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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
Kinda slow to get going, but once it does there's no looking back. The best ending out of any book I've read in ages.
Published on Aug. 4 2010 by M. Shisko

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A good sci fi episode
I received this book mistakenly (I'd ordered Katherine Porter's SHIP OF FOOLS...quite different!), but thought I'd give it a read. While not a fan of the sci fi genre, I found this to be a quick and entertaining read...actually pretty user friendly for the non "space" reader such as myself. It wasn't bogged down with a lot of technical alien/interplanetary...
Published on Sept. 10 2003 by Nelson Aspen


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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!, Aug. 4 2010
By 
M. Shisko (Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Kinda slow to get going, but once it does there's no looking back. The best ending out of any book I've read in ages.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sci-fi as it should be., July 31 2006
By 
Ms. H. Sinton "dragondrums" (Ingleby Barwick. U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a story written in the first person and written from the perspective of Bartolomeo, a man who is a misfit amongst the inhabitants of The Argonos, a massive spaceship that is trawling the galaxy in search of new life. Generations of humans have been raised on the ship and very few have ever had the opportunity to step on solid ground. Bartolomeo is a loner, brought up by various members of the 'upper levels', never knowing his parents and suffering from various physical disabilities. His only friend is the Captain of the ship. So far, no evidence of extra terrestrial life has been found until the Argonos stumbles on a seemingly deserted alien craft drifting in space. Bartolomeo is chosen to lead an exploration team to investigate this strange ship in spite of opposition from the sinister Bishop, leader of the Church on the Argonos.

