Copyright 1997 by
I first read this in August 1998.
Katmer Al Shei owns the starship Pasadena. Starships are expensive, so she has a
business partner with whom she shares the ship, alternating voyages. All being well,
they'll finally make enough money for her husband Asil and children to join her.
All's not going quite so well though, because her partner is all too willing to skirt
the edge of the law to make a little more money. Still Katmer tries hard to slowly
upgrade the rating of her craft to attract a higher quality crew and higher-profit
Mow she's been assigned a ship's Fool, Evelyn Dobbs. A professional Fool is a
multi-talented entertainer and functions as an essential pressure valve on
long haul flights. She's also got herself a new pilot, highly skilled but perhaps
not quite respectable.
The pilot is Jemina Yerusha, a Freer, and the Freers believe
that sufficiently AIs are self-conscious, thus they seek to nurture and protect
them. This is a dangerous belief in a world were rogue AIs have run wild and caused
The Pasadena sets off Port Oberon, a space station near Uranus, for its next journey.
The crew are optimistic, each may have their own secrets but they think these won't
interfere with this voyage. What they don't know is that their secrets are going to be uncovered, and that their
exposure will not only threaten their own lives, but will rock worlds.
This is an exciting, stimulating and imaginative book. Zettel handles her intriguing
cast of characters, both human and AI, with style and confidence. She has a knack for
including an appropriate level of detail and conversations and procedures she describes
are convincing. The more she makes one believe in her future universe, the more
exciting the novel becomes, and it is exciting indeed.
I've read the book several times since purchasing it and continue to enjoy it.
Classic SF, good straight writing, interesting characters and a
nice twist in the plot. Come on, Sarah, write a sequel!
Loaded on the 30th November 2002.