Six Wakes

June 25, 2018 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

wakesSix Wakes by Mur Lafferty

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One of the conceits of this novel — that people can clone themselves and load their consciousness into the clone, only losing whatever memories were recorded since their last backup — has been done before, most notably (in my memory) in Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. I’ve gotten fed up with Doctorow’s self-promotion in and out of his works, so I figured I could see what a better writer would do with this conceit. Lafferty takes it in a new direction and does a great job with it.

Six Wakes is a locked-room mystery, as the clones in question are on a spaceship heading to a distant world, but they all wake up to find they’ve all been murdered. There are only the six of them aboard the ship, all of whom are criminals, so suspicions begin to fly once they discover they’ve lost twenty years of their memories, the cloning machine has been sabotaged, and the ship’s computer isn’t responsive. The race is on to discover their killer before they all face real death.

By itself, this would be a compelling story, but Lafferty makes it more than that. She addresses moral issues related to cloning, privacy, and secrecy, and those themes weave in and out of the story. It makes the book more significant, without sacrificing the story. Lafferty’s characters are easy to like, and every character in the story has the means and the motivation to be a suspect.

Six Wakes was a finalist for three science fiction awards this year, and for good reason. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes a good mystery, a good science fiction story, or a good moral dilemma story. I guess I would recommend it to anyone, period.

Started: May 4, 2018
Finished: May 12, 2018

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