Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Plan for Chaos

Title: Plan For Chaos

Author: John Wyndham

Number of pages: 234

Started: 27 June 2010

Finished: 6 July 2010

Opening words:

Lois looked up from the switchboard as I went by.

“Oh, hey there!—Limey!” she said.

I turned back, reluctantly.

“Look,” I told her. “Didn’t somebody once call this a melting-pot? So on account of that, couldn’t you just let a guy do his melting quietly?”

She thought about it. Head a little on one side. Gold hair like sliding water across a cheek like young roses. Very effective.

“Takes time, doesn’t it?” she said. “I guess Limeys have a kinda high melting point.—Got more corners than most, too.”

“Like to see my passport?” I inquired.

She shook her head.

“I know: got an eagle on it. All the same, you talk Limey, you sorta think Limey. I guess you most likely kiss Limey, too.” She looked speculative.

“I go on trying,” I told her.

For more on Plan for Chaos, look here.

Plot summary:

In a city that could well be New York, a series of identical women are found dead in suspicious circumstances. Magazine photographer Johnny Farthing, who is reporting on the suspected murders, is chilled to discover that his fiancĂ©e looks identical to the victims too – and then she disappears. As his investigations spiral beyond his control, he finds himself at the heart of a sinister plot that uses cloning to revive the Nazi vision of a world-powerful master race… Part detective noir, part dystopic thriller, Plan for Chaos reveals the legendary science fiction novelist grappling with some of his most urgent and personal themes.

What I thought:

I am a big fan of John Wyndham, but even as such, I knew that this book was not likely to be one of his best. This book was a previously unpublished book that was written by John Wyndham at the same time as The Day of the Triffids (a brilliant book), but no publisher would take it. This did not bode well.

The start of the book was like reading a 1930s American detective novel (think Dashiel Hammett or similar), but it wasn’t entirely convincing. However, Wyndham seemed to quietly drop the poor American accents etc part way through the novel and instead focus on the plot a bit more.

I am not sure that I found the book convincing or anywhere near as engaging as his other novels. I am pleased that I read it, purely because it was written by Wyndham, but I can’t help feeling that his publishers might have been wise not to let this novel take away from the glory that is Triffids.


Sarah said...

That puzzled me for a moment. I thought I had read alll the John Wyndham's but this title was new to me. Hm. Might give it a miss. The synopsis sounds intriguing but if it is not well executed could only be disappointing. I think I will stick with the remembered brilliance of Chrysalids et al.

Random Reflections said...

Sarah - when I saw it in the library, I was rather surprised, as I too thought I knew all the Wyndham books - and then I found out the background to this one.

I decided I would read it anyway, but for completeness sake, as it certainly is not on the same level as his other books. You might do best not to read it.

anothercookiecrumbles said...

I just read my first Wyndham last month, and thought it was fantastic (The Chrysalids, in case you're wondering). Not heard this one, but maybe I'm going to drop it off the radar intentionally as I go through the rest of his works.

Random Reflections said...

anothercookiecrumbles - congratulations on reading your first Wyndham book. The Chrysalids is a really good one, but I like The Day of the Triffids the best. What an adventure you have ahead of you.

I would really advise against reading this one, in case it puts you off reading some of his others.

I must catch up with your blog. I have been really busy in July so have got rather behind. I hope all is well.