final story. Written in the 1960s (which Mr. Anderson described as “that low dishonest decade”), the opposing “Johannine Church” is filled with “long-haired men and short-haired women, bathless bodies and raggedy clothes” carrying signs about peace, love and harmony, and bringing only chaos, hatred and violence. And worse, these simple souls on the frontlines don’t even realize that they are foot soldiers for the forces of evil.
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