Richard Paul Russo has written an excellent tale, fast paced enough to keep the interest going but in depth enough to give a satisfying read. His alien craft is truly alien, unlike so many sci-fi stories that have the universe populated with humanoid life. The feeling of menace on the deserted craft is almost palpable. The one small criticism that could be levelled at this book is that the characterisation is not terribly strong, but, with such a strong storyline, this can be forgiven. All in all, a very good book, well worth a look.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A dishonest book, May 3 2004
By 
L. E Notkin (Montreal, Quebec Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Do not let the excellent wtiting and character development fool you. This is a book that truly underestimates its audience. During the whole book, there are questions, mysteries, and plot that are never resolved. Instead, we are left to think that not all questions are answered in life and to enjoy a sense of mystery.
The problem is that what is left unresolved is not trivial, but quite major and essential. So, I truly think that the author developed the questions, plot twists, and other unknown facts WITHOUT EVER INTENDING RESOLVE THEM.
Instead, he opted to satisfy his readers with a movie ending.
So, I repeat: the author himself does not know what motivated the aliens, the reasons for the preponderance of the Church, the history of the humans, or anything that he teased us with.
He never intended to answer these questions, so he did not bother to answer them in writing or even in his own mind.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The first 5 star book within 3 years!, April 13 2004
By 
Christoph Strizik (Sydney) - See all my reviews
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Finally I picked a book which wasn't just a three star average story. I am so glad that I found that book. It is one hell of a page turner and absorbing from the first to the last page. The style reminded me of Alastair Reynolds but just not as complex and mind twisting. Richard Russo has a great talent for creating an "Alien meets Event Horizon" kind of environment. When you read that book you want to make sure you are not alone! People who enjoy dark, gothic, and fear laden movies such as Alien will get a kick out of this book. On the negative side it would not be surprising if some people do not like the ending. I am not going into any details but you should not expect a happy Hollywood brainwashed finale. I personally do hope Russo keeps the story going in another book. In summary, it is a great book with a great story and great characters all along, it deserves 5 stars!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great despite a lack of closure, March 11 2004
By 
If Ship of Fools had more of a conclusion, it would have been at the top of my list. However, Russo seems to have grown tired toward the end, and the pure energy that fills the first 805 of the book is lost.
Still, Ship of Fools is full of excitement and discovery. Despite being set in a cliche (the "colony of people who live on a ship and have never set foot on a planet" cliche), Russo manages to pull of a highly original series of events. All of them surround the discovery of a mysterious vessel, which keeps a singular focus within the story. However, the events themselves range from death to inner conflict to paranoia to sympathy. Ultimately, it is a tale of exploration that is approached from many levels, grounded in the most obvious exploration -- that of the ship.
If only it had an end, it would be a 5-star book. When I finished reading it, I immediately went online to order the sequel... I just assumed there was one, and was devastated when I learned otherwise.
I would still recommend this highly to those looking for an interesting story about discovery and exploration, and anyone who enjoys reading because it makes you think. For those who look to sci-fi for space battles and combat and three-breasted she-beasts... well, while there is a cloud of danger and some action, this probably is not what you're looking for.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Subtle and well written, Dec 2 2003
By 
Vynnie "Vynnie" (Sacramento, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This is a well-written thematic story. Although it has several subplots, the main storyline is written to demonstrate the power of human curiosity. Russo takes his characters through a journey of exploration punctuated by frequent and gruesome clues that Something Is Not Right. But the characters press on, and - here is the magic of Russo's storytelling - the reader is right there with them. The lure of the unknown is so strong that you are willing to leap through every new doorway just to see what is on the other side, no matter how many dried corpses or mysterious accidents should have cautioned you away. Even after the last page is turned and the folly of the exploration unmasked, the book leaves you with the nagging urge to go back, to open one more door or seek the answer to one more question - a powerful demonstration of what Pavlovian creatures we can be.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading, Sept. 22 2003
I think what a lot of the reviewers are missing is the fact that Richard Paul Russo can WRITE! I was drawn from chapter to chapter in a way I haven't been in years--the book had the feel similar to that in Rendevous with Rama. I don't read much science fiction anymore--there is so little sense of wonder in it. Ship of Fools has wonder aplenty, and the characterization is excellent. Nor did I find the dialogue clumsy, as one reviewer did. I was most impressed with Russo's balanced viewpoint between Christianity and disbelief. A sympathetic priest in a SF novel? Quite refreshing.
The scene with Father Veronica (you know the one I mean) is breathtaking. And yes, I felt the ending was not quite as dramatic as I would have liked. But I really enjoyed the ride. I would indeed read the sequel, but I rather hope there isn't one.
I also hope that those who read these reviews and decide to buy the book buy a new version rather than a used one. The writer receives no royalties on used books, and cannot continue to be published unless someone buys new copies.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A good sci fi episode, Sept. 10 2003
This review is from: Ship Of Fools (Mass Market Paperback)
I received this book mistakenly (I'd ordered Katherine Porter's SHIP OF FOOLS...quite different!), but thought I'd give it a read. While not a fan of the sci fi genre, I found this to be a quick and entertaining read...actually pretty user friendly for the non "space" reader such as myself. It wasn't bogged down with a lot of technical alien/interplanetary mumbo jumbo. It actually had a story and some interesting character development. The pay off wasn't quite what I was hoping for, however, so it tended to come off in the end as a long episode of a sci fi show a la STAR TREK. Plenty amusing, tho, for that airplane ride or bedside table.
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3.0 out of 5 stars FUN BUT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER, Aug. 28 2003
By A Customer
I just finished reading this book. I like it for the fact that it reminds me of a X file episode. Where it always leaves you hanging wanting more. . It was a lot like reading a fast manuscript for a movie idea. So many things seemed like they could have been more fully explained or given more depth. Doesn't mean it wasn't a fun read however. <don't read past it will ruin the book>. On the other hand there were a number of things wrong with the story if it was minimally examined. The old women was a sore point for me. Pg 199 with him speaking Spanish, so lame. Then the question of the old women/alien speaking of the planet name given by the bishop. Why would aliens with superior intellect and technology make such a careless statement. Why are the aliens dumb enough to leave doors unlocked that have tons of rotting dead people yet smart enough to control gravity etc. Why are the alien blaster weapons so weak and fire only at the last two ships. Why do some of the people go crazy. Why did the bishop try to kill him, and in such a strange way. What did the machine the bishop had at the start have too do with anything. What became of reading the records the church had. Why is jumping in a worm hole at the end going to save anyone, don't the aliens know the coordinates back to the planet. And a bunch more.
In the end I give it a 3 out of 5. Fun read but not enough.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, well-paced read., July 17 2003
By 
Dave Hoeltje (Cameron Park , CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ship Of Fools (Mass Market Paperback)
Some of these reviewers need to lighten up a bit! This was a well written, wonderfully paced book that I read in 3 sittings. I have not done that with a Sci-Fi book in quite a while. Sure, almost every plot element presented here has been used before but so what? Name a book and author that hasn't attempted to improve or expand on ideas and works by those who preceded them.
And insofar as complaining about being left hanging with several (OK, numerous) unresolved story lines, do you think perhaps that it was written with a sequel in mind? One would hope and assume so. A great read for lovers of hard core Sci-Fi where the plot, characters and most of the science line up beautifully. I'd had given it 5 stars except those are reserved for George R. R. Martin for single-handedly breathing some air into the long deflated Fantasy field.
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Ship Of Fools
Ship Of Fools by Richard Russo (Mass Market Paperback - Jan. 22 2002)
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