A fun closed-room space ship murder mystery featuring ….. ta-da …. clones! The six person crew of a generational ship on it’s way to a distant planet, its hold containing 2000 sleeping bodies, and a bunch of mindmaps in a special computer, are abruptly pulled out of their cloning vats to discover they were all murdered. And to prove it, there were their previous bodies, ripe with evidence and bleeding horrifically.
The ship, a-sail for twenty five years now, has suddenly been hacked, sabotaged, the AI running the behemoth (about 3 miles long) not working, and the course has been altered, the ship is slowing down and off its original course.
Interesting ideas about cloning. In this future time, cloning is for basically eternal life, not for multiplying oneself. You can only have one clone going at a time, and you have to be dead. You can, however, leave your estate to your cloneself, so you can see how this could be real popular. It brings up the issues of the value of life, because if you can die and wake up tomorrow as your 20-year-old self, there is no thrill too dangerous, no drug too toxic, etc., etc.
The six crew members were all criminals with prison time awaiting them, or currently serving it, when they were offered the opportunity to crew this ship, with their records expunged at journey’s end and a new life awaiting them. But in order to find out what has happened, and who dunnit, which none of them have any memory of, they must discover what connects them all, and what secrets each is hiding.
Great mystery. Kind of light on the sci aspect of the sci fi, and heavy on the cloning ideas, so don’t ask too many questions about how this approximately 100 year journey is being accomplished, and how an AI runs a ship. No astro physics but lots of philosophizing. I loved it.
It got a Hugo nomination, but frankly, much as I liked it, didn’t quite seem Hugo-quality, but what do I know? Anyway, mystery, space, clones. What’s not to like?