Mickey7 by Edward Ashton – Review

Published: February 15, 2022

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Series: Mickey7 #1

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 304 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4 Stars

Dying isn’t any fun…but at least it’s a living.

Mickey7 is an Expendable: a disposable employee on a human expedition sent to colonize the ice world Niflheim. Whenever there’s a mission that’s too dangerous—even suicidal—the crew turns to Mickey. After one iteration dies, a new body is regenerated with most of his memories intact. After six deaths, Mickey7 understands the terms of his deal…and why it was the only colonial position unfilled when he took it.

On a fairly routine scouting mission, Mickey7 goes missing and is presumed dead. By the time he returns to the colony base, surprisingly helped back by native life, Mickey7’s fate has been sealed. There’s a new clone, Mickey8, reporting for Expendable duties. The idea of duplicate Expendables is universally loathed, and if caught, they will likely be thrown into the recycler for protein.

Mickey7 must keep his double a secret from the rest of the colony. Meanwhile, life on Niflheim is getting worse. The atmosphere is unsuitable for humans, food is in short supply, and terraforming is going poorly. The native species are growing curious about their new neighbors, and that curiosity has Commander Marshall very afraid. Ultimately, the survival of both lifeforms will come down to Mickey7.

That is, if he can just keep from dying for good.

I picked this up entirely because I saw it was being made into a movie called Mickey 17 with Robert Pattinson. I haven’t been reading nearly as much sci-fi the past few years, but I’ve already read four this year and have at least three more I’m planning to read. I guess I’m in a phase (lol). Mickey7 was a great addition to my reading list, so I’ll be checking out the movie whenever it releases.

Mickey7 is the Expendable on a colony mission and as his name implies, he’s on his seventh iteration. Well, he is until he falls down a hole on an icy planet filled with centipede-like life forms they call Creepers and his pilot buddy leaves him in said hole to die because hey, we can just wake up the next one, right? Mickey7 manages to make his way back to the base the following morning, but by that time his replacement is already in his bed and it’s SO ILLEGAL (and not to mention offensive to the natalist believers) to have duplicates. So begins the odd game of cat and mouse between the united Mickey7 and Mickey 8 and literally everyone else, including their girlfriend. They must keep their secret or they might both end up in the recycler and not get rebooted. 

This book was a fun blend of space colony, dark humor, and the antics of the lovable, but honestly somewhat dim Mickeys. There was even enough action to keep things quite exciting, though this was largely a character focused story centering around the duplicate expendables trying to keep their secrets and stay alive. It’s downright hilarious at times, but that’s balanced out with a few really emotional moments. The part where Mickey recounts his previous deaths was really sad and horrible and it’s pretty obvious why no one has ever volunteered to be an Expendable before. They’re usually recruited from the prison population. Mickey’s friend Berto is, in my opinion, a rather toxic friend and I didn’t care much for him but I did really like Mickey’s girlfriend.

Overall, this was a really entertaining read and I’m curious, but not jumping with excitement for the next installment which was just released March 14, 2023. The audiobook narration is pretty great and kept me engaged throughout. This book is a great blend of humor and the grim realities of living on an icy planet filled with hostile alien life forms that can rip through the base like butter. There’s the constant fear of starvation or something else going drastically wrong and while this primarily focuses on Mickey (both of them), it’s ultimately a survival story of the entire colony. Mickey7 just happens to be narrating it.


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