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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 Rory Barnes's Valencies

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Paperback Editions

March 2013 : USA Paperback
Title: Valencies: A Science Fiction Novel
Author(s): Damien Broderick, Rory Barnes
ISBN: 1-4794-0048-3 / 978-1-4794-0048-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Borgo Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

October 1983 : Australia Paperback
Title: Valencies
Author(s): Rory Barnes, Damien Broderick
ISBN: 0-7022-1763-8 / 978-0-7022-1763-0 (Australia edition)
Publisher: Univ of Queensland Pr
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

March 2013 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition
Title: Valencies: A Science Fiction Novel
Author(s): Rory Barnes
Publisher: Wildside
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

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