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The Chaos Function

“...Olivia is a compelling, flawed character who is trying to save both her love and the world and is forced to make a terrible choice. The multiple apocalypses she creates feel all too plausible, as does the pain of her dilemma. VERDICT: Skillingstead’s (Harbinger) sf thriller revolves around chaos theory, the power of choice, and the price of love. Highly recommended for readers of dystopian stories, time-travel scenarios, and endings that cause them to rethink the entire book.”

​—Library Journal (*Starred Review)

"[A] harrowing sci-fi thriller. […] With lean prose, Skillingstead paints a realistic and terrifying portrait of society’s swift unraveling in the face of disaster, and Olivia’s emotional vulnerability mirrors the chaos inherent in the world around them. This crackling road trip through the apocalypse offers thrills all the way to its explosive, satisfying finale."

​—Publisher's Weekly

"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."


"[A] fun, thrilling, and powerful read that is one part action thriller, one part sci-fi tale, and one part Groundhog Day. […] You get some action, some exciting and imaginative twists about the nature of the probability machine, and a conclusion that’s both epic and intimate. The Chaos Function delivers both action-packed thrills and a profound meditation on the idea of choices and consequences."

Criminal Element

"... a compelling portrait of an America under ongoing nuclear bombardment, getting worse by the hour while Olivia and her companions are stuck on the road, trying to find some haven where she can recover enough to try again. It's a suspenseful and compelling read."

–Sci fi magazine

"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 and futurist.

"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 the High Castle."


"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, award-nominated author of The Flicker Men

"The Chaos Function invites us to think about the tangle of paths that lead into or away from any given Bad Place. . . [Olivia’s] internal journey moves the novel away from a mere thrill-ride—though even the toughest connoisseur of rollercoasters will not be disappointed by the scary bits."


"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 an 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

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