Six Wakes, by Mur Lafferty is both easy and difficult to describe. Six people wake up in cloning vats on a space ship, their brutally murdered bodies floating around them. They are – and always have been – the only people on the ship who aren’t in stasis. They only remember being on the space ship for two weeks – but with one exception, the bodies are 25 years older than they were when they got on the ship. Their memories are gone. The computer logs of the voyage so far are gone. The food synthesiser only makes hemlock.
Whodunnit? And why? And how?
This is a twisty, twisty, locked-room murder mystery, which also delves into a bunch of ethical issues around cloning. The personalities are interesting, though some are more sympathetic than others. The reasons for the murders clearly go back into the time before the ship was launched – but everyone on the ship has been cloned many, many times, so that’s a lot of past to look into. And everyone is hiding at least one thing relevant to the mystery from everyone else.
I feel reluctant to write more about this, because even more than with the last novel, I feel as though I have to either lie or give away chunks of plot (I have lied, slightly, above)
This is a really, really good story. It’s a strong thriller/murder mystery, but it does touch on quite a few bioethical questions that are already becoming relevant. It … drat, no, I can’t actually say any more without spoiling the ending. There are, I think, homages to Agatha Christie and Jean Paul Sartre in there that I spotted; there are probably others that I didn’t spot.
I thought this was excellent, and it’s going to the top of my ballot. Also, you should all read this one. if only so that I have someone to talk about it with who won’t be spoilered.
Actually, let’s just say – comments are for chatting if anyone else has read this book, and can be as spoilerific as needed – enter at own risk!