The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

In the process of razing several buildings to make way for more warehouses for contraband materials, the Company accidentally burns an old bookseller to death. Jacobs, an associate near the top of the Company’s corporate ladder, knows of the accident and is blackmailed by Detective Koberg, a corrupt police officer, who has it in his power to ruin Jacobs. Hare is a lowly clerk who copies the Company’s steady flow of misinformation and is transferred to another department each time he figures out the filing system of his current department. He becomes Jacobs’ scapegoat in the falsifying of documents critical to the accident report. Anita Mason chose Hare’s name carefully. Metaphorically, his long, strong legs enable him to move quickly and far in his fast-accumulating awareness of the extent of corruption within the Company and its Big Brother-like Council.

Eerily contemporary, The War Against Chaos makes much of marginality. Those who predate the Company’s program in their thinking, who still value individuality, open discussion, and imagination, are called Marginals. They live apart from and are shunned by the majority. When Hare is indicted for his alleged theft of the documents Jacobs was rewriting, he is ousted and joins the Marginals. With them he finds warmth, humor, and a growing dread of the Company.

From the world of marginality, it is but a short way to the underground retreat of the Diggers, who live below the...

(The entire section is 521 words.)