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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

       
Unto Leviathan

Copyright 2001 by Richard Paul Russo

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Very good (3/5)

I first read this on the 20th January 2004.

The Argonos is a magnificent, but now ancient and dilapidated starship. It has been cruising through space for hundreds of years. Society on board has stratified into three layers: crew, management and those who simply toil in the depths of the ship.

The ship's facilities and supplies have seriously degraded due to age and the occasional rebellions. But more than objects have been damaged. Knowledge has been lost. History has been lost. No one now knows its original purpose.

When it comes across a vast alien spacecraft drifting apparently abandoned in the depths of space, opinion is divided about the wisdom of exploring the mysterious craft.

Obviously if they hadn't decided to explore it there wouldn't have been much of a book.

The alien craft turns out to be perplexing. It is abandoned but there are some signs of life. It is even more surprising when they find areas which possess breathable air.

At this point things start to go seriously wrong. Our flawed hero, Bartomoleo Aguilera, finds himself - and his entire ship - in rather difficult circumstances

The American edition was called "Ship Of Fools". Can't think why I didn't buy that when I saw it a couple of years ago.

This is good but not brilliant. There is such an excitement, such a realm of possibilities opened up by the discovery of the alien vessel, yet for so long, nothing concrete is discovered. The novel loses its impetus midway, but recovers for an exciting ending.

The description of the society on board the vessel is excellent. The stratified and hidebound culture is well-portrayed by the characters of the captain Nikos Costa, the Bishop Bernard and Pär the dwarf. It's a good book, an enthralling mystery, and I may read it again.

Bit sad about the lady priest, Father Veronica, though.

Loaded on the 29th February 2004.
    
Cover of Unto Leviathan
Cover by Bruce Jenson

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