Fool's War

Fool's War

Zettel, Sarah

Language: English

Publisher: Aspect

Published: Mar 31, 1997

Words: 165352
Pages: 607

Description:

In this New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a strange new life form threatens all of humanity, and only a fool would stand in its way Katmer Al Shei has done well with the starship *Pasadena*, cutting corners where necessary to keep her crew paid and her journeys profitable. But there are two things she will never skimp on: her crew—and her fool. For a long space journey, a certified Fool’s Guild clown is essential, to amuse, excite, and otherwise distract the crew from the drudgeries of interstellar flight. Her newest fool, Evelyn Dobbs, is a talented jester. But does she have enough wit to save mankind? In the computers of the *Pasadena*, something is emerging. The highly sophisticated software that makes interstellar travel practical is playing host to a new form of artificial intelligence, one with its own mind, its own needs, and its own desperate fears. Combatting this terrifying new threat becomes the fool’s secret fight. Evelyn Dobbs’s personal war might just cost Katmer Al Shei everything, and everyone, she holds dear. But if they fail, humanity itself is lost for good. Amazon.com Review Sarah Zettel's first novel (*Reclamation*) showed her to be an up-and-coming author with promise. She delivers on that promise with *Fool's War*, a book that is never what it seems. The main character--Dobbs--is a modern Fool, someone who serves as both entertainer and psychoanalyst for the ships that ply the stars. When the ship on which Dobbs is serving accidentally delivers a rogue artificial intelligence to an unsuspecting planet, a secret that has held the galaxy together will threaten to tear it apart. This is a grand, fast-moving story with delightful characters and insightful social commentary. And darn fun to read. From Publishers Weekly In "alien contact" science fiction, the aliens come from far off, light-years away. But what if the aliens were closer to home? What if the next great life-form with which we must contend isn't from the stars but from our hard drives? In Zettel's second novel (after Reclamation), Katmer Al Shei, owner and engineer of the starship Pasadena, and her crew become pawns in an elaborate scheme to bring human beings and artificially intelligent life-forms into deadly conflict. But the real protagonist ends up being Evelyn Dobbs, the ship's Fool, who, hired to amuse the crew for its long voyage, finds herself trying to contain the threat of war. The influence of Asimov's robot stories and C.J. Cherryh's elaborate, sophisticated spaceship adventures are both evident here. But while Zettel's skills as a teacher of technical writing are very handy when it comes to computer terminology, her human characters are less well developed. Still, Zettel's story has a lively pace and gains more than enough momentum to keep readers from noticing the time. Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.