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Fool's War (1997)

av Sarah Zettel

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner / Omnämnanden
4731553,274 (3.95)1 / 56
A New York Times Notable Book from the author of Reclamation: A young woman must face off against an alien force within her starship's computer. 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, a living entity. And it will do whatever it takes to survive . . .   Displaying "the influence of Asimov's robot stories and C. J. Cherryh's elaborate, sophisticated spaceship adventures," this is a science fiction masterpiece that asks the thought-provoking question, "What if the next great life-form with which we must contend isn't from the stars but from our hard drives?" (Publishers Weekly)  … (mer)
  1. 50
    Ancillary Justice av Ann Leckie (Dilara86)
    Dilara86: Sentient AIs and spaceships
  2. 10
    Dreamships av Melissa Scott (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: Both Fool's War and Dreamships (as well as Dreamships' companion novel, Dreaming Metal) consider the position of AI in society, but in different ways. Fool's War takes takes place in a world where sentient AI is a dangerous reality, and considers the theme of whether these AI can ever integrate with human society, while Dreamships takes place in a world where AI isn't quite there yet, and considers the question of whether AI are due "basic human rights" in a civilization where significant portions of humankind still don't have those same rights. Fool's War moves at a brisker pace than Dreamships, which takes a little while to pick up, but in my opinion the world of Dreamships hangs together a little better. Both have well-drawn, likable characters and are well worth the read.… (mer)
  3. 00
    Fools' Experiments av Edward M. Lerner (TheDivineOomba)
    TheDivineOomba: Fools Experiments is not nearly as good as Fool's War, but I think the artificial intelligence was done in a much better fashion.
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Visa 1-5 av 15 (nästa | visa alla)
A satisfying and self-contained science-fiction. Al Shei is the capable captain and engineer of the Pasadena, a message packet ship which roams Settled Space. She is both female and devout Muslim, but not in the least disempowered by either. At some time in the past Muslims have caused environmental havoc on Earth (the "Fast Burn" and the "Slow Burn") and have subsequently suffered persecution. The Pasadena is owned by a family business with a complicated structure, and the family connections good and bad drive a chunk of the plot. We learn about the crew, each with their own demons and dissatisfactions. 'Watch' Schyler governs operations on the Pasadena. 'Houston' or communications officer Lipinski guards the Pasadena's precious data cargoes. Al Shei's cousin Resit is an onboard lawyer, there to deal with local regulations and getting the crew out of legal scrapes. And Jemina Yerusha is the pilot, a 'Freer' who believes humanity should embrace technology and leave planetary life behind. Joining them is Evelyn Dobbs of the Fool's Guild -- a group which serves as psychologists and morale-builders on board ships.

One of the themes of the book is the classic Firefly-like 'Get a crew, get a job, keep flying' view of the business of operating a small trader. Another is the spontaneous emergence of Artificial Intelligences and the (mostly bad) reactions of humans to that. For the first there are many interesting observations about shipboard and station life. There are 'starbirds' (those who live on ships all the time), 'gerbils' (who run around the walls of a 'can' or space station) and 'groundhuggers' who spend their lives planet-bound. The second theme drives much of the plot and it propels the Pasadena into a nightmare run. Zettel does a great job of increasing the tension with each chapter, with quite a few twists. Al Shei, Yerusha and Dobbs are strong female protagonists, but all the characters are well-realised.

The conclusion was good but a bit rushed. I had a couple of problems with it but overall an excellent and interesting book. At times I would have liked a mini glossary or appendix about some of the factions and historical events referenced in the book such as the Slow Burn, but it was fine. The rich background seemed to set it up for a sequel but, maybe for the better this is a standalone book. ( )
  questbird | Feb 18, 2022 |
Zettel, Sarah. Fool’s War. Aspect, 1997.
Sarah Zettel’s Fool’s War is a space opera with several original features. First, we have a human-colonized galaxy in which the main political divides have to do with computer technology and artificial intelligence. In some places, AIs connect everybody all the time. In other places, smuggling computer parts can send you up the river for a long time. It takes artificial intelligence to run an interstellar spacecraft, but they are strictly controlled. Our heroine is the captain of a trading ship. She is a practicing Muslim who speaks Arabic and wears traditional dress. Finally, there are the Fools. Any ship that hopes to attract business needs to have a Fool in the crew. Fool’s offer slapstick entertainment, and like Medieval court jesters, they can speak truth to power in ways no one else can. They also act as mental health officers in ways that reminded me of Deanna Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation. But Fools are much more than they seem, and the plot of the story gradually reveals their true nature. The interplay between Captain Al Shei and Fool Evelyn Dobbs provides surprising depth. The world of the novel is complex and the wheels within wheels structure does it justice. 4 stars. ( )
  Tom-e | Oct 17, 2021 |
An exciting and fun story involving a Muslim ship captain, her crew, a fool, [b:artificial intelligence|27543|Artificial Intelligence A Modern Approach (2nd Edition)|Stuart J. Russell|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1167881696s/27543.jpg|1362] and then, not so fun, a war that hurts everyone deeply. I enjoyed the fun stuff, but then was a little disappointed that it had to be so sad by the end. (I know, not up to anything complex right now) The author writes well despite some editor/publisher typos. (January 24, 2004) ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
Admittedly, the premise is a little off-putting, I mean, fools capering about in space? Entertaining crews on long trips? But my bemusement didn't last long because the fool herself, Evelyn Dobbs, is instantly engaging (and convincing) and the the setting/premise beguiling: a spaceship run by a devout muslim woman. There is also an eerie prescience in the book, some islamic terrorist group unleashed an ecological disaster (called 'the slow burn' from which the earth, five hundred years down the road, is still recovering. Al Shei, the engineer, ship-captain is striving to make enough money on her mail packet runs (some communications cannot go any other way) to commission a spaceship in which she and her entire family can be together, in the meantime, she shares a ship (time-share style) with her brother-in-law who is a smuggler. This time he leaves a virus on board and all hell breaks loose. Suffice it to say, AI's come into being in certain stressful cyber-situations, the Fool's Guild is not quite what it appears to be, the brother-in-law got into mischief way over his head and yeah, the earth's very existence ends up in jeopardy. The characters are strong and the book does not flinch from some hard things, not a perfect happy ending, but a sensible one. Of course, I waded patiently through a lot of AI-inside-network imaginings and activities, but Zettel did pretty well with that too. **** ( )
  sibylline | Jul 17, 2018 |
Couldn't finish it, lost me early on with one of the crew listed as official ships fool. ( )
  Kevin678 | Nov 7, 2017 |
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To my parents Gail Elizabeth Zettel and Leonard Francis Zettel, Jr. with love and thanks.

Acknowledgements
I wish to thank Timothy B. Smith for his excellent technical advice, the Untitled Writers Group for their invaluable insights, and Dawn Marie Sampson Beresford for keeping the stories on the right track.
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A New York Times Notable Book from the author of Reclamation: A young woman must face off against an alien force within her starship's computer. 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, a living entity. And it will do whatever it takes to survive . . .   Displaying "the influence of Asimov's robot stories and C. J. Cherryh's elaborate, sophisticated spaceship adventures," this is a science fiction masterpiece that asks the thought-provoking question, "What if the next great life-form with which we must contend isn't from the stars but from our hard drives?" (Publishers Weekly)  

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