Atlas Shrugged Chapter 29: The Generator

What a strange and silly chapter. It feels like Rand is getting as tired of this book as I am.

Chapter summary: Stadler decides to seize power by taking over Project X. He gets there to find Cuffy Meigs, drunk and also trying to seize power through Project X. There’s a brief argument during which Stadler, who heretofore has denied association with the project and who had little to do with its development, claims that he invented it. Meigs, in a drunken rage, pulls the wrong lever, and destroys everything in a 100 mile radius (while everything else is vaporized instantly, Stadler lives long enough to question his fate). Meanwhile, Ferris and Friends take John off to an undisclosed location to torture him until he breaks and agrees to lead everyone. Dagny calls Francisco, then formally comes over to the Galt Side. New York collapses into anarchy. John fails to break, so James does instead.

Rand’s over-the-top caricatures are egregiously so in this chapter. Little of the behavior of the antagonists made sense to me, or felt real within the confines of how they’d previously been portrayed (except the scantly-described Cuffy Meigs). Jim’s moment of clarity felt especially forced. This was perhaps my least favorite chapter since part one, if not my least favorite overall.

It really did feel all the world to me like Rand was facing an editorial deadline and Writer’s Block, and just wrote stream-of-consciousness.

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