Field of Chaos
Field of Chaos is a compilation of two novella works written by Tom Barbalet in 1993. The first novella deals with a fictionalized account of Barbalet's experiences writing anti computer virus software for the Australian government. This anti-viral software was the basis of Barbalet's Noble Ape cognitive simulation. The second novella is a non-fiction account of Barbalet's experiences in a revolutionary commune in Elands in northern New South Wales.
Field of Chaos
Field of Chaos is both the name of the final published work but also the name of the 1993 novella that detailed Barbalet's experiences writing anti-viral software. The novella was written in five different accounts. The one published represents the fourth account. The novella originally started as a non-fiction novel of some length however through the explicit descriptions of a number of local hacking figures, including a young Julian Assange, the novel was re-written as a fictionalized novella to avoid any legal issues.
Field of Chaos is set in a fictional country called Debauturia, referred to by the teenage participants in the novella as the Created Nation. Much of the mythology through the novella is based on conspiracist views including the Hoover deity loosely based on J. Edgar Hoover. The conspiracist mythology used in Field of Chaos is still prevalent in the terminology used by Assange.
The novella starts with the lead character, Andrew, discovering a series of computer viruses that link the government with a violent gang of hackers. This connection exposes a series of interactions that put Andrew's life in danger while he also deals with the constant harassment of the government. The novella explores teenage identity issues in the context of the dark and looming fate that Andrew finds himself dealing with until the novella's conclusion.
Andrew - the lead character, loosely based on Barbalet, is a young anti-viral author and high school student
Marc - his feral friend
Tristan - a government employee who hires Andrew to cure some computer viruses
Nathan - the leader of a secretive government organization
Just Call Me Jesus
The second novella in Field of Chaos is a non-fiction account of Barbalet and his friend Gordon traveling to Elands in northern New South Wales during the period of the Wingham Forest Action (WFA) blockade. Although the blockade is an incidental component of the novella, the story revolves around Barbalet's interaction with Kingston, a coming-of-age resident of Elands who is bent on forming a revolutionary army in the vision of Field of Chaos. Barbalet must survive and understand his writing as a work of fiction that may motivate strong reactions.
Tom - the author
Gordon - used as the basis of the Marc character in Field of Chaos
Kingston - an Elands local and the revolutionary leader
Forrest - Kingston's brother
Although Field of Chaos was written in 1993, it was copyrighted in 2010 and published in 2011. Barbalet provided a continued description of moving the writing from a series of text files into a published form through the Stone Ape podcasts in 2010. One of the running themes through the discussion of Field of Chaos is whether Julian Assange is a character in the writing. Although Barbalet initially denied the possibility, an account of hackers targeting a child pornography internet ring and supplying this information to police (which features briefly in Field of Chaos) appears to have included Assange.
Barbalet has indicated he will publish the sequels to the book in the next few years.
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- Butcher, Steve (2011-02-12). "Assange helped our police catch child pornographers". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 2011-03-17.
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