June 2022 Book Review -- "Mickey7"
The Martian meets Multiplicity in Edward Ashton’s new science fiction novel. Dan Compton has this month’s book review of Mickey7.
Mickey7 has already died six times. He’s part of a colonization mission to the ice world Niflheim with all of the brightest scientists and engineers from his home planet. Mickey7 has different motivation for joining the mission. He desperately needs to escape a debt from a ruthless mob boss, so he signs up for the one job that for some reason did not have a competitive application process -- the job of Expendable.
Mickey7 soon learns if there’s any job that seems unsafe for the mission, the Expendable is called upon to perform it. If he should die while performing the dangerous task, he is reincarnated, or essentially 3-D printed with his personality and memories intact. We learn of Mickey7’s past six iterations throughout the novel and the struggles of the mission to colonize this punishing new planet.
While out on a routine scouting mission on Niflheim, Mickey falls in a hole and is left for dead. By the time he returns to the colony base, mysteriously helped by the planet’s native species, Mickey8 has already been printed. One thing everyone can agree on in this futuristic world is having multiple copies of the same person is a serious taboo. Mickey7 knows that if he is caught, he will immediately be sent to the recycler because the mission can’t afford to support both him and Mickey8.
Thus begins a hilarious turn of events that make this novel a perfect page-turning summer read. Author Edward Ashton knows his science. He teaches quantum physics, but he never dives too deep, so the novel remains accessible to the casual science fiction reader.
While many parts of the novel are lighthearted, Ashton tackles some interesting moral dilemmas, and the reader is given the opportunity to ponder some philosophical questions about the soul and if copying a person truly makes that person the same as they were before.
This book should appeal to fans of Andy Weir, and a film adaptation starring Robert Pattinson and directed by Parasite’s Bong Joon-ho is already in development.
Mickey7 can be found in our local libraries. For KPCW this is Dan Compton with the Summit County Library.