Wordy Wednesdays – “Ship of Fools” by Richard Paul Russo
More sci-fi! And this was a pretty good one.
As with many good sci-fi books, Ship of Fools mixes some action and technology with a dash of romance. Russo also adds religious questions, expanding the scope of the novel from the wonders of space travel to the deeper questions – what are we doing here?
The main character is not only likeable, but has believable flaws, which later in the book pose some crises of conscience for him.
Plot synopsis: The ship, called the Argonos, is home to more than one generation of humans. The original crew is dead of old age, but their descendants now live on the ship. Unfortunately, these humans have forgotten much about the ship. Methods of repair have been lost, and the ship isn’t in the best shape. Worse, it has been decades since the inhabitants of the Argonos have heard from other humans.
(No robots, though. Source)
Well, only sort of, but that isn’t the point. While they are sailing blindly through the depths of space, they finally pick up a sign of life. It’s a beacon, but when they get to the planet to which the beacon leads them, they find a village of dead humans. A handful of skeletons only, in fact, without any traceable cause of death.
Well, on the surface, anyway. Underneath, in strange buildings, they find a much more horrifying display of inhuman cruelty.
Skipping ahead a bit, they end up finding a ship in deep space. They investigate, and the real conflicts of the novel come to the forefront, as does the real power of the book.
Ship of Fools started a little slow, but with keen writing, solid ideas, and interesting themes, it ended up really standing out for me. Pick it up when you get a chance, you won’t regret it.