Review: Six Wakes
Title: Six Wakes
Author: Mur Lafferty
Genre: Science fiction, mystery
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Goodreads Summary: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...
I didn't know what to expect when I started reading this book. I was expecting a kind of dry, hard sci-fi thriller where a murderer is loose on a spaceship. There is so much more to this book than that, though! The story was at times funny, at times horrifying, and at times very insightful. There were a lot of discussions about the ethics of cloning, and how the well-intentioned laws created to govern clone rights in relation to human rights are often unfair to both parties.
One of the most interesting questions that this book presents is if you are guilty for the actions of your past lives, especially if you don't remember. In this society, everyone is only allowed to have one clone at a time, and their memories (mindmaps) are regularly backed up so that they can be transferred to a new clone in the event of the person's untimely death. The issue is that sometimes you commit a crime or betray someone towards the end of your life, but don't have the time or means to save your mindmap. Being responsible for your past selves' actions is already a sticky situation, but what if you have no recollection of it? That seems more akin to people with mental illness or amnesia in our current justice system. There's even a discussion on the clone version of a split-personality disorder. Very interesting stuff.
It was really cool to see how all the characters' lives were more interconnected than they seem at the beginning. The murder mystery almost takes a back seat to figuring out how all their lives are connected and how they all ended up on this spaceship in the first place (But don't worry, the murder mystery is still a big deal).
This was a fun read that also had some food for thought, I'd definitely recommend it!