Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty


This is a very cool locked room murder mystery in space. As such, anything I really want to say about it will be a spoiler.



I enjoyed Mur Lafferty’s Shambling Guide to New York City earlier this year, but that in no way prepared me for Six Wakes, which is in a whole different league – tense, fast-paced and un-put-down-able. Whereas upon finishing Shambling Guide I was feeling both impressed and a little disappointed, after reading Six Wakes I am nothing but captivated.

The basic set up is as follows: The six clones that make up the crew of the generational starship Dormire (an Italian word meaning ‘to sleep’ – d’you see what she did there?) awake simultaneously in their vats to find their previous selves have all died in violent ways. The ships logs have been wiped and the clones have no memories beyond their initial launch, which they soon discover was twenty-five years ago. All that is really obvious to them is that one of them must be the killer. But who? And how? And what on earth for?

The story is then structured around six ‘awakenings’, as Maria, Katrina, Joanna, Hiro, Wolfgang and Paul try to piece together what has happened to them, both in their present situation and in their past lives. As you’d expect from any murder mystery lots of secrets are revealed and opinions and allegiances change as discoveries are made, but all the characters are brilliantly written and the plot is very satisfying. Cloning and how it has both divided and changed society is at the crux of the story, and I would have read this for Lafferty’s vision of that future alone even without its gooey mystery centre, (I’ve made a note-to-self to seek out more scifi dealing with cloning, so if anyone has any suggestions please let me know).

And having reached the limit of what I can say without giving any of the good stuff away, here, instead, is a blow-by-blow account of how reading this book went for me:


Pages 1 to 22 – dead bodies in zero-g     messy and gross, but I like Hiro from the get go

Page 59 – Maria keeps an old kettle, tea and honey for emergencies    now I like Maria too

Page 76 – Maria finds her video     uh-oh

Page 78 – Hiro finds his video     double uh-oh

Page 84 – Paul     I’m watching you Paul. I don’t like you Paul.

Page 112 – IAN     Hmmm, are you a HAL? Or a GERTY?

Page 151 – Aunt Lucia     WTF???

Page 179 – Hiro has some sort of mental break     No, no! I like Hiro! Also, it can’t be that simple can it? We’re not even halfway yet 

Page 228 – Paul     Boo! Hiss!

Page 240 – Wolfgang’s backstory     Oh man! That is f***ed up!

Page 271 to 287 – Maria     And it’s all starting to make sense now – this is bad bad bad *rocking back and forth* But also the Mrs Perkins thing is pretty AWESOME

Page 298     Oh crap!

Page 302     Oh double crap!

Page 314     crapcrapcrapcrapcrap…

Page 344    …crapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrap

Page 353 – Bebe      and breathe again *lying down on floor while heartrate returns to baseline* 


In conclusion, read this book. It’ll only take a couple of hours of your life. If you hate it, fine, that’s just a couple of hours lost and it’ll make you a better person (adversity is supposed to do that). But if you love it … well, then we can grab a cuppa and some cake and have a chat about cloning as a method of attaining immortality, and the limits of culpability. And you’re welcome!



(This satisfies the “Read a book from your TBR pile” Book Bingo category).






16 thoughts on “Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty

  1. I had this on my TBR then I read a collection of short stories and the one by Lafferty so pissed me off that I decided then and there I would never read another word by that author.

    As for cloning. The Dune books (well, not Dune itself but all the sequels) deal with that quite heavily. I don’t know that I’d recommend them though. They’re a real mixed bag in many ways. I’d have to cogitate a while for any other suggestions. Most of the stuff that sticks in my head are books about the conversion to digital intelligence.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I liked it. And that opening… with dead bodies and blood floating in zero- G. Very intense! Heckuva way to start a book. 🙂

    And I love cloning! Since you’re looking for suggestions haha… Replica by Lauren Oliver wasn’t too bad, and The Originals by Cat Patrick. Both are more on the YA side, whether that matters or not. I wish i could find more adult SF books with cloning!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cool, thank you for the suggestions Greg. 🙂 I’ve heard of Lauren Oliver, but not of Replica, and Cat Patrick is a new name to me … I shall go and investigate! 😀


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