I just read this book a few years back, but it's a fairly old one (maybe late 80's?). It starts with an attack from some very large unknown type of ship. The main thing I remember about the plot is that intergalactic navigation (especially through the voids between) was done by reading "chaos" waves or particles. I believe Chaos was actually in the title, but I'm not having any luck in my google searches.

Anyone able to identify the book from my vague memory of it?

Edit: Some ISFDB lists provided by user14111 in the comments have made me doubt whether "chaos" was actually in the title, so that may not be the case.

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    Huh? First it's "fairly old", then "maybe late 80s"? Whatever. If you think "chaos" is in the title why do you bother with google? Why don'y you just search the ISFDB for a list of SF novels with chaos in the title? (Wait did you mean the 1880s? I guess that could be considered fairly old.)
    – user14111
    Aug 25, 2020 at 14:59
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    Click here for a list of English language SF titles containing "chaos" and published in the 1980s: isfdb.org/cgi-bin/…
    – user14111
    Aug 25, 2020 at 15:04
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    Here's the list for the 1990s: isfdb.org/cgi-bin/…
    – user14111
    Aug 25, 2020 at 15:06
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    All-time list (well, up to 2007) in chronological order: isfdb.org/cgi-bin/…
    – user14111
    Aug 25, 2020 at 15:08
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    "Chaos waves" feature in the David Brin novel Heaven's Reach but they are an impediment to navigation not the means of navigation. Aug 25, 2020 at 15:41

1 Answer 1


I’m going to guess that the book is older than you remember, and is The Patterns of Chaos by Colin Kapp, from 1972. It does start with an attack, and it includes the use of chaos waves for very long-range navigation (actually weapon targeting).

The plot hinges on a fictional science, the study of the entropic "patterns of Chaos", which allows predictions of events with an accuracy that was not before possible. Both Earth and the Destroyers—and specifically Bron himself—are discovered to be the target of an extraterrestrial interstellar murder campaign that was hatched 700 million years ago.

  • That's the one! Thank you! Looks like it was older than I thought
    – tuxmachina
    Aug 25, 2020 at 16:46
  • There is also a sequel, The Chaos Weapon, sharing the same universe but with little connection to the first novel. Aug 26, 2020 at 11:03

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