- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Orbit (January 31, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316389684
- ISBN-13: 978-0316389686
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 188 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Six Wakes Paperback – January 31, 2017
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"Six Wakes is [Mur Lafferty's] breakout book."―Cory Doctorow
"This is one of the cleverest and most exciting murder mysteries I have ever read. The confined space of the colony ship Dormire is filled with feisty and memorably strange characters who bounce off one another in ways that vary from the comic to the horrific. You like ideas in your science fiction? Lafferty does for clones what Asimov did for robots. Six Wakes will keep you turning pages right up to its startling climax. Mur Lafferty scores in this, her best book!"―James Patrick Kelly, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards
"Mysterious and tense . . . . I wish I wrote this book."―New York Times bestselling author Chuck Wendig
"A taut, nerve-tingling, interstellar murder mystery with a deeply human heart."―NPR
"An exquisitely crafted puzzle box that challenges our thoughts on what it means to be human - Six Wakes is a scifi murder mystery of light speed intensity."― New York Times bestselling author Scott Sigler
"Lafferty keeps the reader guessing and throws in just enough twists and turns to keep us on the edge of our seat . . . . I loved this book and am excited to read what Lafftery has in store for us next."―Barnes & Noble Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog
"Lafferty delivers a tense nail-biter of a story fueled by memorable characters and thoughtful worldbuilding. This space-based locked-room murder mystery explores complex technological and moral issues in a way that's certain to earn it a spot on award ballots."―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Polished writing and a cast of characters who are emotionally on edge make this space adventure a compelling murder-mystery that takes its time revealing the details necessary for readers to rule out possible culprits. The suspense is kept at the forefront of this clever, politically charged tale."―RT Books Reviews
"Lafferty delivers the ultimate locked-room mystery combined with top-notch sf worldbuilding. The puzzle of who is responsible for the devastation on the ship keeps the pages turning."―Library Journal (starred review)
"This is a great book with so much going for it: clever structure, wonderful characters, and a fiendishly clever puzzle that you'll roll over in your mind for months after you close the covers."―BoingBoing
About the Author
Mur Lafferty is a writer, podcast producer, gamer, runner, and geek. She is the host of the podcast I Should Be Writing and the co-host of Ditch Diggers. She is the winner of the 2013 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. She is addicted to computer games, Zombies, Run!, and Star Wars LEGO. She lives in Durham, NC with her husband and daughter.
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As I mentioned, none of the characters is the type you can really feel for. The personalities on board go between psychotic to just generally abrasive to cowardly. I think the only reason you don’t hate them is that they’re all sort of blank slates at the beginning. By the time you start learning enough about them to dislike them, you’re already completely invested in Six Wakes.
By the time all the threads are starting to tie together, you’ve got to know how it ends. And it’s not a smooth ride. There’s the wicked web of intrigue, as well as various bouts of blood-letting, arguments, and insanity. There’s the ship and it’s journey, the fight for survival, and decisions to be made. Even if one of the plot threads doesn’t interest you much, the other will surely grab your attention.
I also liked Lafferty’s thoughts on how cloning would affect society in the future in Six Wakes. In her world, it rolls out much like it would in reality. Cloning is only available to the rich, there’s pushback for rights and religion, etc. The most interesting part, I thought, was the thought she put into inheritance rights and the natural separation of clones from family.
Normally by halfway through one of these types of novels, I know enough to spoil the end for myself. At seventy percent through Six Wakes, I was still completely clueless. Clueless and loving it. Six Wakes was 400 pages of confusion and mayhem that I utterly enjoyed. I didn’t even mind that there were several ‘origin’ chapters for the various characters involved. Then, on top of everything else, Mur Lafferty also made me perfectly satisfied with the ending, too! (A bit grossed out, but satisfied.)
This is definitely a must-read, and Mur Lafferty should go on your list of authors to pay attention to in the future. Well done all around.
Six Wakes is easily the best sci-fi I've read since Jurassic Park. The science is presented in a matter-of-fact way that's timely, feels plausible, and is obviously well-researched. The concept of the story is clever - by having a small group of people wake up in very confusing circumstances, they are forced to discuss their situation, and that allows the reader to learn about the world without obvious exposition.
Callbacks to the various crew members are well-placed/paced, and provide perfect background information and character development. They feel as if they each have their own story. They're flawed, but not unlikable. As you read, you can't help but form theories. Then you read more, and 'No! That can't work. But what about... Ahh, yes, that makes sense!' starts playing in your head.
The book is refreshingly clear of winks to the reader, inside jokes, or any obvious author indulgences. It's the work of a writer who is confident and experienced.
It is a stunningly good book.
I can't wait to read it again.
The setting is the star ship Dormire, which is carrying thousands of colonists from Earth to the planet Artemis in the Tau Ceti system. The crew is made up of six clones and an AI computer. One of the clones wakes up in a cloning vat (more on that in a bit as well) to find that her most recent self, as well as the rest of the recent selves of the crew, have been murdered. What also is evident is that everyone's memories of the trip so far have been wiped and the ship itself is slowly veering off course. To complete the mystery, the AI, IAN, is also malfunctioning. Whoever is responsible for the murder actually has the blood of six murders on their hands.
And thus we have the following problems: who committed the murders, why is IAN malfunctioning, why is the ship off course, and what is the motive behind all of this?
The novel starts out with the statement of the "International Law Regarding the Codicils to Govern the Existence of Clones". While essentially an infodump, and one to start off the novel rather than it appearing later on, the Codicils are important to the story and it's a good thing to have them right up front, as clones, cloning, and the ethics and morality of cloning are key elements in the story. Lafferty has done a nice bit of world building with these Codicils. It's not just the Codicils themselves, but how they came about that fits into the story.
It really is somewhat difficult to talk about a murder mystery without giving much away. The interesting thing about all clone crew members is that they are former criminals, and have been given their positions on the ship as a way of atoning for their crimes and, at the end of the journey, will get a fresh start on Artemis. The novel interweaves the present dilemma that the clones are attempting to solve with flashbacks for each character - sometimes multiple flashbacks - which gives the foundation for each character's behavior as well as providing clues as to What The Heck Is Going On and Why. We learn about each character's crime, what their motivations are, and how they got to be on the crew of the Dormire. Pile on top of that the fact that everyone is a clone - and that there are rules governing a clone's existence (which comes into play with one of the clones) - and you have quite the engaging and entertaining story.
I liked SIX WAKES, of that there is no doubt. It's a fast paced and complex murder mystery, made all the more interesting by the fact that not one of the characters on the ship is a standard human. Even IAN, the AI running the ship, has a very interesting story and background that plays an integral part of the story.
However...I'm not on the bandwagon that says this is an award-worthy book. I've said a lot of nice things about it over the course of the last few paragraphs, but it didn't strike that resonance with me that wants to give it an award. I've written many times of the last several years how I measure Hugo-worthiness, so I won't get into that here. I wouldn't mind if it won the Hugo - or Nebula, but as I write this it didn't win that award - it's just not what I'd put at the top (or near the top)
of my list.
There are a ton of science fiction murder mysteries that have been written over the decades, and this will go down as one of the better ones and one of the more inventive ones. I do recommend it.
Most recent customer reviews
The title "Six Wakes" refers to all six of a clone crew waking simultaneously to a grisly crime scene in the cloning bay.Read more
What makes this book worth reading is its’ characters and the overall presentation is what makes it special.Read more
The concept grabbed me right away.Read more