We can all agree that generation ship stories are awesome. And because they share the same claustrophobic setting, it makes sense that a lot of them center on a mysterious murder committed by someone on the ship. But you know what sets a generation ship murder mystery apart from the others? Clones! And therein lies the hook for Mur Lafferty’s new novel Six Wakes, recently acquired by Orbit Books.
Orbit announced today that it would publish Six Wakes in trade paperback in fall 2016. Earning comparisons to Firefly and Leviathan Wakes, the space thriller sees an entire crew get murdered… only for their clones to wake out of hypersleep and realize that one of them is the killer. Here’s the official synopsis:
It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood.
At least, Marie Shea iv 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: from illness once and from injury once…
Maria’s vat was in the front of six vats, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Pituitary, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it could awaken. Apparently Maria wasn’t the only one to die recently…
Props for naming the generation ship something less telegraphing than Ascension or anything with the word “ark” in it. Lafferty added a little more worldbuilding info on her own website:
Elevator pitch: This is a clone murder mystery in space. Six clones are crewing a generational spaceship with their fellow clones’ consciousnesses sleeping in servers. Backup bodies are designed to wake when the current body dies. The book starts when our six characters wake up in their new bodies all at once in the middle of the carnage of their own murdered ex-selves, and none of them has any idea which of them is the killer.
Generation ship stories are fascinating because by the time any positive or negative action takes place, we’ve usually fastforwarded several generations ahead and are seeing the consequences through the eyes of unfamiliar humans. In this case, the clones are incapable of changing externally, though one would imagine that every version that wakes up is slightly different from the one who just died. Lafferty has also promised that her usual dark humor (not the norm for this genre, either) will not be missing.