Mur Lafferty follows through on a great premise with Six Wakes (Orbit, 2017), a novel about six people murdered on a generation starship. What makes the story unusual is that the six victims have to investigate their own murders, a twist possible thanks to the fact that the investigators are the clones of the deceased. To make the story work, Lafferty creates a history of cloning complete with a set of laws that are informed (like any good legislation) by past abuses. It’s a believable world with interesting characters, diverse back stories, and enough mystery and surprises to keep the pages turning.
The only thing that’s not a surprise is that the book has received nods for this year’s Philip K. Dick, Nebula and Hugo awards. Lafferty is no stranger to awards, having won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2013. She has been podcasting since 2004, using the medium to serialize her fiction and host the shows I Should Be Writing and Ditch Diggers, the latter of which was also nominated this year for a Hugo in the Fancast category.
On the pod, she talks about cloning laws, the risks of reading an unfinished novel in public, the lessons she learned from Agatha Christie, and the thrill of having her work nominated for science fiction’s most prestigious prizes.
This is the third in my series of interviews on New Books in Science Fiction with this year’s nominees for the Philip K. Dick Award. I also interviewed Meg Elison and Tim Pratt. The winner, Carrie Vaughn for Bannerless, was announced at Norwescon on March 30, 2017 during a ceremony in which all the nominees read from their novels.