Frigid Fracas is a science fiction novel by Dallas McCord "Mack" Reynolds first published in 1963.
In any status-hungry culture, the level a man is assigned depends on what people think he is—not on what he is. And that, of course, means that only the deliberately phony has real status!
The Frigid Fracas is what the Cold War evolved into. The Communist East and the Capitalist West each ended up feeding their people, and both societies stratified into a caste system of the hereditary wealthy, the useful, and the huge mass of everyone else who just exist, drug themselves, and watch the entertainments.
Maj. Joe Mauser is a mercenary who fights in the pre-arranged battles (with real killing) to settle disputes between corporations. They are televised as entertainment.
He is ambitious and has already moved from the Low caste to the Middle, but he loves an Upper, and to gain status he has to become a "personality" in the fracas programs--to be noticed and made a hero. His plans go awry.
Frigid Fracas was first published in Analog Science Fact & Fiction March and April 1963.
Dallas McCord "Mack" Reynolds (1917-1983) was an American science fiction writer. His pen names included Dallas Ross, Mark Mallory, Clark Collins, Dallas Rose, Guy McCord, Maxine Reynolds, Bob Belmont, and Todd Harding.
His work is noteworthy for its focus on socioeconomic speculation, usually expressed in thought-provoking explorations of Utopian societies from a radical, sometime satiric, perspective. He was a considerably popular author from the 1950s to the 1970s, especially with readers of science fiction and fantasy magazines.
Reynolds was the first author to write an original novel based upon the 1966-1969 NBC television series Star Trek, named Mission to Horatius (1968).