cover image The Forever Watch

The Forever Watch

David Ramirez. St. Martin’s/ Dunne, $24.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-03381-9

Fans of hard SF will find this well-conceived and well-constructed debut a pleasure. Over 300 years after Earth became uninhabitable, the last remaining humans are on a huge spacecraft, the Noah, seeking a new home. The confined, dystopian society is one in which women are knocked unconscious to breed offspring they are never allowed to see, and people buy one another’s memories to have experiences such as petting a cat. Information is tightly controlled; the police have a 100% success record because murders are not reported until they are solved by tapping into the memories of the killers postmortem. Bureaucrat Hana Dempsey teams up with her lover, police detective Leon Barrens, to solve a mystery: his mentor, Callahan, was brutally killed, possibly by a serial murderer known as Mincemeat. Their perilous quest for the truth leads to a series of existential secrets about the last human society and its prospects. Superior, psychologically plausible characterizations are combined with sophisticated worldbuilding, clever trope inversion, and original plotting to create a powerful story that will amply reward rereading. (May)