Published by Orbit on January 31, 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Mystery
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A space adventure set on a lone ship where the clones of a murdered crew must find their murderer -- before they kill again.
It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood.
At least, Maria Arena had never experienced it. She had no memory of how she died.
That was also new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone, her first memory was of how she died.Maria's vat was in the front of six vats, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Dormire, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it could awaken. And Maria wasn't the only one to die recently...
Six Wakes is one I picked up based on the blurb – a locked-room mystery in space, a sci-fi mystery.
The sci-fi hook this time around was cloning. The laws around cloning are strict, but basically, we have figured out how to make mindmaps, putting all of a person’s memories, thoughts, personalities into a code that can be transferred into that person’s cloned body, making an individual practically immortal and able to inherit their own belongings/money. There’s some philosophical discussion about what makes a person a person, what is a soul, etc., but it’s not really dealt with in depth.
The mystery set up is great. Six people wake up in fresh clone bodies, with the clear evidence that their previous bodies had been murdered, obviously by one of them, since everyone else on the generational ship is in “storage.” One or more of them is the killer, but no one knows who – their memories from the last 25 years have disappeared and the ship’s AI is down.
I loved the mix of solving the current puzzle and giving us the characters’ backgrounds; a couple of them had particularly fascinating backstories. The each have their reasons for being on the ship, for needing a fresh start, and how those motivations clash adds to the tension. Even though each has lost 25 years, they do have the mindmap from just after they first boarded the ship, and most of them have lived several lives, done things good and bad. I was a little disappointed with the big reveal, but overall it was a solid book.