Sci-Fi & Mystery: Mur Lafferty: “Six Wakes” (c) 2017.

Fascinating & Compelling! Sci-Fi & Mystery:
Complex and richly imagined characters; complex worldbuilding involving cloning technology; moral & ethical issues.

“Six Wakes” was a 2018 finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award as well as the Hugo And Nebula Awards for Best Novel.


By the 25th century, mindmapping technology has revolutionized cloning: the technology includes ability to clone humans, create new clones with full memories of previous clones; copy & modify DNA; and copy & modify personalities.

Codicils have been enacted to govern and protect clones, making them legal world citizens.

“The Dormire ” is a generation ship, launched from Luna. Sallie Mignon, one of the most successful & powerful entrepreneurs on Earth owns the Dormire.

There are over 2000 humans in cryo; and 500 clone mindmaps aboard the Dormire. Their destination is the Earth-like planet Artemis, orbiting Tau Ceti in the constellation Cetus.

Sally Mignon, herself a clone, hires a crew of 6 clones to run the spaceship through its long journey.
The six crew members all have past criminal records. The journey is an opportunity for them to start life with a clean slate once they reach Artemis.

The six crew members

Maria Arena; junior engineer & general maintenance
Captain Katrina de la Cruz.
Akihiro Sato; navigator/pilot
Wolfgang; security chief
Paul Seurat, engineer.
and Dr, Joanna Glass, medical doctor and member of the committee that enacted the Codicils governing clones.

IAN (Intelligent Artificial Network) is the ship’s computer mind.

Clones can be recloned and reimprinted with their continually updated memories as they age and die.

However, as the Dormire journeys through space, the new clones of the six crew members awake to find their most recent older selves have been murdered.

IAN, the ship’s mind, has been sabotaged. The crew discovers that all their logs, personal, medical, and command, have been erased.
And even more terrifying, there are no backups of their most recent mindmaps.

With the erasure of their most recent mindmaps and the cloning software, the clones cannot create new mindmaps or new clones. They will die if they cannot be recloned.

Tension and paranoia rule their lives as the clones search for clues to the murderer: Which one of them is the murderer?

And how do they regain control of IAN, the ship’s mind, and set the ship back on track to Artemis? The ship is off-course, heading back to Earth. The clones will face multiple criminal charges if they return to Earth.

The past life stories of the six clones surface as they struggle to survive, get things back under control. All have complex life stories, from their past clone lives on Earth or on Luna: some have lived multiple clone lives over the past few centuries; stories of how they ended up carrying out criminal activities, how they were manipulated as clones.

The key character in the story is Maria Arena, the lowly engineer who is, in reality, a computer genius, programmer, and hacker. But is she the murderer?

Great story — sci-fi & murder mystery!