Six Wakes

a body, dressed in regular clothes, floating through space with the title "Six Wakes" intertwined with its limbs
Mur Lafferty
4
Thursday, Apr 27, 2017

Somewhere far away from earth, six crew members wake aboard a spaceship bound for a new colony. As clones, the crew members are accustomed to waking up in new bodies, usually with their memories intact. This time, though, decades of memories are missing. And worse, someone has murdered the old bodies of the crew members. Without any record of what happened and why, the crew must fight to solve a murder in which they are all prime suspects, even to themselves.

Six Wakes is a locked-room murder mystery that takes place on a generation starship. If that sounds awesome to you, then you will probably enjoy this book. I love a good mystery, and this book certainly scratched that itch, complete with interwoven clues, red herrings, guarded secrets and false accusations. I also love science fiction books that take a new technology or idea and really use it to examine society and our lives in it, and this completely delivered on that front as well. It's a thoughtful consideration of what it means to be human, in a world in which technology has stripped away our long-standing ideas on the matter. It's also fast paced and twisty, with deeply flawed but thoroughly intriguing characters. The story is told in shifting perspectives from each of the crew members, which played very well with the story's sense of distrust--when you can't even know for sure that you aren't a murderer, what foundation do you have to trust others?

This book has a lot going on, which means it trades depth for a load of Big Ideas. The plot is thrillingly chaotic, which makes the neat ending seem a bit implausible. And the characters spend so much time focused on the murders that we lose out on their relationships with each other. But these are all quibbles; the book's deft combination of mystery and sci-fi in a lovingly built futuristic world shines though and makes this a great way to spend a few days distrusting people in space.

Courtney S

Written by Courtney S

Fun fact: A bolt of lightning contains enough energy to toast about 100,000 slices of bread.