- Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Warner Books (30 April 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0446602930
- ISBN-13: 978-0446602938
- Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 2.5 x 17.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 955,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Fool's War Mass Market Paperback – 30 Apr 1997
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Transporting a freight of information between two human colonies in the far-flung reaches of the universe, Katmer Al-Shei is accused of smuggling artificial intelligence, and stumbles upon a nest of conspiracies.
From the Publisher
A "Recommended Novel" for 1997
Locus Magazine (the Publisher's Weekly of the SF/fantasy world) has just named FOOL'S WAR to its 1997 Recommended Reading list.
Top Customer Reviews
One of the principal characters in the book is a muslim woman. If you have little or no personal experience of professional muslims and think of them in terms of steroetypes, you may have some difficulty with this book. And if you also have a stereotypical idea of how women write - this point goes for males and females alike - and start projecting your own gender preconceptions onto this book, you may get funny ideas about it.
Judging Sarah Zettel as a writer and not as a woman writer, and speaking as someone with a reasonable number of male and female Muslim friends and colleagues, most of whom are devout but not fundamentalists, I found the book excellent and the Muslim characters perfectly plausible.
The book is set five hundred years in the future, at a time when humans have spread to many stars. One of the greatest dangers to spaceships, habitats and terraformed colonies is that sentient and independent intelligences can develop in their computer systems.
Starship captain Katmer Al Shei is trying to recruit new crew members for her ship the "Pasadena" and signs on Evelyn Dobbs as the ship's professional fool. The cover role for the Fool's Guild members on starships is that their jokes help starship crew stay sane in space.
Although they do perform this role, the members of the Fool's guild are much stranger and more important than they appear and have a vital secret purpose. Soon after Evelyn Dobbs signs on to the Pasadena she has to try to avert a war which could destroy worlds - and meanwhile everyone on the ship is in danger.Read more ›
The real value of the book is its imaginative portrayal of artificial intelligences, some of which "go rogue" and head off into the connected universe with their own agendas. They have different, believable and fascinating personalities. The effects of the processors they run on, the bandwidth they travel through, and other aspects of their experiences are convincingly portrayed. Readers are left with a feel for why such intelligences have priorities and goals than human beings cannot easily understand.
This book is recommended for fans of space opera, artificial intelligence and of a good, hint-driven mystery in an unconventional setting. It is a worthy addition to your bookshelf or to the electronic reading device of your choice.
The history of the Fool's Guild was quite interesting, as well as the various AIs met during the course of the book. When it comes right down to it, the AIs, though I'm sure some of them would be loath to admit it, aren't much different from the humans, in terms of what motivates them anyway.
All in all, I'm definitely NOT sorry I read this book. It was chock full of interesting, non-typical, and non-stereotypical characters--especially Al Shei, the engineer; Yerusha, the pilot; and Dobbs, the fool; but on the same token, the male characters were quite underdeveloped and hard to distinguish from the other males.
Also, the book could have done without the "crushes" touched upon towards the end. These seemed to be hastily "thrown in" and added nothing whatsoever to the story.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I suppose this is an odd title for a review, but I felt that it fitted. I have read this book so many times over the years, and always come back to the story. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mr Happy Douglas
An intriguing book. SZ keeps getting better and better. I guess I like the "relationship stuff" the male reviewer gripes about. Read morePublished on 15 Jun. 1999
It is a very interesting mix of characters and concepts that Sarah Zettel has woven into "Fool's War". Read morePublished on 20 April 1999
Definitely a fast-paced plot. A interesting mix of characters. Since the author is a woman, it stands to reason, female characters are better developed. Read morePublished on 15 April 1999
Sarah Zettle has a unique view on what AIs are capable of. This novel is an excellent choice for those interested in AI, and even for those who aren't. Read morePublished on 5 Dec. 1998
Is it just me, people? I can't relate to what I call "chick-fiction." Take a female sci-fi author and you're gonna get all this relationship crap. Read morePublished on 21 Oct. 1998
As noted by some of the reviewers above, this book does not explore new ideas. The Minds of Iain Bank's Culture could use these AIs as sofa cushions. Read morePublished on 3 Oct. 1998
Absorbing and entertaining to read, but the thinness of the artificial intelligence character was a definete flaw. Read morePublished on 14 July 1998