Humanity is organised into a bleak and clinically brutal Empire. The novel focuses on a frustrated group of libertarian anarchists who live on the planet Victoria. By the end, their politically futile activities elicit from the reader a mixed emotional response. There is a sense of pathos, since all the moves in the game are foreknown and controlled by the rulers of the Empire, as becomes apparent in the final chapter, while the book's revolutionaries cannot even understand each other, let alone overthrow an omnipotently entrenched system. At the same time, there is a strong sense of dignity and courage, and this is magnified rather than diminished by the depictions of human weakness. Valencies, then, represents a struggle against Empire, a struggle that can never amount to more than futile gestures. The narrative is dominated by the characters' pranks, games, and parodies, and the complexities of their love lives. The incomprehension between person and person is suggested not only by the book's focus upon the difficulties between spirited Anla and dispirited Ben, and those between vulnerable Theri and gentle Kael, but also by the cunning juxtaposition of narrative viewpoints, which enables Barnes and Broderick to weave for the reader a delicate web of understanding of the characters' misunderstandings."
Used availability for Damien Broderick's Valencies
March 2013 : USA Paperback
October 1983 : Australia Paperback
March 2013 : Canada, UK Kindle edition