While Greg Egan excels in his hard science fiction with very mathy stories, with this well paced murder mystery thriller, he shows he is more than capable of writing good entertaining stories.

In the near future companies are selling the promise of life after death by putting peoples brains in a freezer in the hope that they can be brought back to life in some utopian future. This has led to a cult following on this idea with desperately wanting a chance for a life in that dream future. When a structural collapse in a facility storing these brains destroys - and really kills - more than a hundred of these frozen brains, investigator Beth is tasked with figuring out whether it was just an accident or if it was sabotage.

While the core of the story is an exciting and perfectly well structured investigative mystery, what I found to be the standout here is the depiction of the culture that surrounds this idea of freezing your brain with the hope of waking up in an utopian future. It is clear that Egan is silently mocking the Sillicon Valley futurists type people that are boasting ideas in this sort of direction today. With how we can just reach utopia through technology and enough time. Highly recommended.

Read in Asimov’s January/February 2024
Rating: 4+