Edward Ashton. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-27503-5
Ashton (The End of Ordinary) crafts a unique hero in amateur historian Mickey Barnes, the breezy narrator of this far-flung, far-future adventure. Fleeing his gambling debts, Mickey literally signs his life away for passage on the colony ship Drakkar. As an “Expendable,” he’s assigned to the ship’s most “dangerous-to-suicidal” jobs. Whenever one of these gigs kills him, he’s regenerated as a new version of himself. When Mickey7, the seventh of these regenerations, falls into a crevasse on icy Niflheim, his aviator friend Berto leaves him to die, prompting the regeneration process to begin. But Mickey7 survives, and now he and Mickey8 coexist, breaking a societal taboo. If the hungry crew discovers there’s two of them, one or both may become food, since the agricultural system is failing and can’t feed extra mouths. Mickey7’s present day attempts to avoid the wrath of the mission commander and defuse an alien threat on Niflheim are interspersed with his memories of previous, mostly failed attempts at colonization. These flashbacks occasionally feel like interruptions to the probing exploration of what happens when one meets oneself, but they successfully broaden Ashton’s imaginative perspective with multiple worlds. Sci-fi readers will be drawn in by the inventive premise and stick around for the plucky narrator. Agent: Paul Lucas, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 09/22/2021
Release date: 02/15/2022
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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