Sunday, December 20, 2020

Five space-based murder mysteries

At James Davis Nicoll tagged five favorite space-based murder mysteries, including:
“The Barbie Murders” by John Varley (1978)

From one point of view, the Moon is a wonderland, with a thriving civilization commanding impressively advanced technology. From another point of view, it’s a hellscape populated by stressed-out people coping with future shock in a number of maladaptive ways. Thus, Moon cop Anna-Louise Bach is assured full employment dealing with tomorrow’s crimes.

Bach has had to deal with nuclear terrorism in the past. Compared to that, simple homicide is a welcome relief. Or it would be, if the victim and killer did not come from an insular cult whose members are identical. As bodies accumulate, Bach struggles to distinguish between murdered and murderer in a community to whom the concept of individual identity is anathema.

[Note for younger readers: no, we didn’t have DNA-testing back in the 1970s when this was written, and apparently neither did Bach’s future.]
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue