Finished Constance by Matthew Fitzsimmons in the middle of June. Someone had recommended Fitzsimmon’s Gibson Vaughn series a while back and I have had the first book, The Short Drop, on my reading list for a while. When this came up as an Amazon First Read, I downloaded a copy because I thought the underlying premise was interesting. It is set about twenty years in the future. Human cloning has become a reality. The physical part of the clone is created and aged at the same rate as the person the clone is created from. The person’s consciousness is uploaded and stored each month. If the person dies, their consciousness, including all their memories through the last upload, is downloaded to the clone. Essentially, a way to “chat” death. The technology, which was originally created for the military, has been commercialized and made available to those who can afford it.
Fitzsimmon’s tells the story from the point of view of the main character Constance. Constance is a young musician who’s aunt invented the cloning technology. Her aunt had “gifted” her a clone. When Constance goes in for her regular monthly upload, something is wrong when she wakes up. She is told that her “original” is dead and she has been activated with the last upload which is 18 months old. From here, the story is almost more of a murder mystery as the “new” Constance digs to fill in the gaps of the last 18 months and what happened to her “original.”
The story was interesting enough and an easy summer read. The way that Fitzsimmons incorporates contemporary political themes is not subtle or deft. The way that ethical issues were explored was much more subtle and better done.
By Matthew FitzSimmons
In the near future, advances in medicine and quantum computing make human cloning a reality. For the wealthy, cheating death is the ultimate luxury. To anticloning militants, it’s an abomination against nature. For young Constance “Con” D’Arcy, who was gifted her own clone by her late aunt, it’s terrifying.
After a routine monthly upload of her consciousness—stored for that inevitable transition—something goes wrong. When Con wakes up in the clinic, it’s eighteen months later. Her recent memories are missing. Her original, she’s told, is dead. If that’s true, what does that make her?
The secrets of Con’s disorienting new life are buried deep. So are those of how and why she died. To uncover the truth, Con is retracing the last days she can recall, crossing paths with a detective who’s just as curious. On the run, she needs someone she can trust. Because only one thing has become clear: Con is being marked for murder—all over again.
Published September 1, 2021
343 pages (print)