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The Poetry of Chaos, Lust and Science

11/11/2004. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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Just as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy took us on a romp through existential musings on reality, life and the meaning of it all, science fiction's latest installment of tongue-in-cheek philosophy is The Combat Poets of Maya, penned by Bill Johnson, about a war between a colony of artists and the bureaucrats who seek to control their expression for the good of society.

Johnson describes the book as a project inspired and begun years ago, during a time when he was immersed within the fringe literary scene; sleeping on a foam mat in the back of a restaurant that hosted readings attended by some names that have become synonymous with "street poetry."

Populated by a host of characters that slip blithely from high-tech battle gear to battling each other for a chance to share their latest prose and obsessions, The Combat Poets of Maya asks some age-old questions: What is art? And is art necessary to the human condition?

Set on a planet that's a fulcrum in the struggle between the stringent control of hierarchy and the necessary anarchy of free expression, Combat Poets of Maya delights in the lack of solid answers, using characters to bring us to a resolution which the author reckons we would be fortunate to realise here on Earth.

This is the first published work of fiction by Bill Johnson, a writer who has previously been knocking about the US Northwest touting himself as a story analyst, screenwriting teacher and the non-fiction author of A Story Is A Promise.

For more information about the novel, visit

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