Title: Fool's War
Author: Sarah Zettel
Katmer Al Shei is co-owner (with her brother-in-law) of the trade ship, Pasadena. They each use the ship for a certain amount of time and have their own crews. Evelyn Dobbs is the ship’s Fool -- a crew member whose job is to act as a pressure valve for the rest of the crew during long flights. Jemina Yerusha is a Freer. Freers live in space, and they don’t like going down to any planet. They believe that AI’s are reincarnated human souls. It is about 500 years in the future, and there is still a lot of hate and prejudice, especially against AI’s, who seem to wreck planets when they are ‘born’ as self-aware life forms. As the Pasadena leaves, she is immediately hit by Murphy’s Law ... until they figure out they have a virus onboard. The reader figures out very quickly that our Fool has secrets, but from then on the story just rolls along. I was initially put off by the book because of its CP aspects, but I was sucked in by the characterization and the imagination of it. And there’s a Slinky in the story! :> The novel is based on her short story, FOOL’S ERRAND in Analog 1995. Thumbs up. A keeper!