Review: Six Wakes By Mur Lafferty

In the lead up to the 2018 Nebula Awards, our sci-fi and fantasy guru Shaun Taylor reviews the nominees.

To start with, I will declare that I am regular listener to Mur Lafferty’s podcast “I Should Be Writing“.

In the future, the technology exists to “print” bodies – called clones – and to them imprint them with the recording of the host’s body. These recordings can be hacked and changed to suit a purpose. From this basic premise, Lafferty creates a murder mystery on a mulit-generational ship.

When a number of clones “wake” to discover their previous versions slaughtered, and no memory recordings for the last couple of decades, the tension in the ship increases. Each clone tries to learn not only who they are, but who they could become. This premise could easily have ended up as a version of the show “Dark Matters”, but Lafferty plays with her topic creatively.

She keeps the pace moving at a tense rate, with the occasional flashback character giving insight to motivations and events that do actually affect the outcome. What Lafferty does really well, is set up the logic and limitations of the technology and doesn’t move away from it, giving the narraration a greater sense of realism.

For me, the only drawbacks were the flashback chapters – much of the information could have been given by characters as the story progresses. Also by keeping the story on the craft, it would have added a sense of claustrophobia to novel.

Overall, a good book, and one that I will revisit if the opportunity presents itself.

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