The Chaos Function (Paperback)
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“This crackling road trip through the apocalypse offers thrills all the way to its explosive, satisfying finale.” —Publishers Weekly
“Relentless, terrifying, and affecting, this book left me feeling like I’d been strapped to the front of the car like Mad Max in Fury Road—not realizing that it was taking me to an emotional ending that would leave me gutted. I’ve been a huge fan of Skillingstead’s work for years, but in The Chaos Function he’s outdone himself!” —Daryl Gregory, award-winning author of Spoonbenders
For readers of the best‑selling novels Sleeping Giants and Dark Matter, an intense, high‑stakes thriller with a science‑fiction twist that asks: If technology enabled you to save the life of someone you love, would you do so even if it might doom millions?
Olivia Nikitas, a hardened journalist whose specialty is war zones, has been reporting from the front lines of the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. When Brian, an aid worker she reluctantly fell in love with, dies while following her into danger, she’ll do anything to bring him back. In a makeshift death chamber beneath an ancient, sacred site, a strange technology is revealed to Olivia: the power to remake the future by changing the past.
Following her heart and not her head, Olivia brings Brian back, accidentally shifting the world to the brink of nuclear and biological disaster. Now she must stay steps ahead of the guardians of this technology, who will kill her to reclaim it, in order to save not just herself and her love, but the whole world.
About the Author
JACK SKILLINGSTEAD’s Harbinger was nominated for a Locus Award for best first novel. His second novel, Life on the Preservation, was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award. He has published more than forty short stories to critical acclaim and was short-listed for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award and his work has been translated internationally.
“Olivia is a compelling, flawed character [and] the multiple apocalypses she creates feel all too plausible, as does the pain of her dilemma . . . Highly recommended for readers of dystopian stories, time-travel scenarios, and endings that cause them to rethink the entire book.”—Library Journal, starred review
“The horrifying but mundane end(s) of the world are rendered with powerful bleakness—making moments of human tenderness and kindness shine all the brighter.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[A] realistic and terrifying portrait of society’s swift unraveling in the face of disaster . . . This crackling road trip through the apocalypse offers thrills all the way to its explosive, satisfying finale.”—Publishers Weekly
“Skillingstead deftly balances frenetic pacing and characters’ philosophical debates on parallel futures, the butterfly effect, and probability choices in a dramatic and suspenseful story supported by an intelligent, witty, and reluctant hero. His exploration of themes related to the manipulation of time will attract fans of Philip K. Dick, and the novel will also appeal to readers who enjoyed Michael Crichton’s sf thrillers and viewers of Amazon’s The Man in theHigh Castle.”—Booklist
“The Chaos Function just flat-out knocked me back in my chair. The very best kind of action thriller meets hard sci-fi. A mind-bending jolt of high concept ideas injected straight to your frontal cortex. One of the best books I’ve ever read.”—Ted Kosmatka, author of The Flicker Men
“Relentless, terrifying, and affecting, this book left me feeling like I’d been strapped to the front of the car like Mad Max in Fury Road—not realizing that it was taking me to an emotional ending that would leave me gutted. I’ve been a huge fan of Skillingstead’s work for years, but in The Chaos Function he’s outdone himself!”—Daryl Gregory, award-winning author of Spoonbenders
“Deftly marrying genres, Jack Skillingstead has given us a science-fiction thriller for the ages. Journalist Olivia Nikitas discovers a centuries-old conspiracy with the means to alter the very fabric of time. Dodging from war-ravaged Syria across a suddenly apocalyptic United States, she must fight to survive in a changeable world where she alone knows what’s real. With a plot as mind-bending as pharmaceutical-quality Phillip K. Dick, The Chaos Function is an astonishment from page one to its explosive climax.”—James Patrick Kelly, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards
“A compelling near-future thriller of hard choices and unintended consequences. This is science fiction that feels all too real. Highly recommended.” —Ramez Naam, award-winning author of the Nexus trilogy