Mind Over Ship, by David Marusek

Second paragraph of Part 3:

Sometime during the night, Meewee was awakened by the shaking of his bed. His first thought was — Earthquake! He opened his eyes to unfamiliar predawn walls. For the life of him, he couldn’t remember where he was, and this alarmed his half-asleep brain. The bed shook again. Not an earthquake but a gentle swaying, like the old-fashioned railway cars he’d traveled in as a boy.

I first encountered David Marusek as the author of the haunting short story “The Wedding Album”, shortlisted for the Nebula in 2000 (when it was beaten by Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life”, which later became the film Arrival). Fate then threw us together as room-mates at the 2005 Glasgow Worldcon, for which he arrived 24 hours late on the Friday morning after a series of flight problems. “Have you slept?” I asked him in our first conversation. “Not since Wednesday,” he replied. I then got and enjoyed his first novel, Counting Heads, to which Mind Over Ship is a sequel.

I shouldn’t really have left it so long between reading the two. Mind Over Ship is quite closely linked to the first book – the combined sequence of events takes place over a short period of time, and the reader is banged right into the action. But if you can catch your breath, there are a lot of great ideas here – the collective and individual politics of clones, the manipulation of the launch of generation starships, the character whose severed head is attached to a slowly growing new body, another character whose consciousness has been transferred to a swarm of fish. And yet the plot doesn’t quite resolve, and some years later we are still waiting for the third volume of what feels like a trilogy. Maybe when that emerges we’ll see the form of the whole more clearly. You can get it here.

This was my top unread book acquired in 2010. Next on that pile is The Martian Inca, by Ian Watson.