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Saturdays in Books

Reviews of speculative fiction, YA, middle grade, and graphic novels, along with stray thoughts, links, and pictures.

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The SFWA European Hall of Fame: Sixteen Contemporary Masterpieces of Science Fiction from the Continent
Kathryn Morrow, James K. Morrow

Review: Six Wakes

Six Wakes - Mur Lafferty

A fun read, with well constructed reveals, and a space ship with a twisted sense of humor. The crew of a ship all wake up in new clones to find the ship has lost gravity, the ship AI is off-line, and the cloning lab is a zero-g abattoir containing the mutilated corpses of most of their last clones. And apparently decades have passed, but those memories are lost.


A lot of this book has a my-kind-of-odd sense of humor. From the pun in the title to basically 3/4 of Hiro's dialog.  It was also kind of interesting, so soon after watching Altered Carbon, to see such a different take on cloning and stored consciousness. In the universe of Six Wakes, cloning is inexpensive, but becoming a clone alters the rights a person has. In exchange for immortality, you can't have children, and if there are duplicate clones, the older version must die. Also, with identity being so much code, hacking has been outlawed completely, even for hacks that eliminate genetic diseases.


The clone laws are listed at the front of the novel, and explained via flashbacks to relevant portions of each character's life prior to boarding the spaceship this murder mystery is set on. It's almost reminiscent of I, Robot, except that all these vignettes are integrated into a single narrative to discover who done it and why.


I didn't love the ending. The solution was satisfying, but something about the actual end of the novel felt abrupt.


Overall, though, quite a good book. This is on both the Hugo and Nebula ballots, and I can definitely see why.