Ship of Fools is the 2001 Gothic space mystery written by Richard Paul Russo. The story follows the struggle of Bartolomo Aguilera, unofficial counselor and lieutenant to Capt. Nikos Costa, aboard the generation ship Argonos. Merely the elected captain of the Argonos, which has been wandering for generation after a disaster killed many of its crew and destroyed valuable records of its past, Costa's leadership and Aguilera's physical safety is threatened by the ship's quasi-Christian religious faction, headed by Bishop Soldano. Born physically disabled in a closed society that holds him in contempt, Aguilera must struggle to protect both himself and his ship. The author succeeds in generating a sense of horror by describing the claustrophobia of a superstitious society from which physical escape is almost impossible, landfall on the planet Antioch where the population has been killed and their bodies stored like meat, and the encounter with an immense alien ship which kills one crew member of the Argonos after another when they try to explore its interior.

Russo's novel is similar to Robert Heinlein's Orphans of the Sky, which also tells the story of a lost generation ship which succumbs to barbarism and religious superstition.


Richard Paul Russo. 2001. "Ship of Fools." Ace Books. ISBN 0441008933. Robert A. Heinlein. 1963. "Orphans of the Sky." Signet. No ISBN.

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