Fool’s War

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.

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year




"Reclamation established [Zettel] as an exciting new talent able to work on the largest scale without losing her bearings. Her Fool’s War is even more successful. "

—The New York Times

"A hard-SF setting, richly textured worldbuilding, a witty central character with depth, a celebration of multiculturalism, a message against intolerance, and — I felt — an ultimately positive, optimistic tone...It’s one of my most satisfying impulse buys in recent memory, and I’m definitely going to be checking out more of Zettel’s SF." "

Christopher L. Bennet

"This thought-provoking tale offers an energetic plot and a cast full of appealing characters."

—The Cleveland Plain Dealer