Edward Ashton is an American Science Fiction author who is well known for his short fiction and his post-apocalyptic novel Three Days in April. He is also known for his 2022 novel Micky 7 which is being released as a film in 2024 titled Mickey 17 starring Robert Pattison. The sequel Antimatter Blues is out in hardback now and paperback in January.
Mickey Barnes is an expendable. The one role on a new colony ship no one wants. Whenever there is a job too dangerous for the crew or even the robots Mickey is sent in. After his body dies a new iteration is bio-printed with most of his memories intact. On a normal mission, Mickey gets into an accident and is presumed dead, when he gets back to the dome he finds Mickey 8 already there and the adventure starts. Multiples are universally loathed so the Mickeys must tread carefully or be put down the “corpse hole”
Mild spoilers ahead…..
I was browsing in Waterstones looking for something Sci-Fi in the sea of Fantasy when the title of this one caught my eye. I read the blurb (pretty much what’s above) and sat down on one of the chairs to see if it sounded good. On page 25 I thought I had better buy it. It took me two days to read the book as I struggled to put it down, but Family and work got in the way, unfortunately. I loved the premise of the book and how each colony’s mission has an “expendable” world where cloning is possible but heavily restricted.
The book is told like Mickey 7 is telling you a story about his life and I have to say that I liked the way this reads. It really got me inside the head of Mickey and I quickly found that I liked this character. He is a likable guy who got in over his head and has to make a drastic life decision to get out of it. I loved reading about his interactions with the other characters and in particular the dynamic between him and Mickey 8. Cloning, which is always a sticky subject was handled well in this book I thought and the age-old Star Trek debate on whether you are the real you after using the transporter is dealt with in this book nicely. I liked the direction this book took on colonisation, not something I have read much about. The world-building in this book was very good and I loved hearing about all of the other worlds from Mickey. Rather than Humanity having a vast interstellar empire, humanity has branched out slowly, and as each colony reaches a certain size they send on another ship to establish a new colony, sometimes with little information on what is awaiting them. This has been disastrous to come colonies. Making sure that no matter what happens on “old Earth” humanity will survive. The world of Nifheim is barely habitable for the Humans but they are here now and have to make the best of it.
Despite the sombre premise of an expendable and Mickey himself dying 6 times this book was funny and made me laugh on several occasions. The book was told with flashbacks to Mickey’s past, letting you know how he got there and what happened to the other Mickeys. I found this to be well-paced and fit in with the overall narrative, never really taking me out of the story, it was well executed I would say. Mickey 7 kept me interested throughout and I didn’t want to put it down. The only thing I was left with at the end was more questions about the creepers, I felt it would have enhanced the story to give more time to them and how they interact with the world. Maybe this is something that is explored in Antimatter Blues, the sequel to Mickey 7.
If you enjoy a good fun Sci-Fi read you will enjoy this book. I really liked it and thought the story flowed well, I am eager to see if they do a good job of adapting it into a film.
You can purchase the book for Mickey 7 from your local Bookshop supporting indie bookshops is important and something I am very in favor of. I like nothing more than to browse physical books. Or if you want you can shop at your local Waterstones, or online at Amazon