Mickey7 by Edward Ashton: Review and Synopsis

icy planet landscape of Niflheim, illustrating the harsh, cold environment with advanced human colony structures in the background

Mickey7 by Edward Ashton: Review and Synopsis

Micky7 Book CoverIntroduction

“Mickey7” is a captivating science fiction novel written by Edward Ashton, an author known for his engaging storytelling and innovative ideas. The book explores the concept of expendability and the value of life in a futuristic setting, making it a thought-provoking read. The primary audience for this book would be young adults and adults who enjoy science fiction, particularly those interested in themes of identity, survival, and the ethics of colonization.

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“Mickey7” is set in the far future, where human expeditions are sent to colonize the ice world Niflheim. The protagonist, Mickey, is an Expendable, a disposable employee tasked with the most dangerous missions. When he dies, a new body is regenerated with most of his memories intact, making him essentially immortal. The story begins with Mickey on his seventh life, hence the title “Mickey7.” The plot thickens when Mickey7 falls into a crevasse and is presumed dead, leading to the creation of Mickey8. However, Mickey7 survives and returns, resulting in two versions of the same person co-existing. This situation leads to a series of complex and humorous situations as the two Mickeys try to hide their existence from the rest of the crew. The book explores themes of identity, survival, and the ethics of colonization. It also delves into the philosophical question of what makes a person unique – is it their physical body, their memories, or something else?


“Mickey7” primarily revolves around the character of Mickey Barnes, also known as Mickey7. Mickey is an Expendable, a disposable employee on a human expedition sent to colonize the ice world Niflheim. His role is to undertake dangerous missions that often result in his death. However, each time he dies, a new body is regenerated with most of his memories intact, effectively rendering him immortal. Mickey7 is the seventh iteration of Mickey Barnes. He is a former historian who has died six times and is not particularly pleased with his situation. The story takes a turn when Mickey7 is presumed dead after a dangerous mission and is replaced by Mickey8. However, Mickey7 survives with the help of an alien indigenous to Niflheim and returns to the base, leading to a complex situation where two versions of the same person co-exist.

  1. Mickey7 (Mickey Barnes): The protagonist, Mickey7, is an “Expendable,” a person who can be regenerated after death, retaining most of their memories. Mickey’s character is multifaceted and evolves throughout the novel. He is depicted as resilient, quick-witted, and resourceful, often using his past experiences to navigate the challenges he faces on the icy planet. His unique position as an Expendable offers a profound perspective on the concepts of mortality and identity. Each regeneration brings a subtle change to his personality, highlighting the psychological impacts of his experiences.
  2. Nashira: A key character in the story, Nashira plays a pivotal role in the colony and has a significant influence on Mickey’s journey. She is portrayed as intelligent, strong-willed, and pragmatic. Her interactions with Mickey7 are complex, often marked by tension and mutual respect. Nashira’s character adds depth to the narrative, especially through her perspectives on the colony’s survival and the ethical implications of using Expendables.
  3. Berto: Berto is another important character, serving as a close associate and friend to Mickey7. His character provides a sense of camaraderie and loyalty in the harsh conditions of the colony. Berto is often the source of lighter moments in the narrative, bringing humor and a human touch to the challenging environment. His relationship with Mickey7 is integral to understanding Mickey’s human side, beyond his role as an Expendable.
  4. Diana Harrington: The leader of the colony, Diana Harrington’s character represents authority and the burden of leadership. Her decisions impact the entire colony, and her interactions with Mickey7 are crucial to the plot. She is depicted as a determined leader, often faced with tough choices for the colony’s survival. Her character explores the themes of leadership responsibility and the moral dilemmas of making decisions for the greater good.
  5. Other Secondary Characters: The novel is populated with a range of secondary characters, each contributing to the story’s development. These characters, from fellow colonists to members of the expedition team, provide insights into the diverse personalities and backgrounds that make up the human colony. They also serve as reflections of the different human reactions to the extreme conditions and moral questions posed by the story.

A portrait of Mickey7, the protagonist from the novel 'Mickey7' by Edward Ashton. He appears as a rugged, middle-aged man

Character Dynamics and Development

The interactions between these characters drive much of the plot in “Mickey7.” The dynamics between Mickey7 and other key characters like Nashira and Berto provide a window into Mickey’s psychological and emotional landscape. The relationships he forms, and how they evolve through his regenerations, are central to the novel’s exploration of themes like identity, humanity, and the ethics of survival in extreme conditions.

Mickey7’s character development is particularly noteworthy. His journey from a somewhat resigned Expendable to a more introspective and determined individual reflects the novel’s deeper thematic inquiries. The way his regenerations affect his relationships and self-perception offers a compelling look at the concept of self and identity in a futuristic setting.


“Mickey7” is a unique and entertaining read that combines philosophical ideas, humor, and complex themes. Ashton’s writing style is accessible and enjoyable, making the book a memorable read. The book’s strengths lie in its innovative premise, engaging characters, and the author’s ability to weave complex themes into an entertaining narrative. The book uses the literary device of cloning to explore themes of identity and expendability. It also relates to broader social issues, such as the treatment of employees as disposable commodities.


“Mickey7” would appeal to readers who enjoy science fiction, particularly those interested in themes of identity and the ethics of colonization. It’s also a good fit for fans of Andy Weir, given the similar blend of humor, science, and survival. Compared to other works by Edward Ashton, “Mickey7” stands out for its unique premise and engaging storytelling. The book has been well-received, with a Goodreads rating of 3.77 stars.

Possible Questions for a High School Test

  1. How does the concept of expendability play out in “Mickey7”?
  2. How does the existence of two Mickeys affect the dynamics of the crew?
  3. What themes does the author explore through the character of Mickey?



  1. The concept of expendability is central to “Mickey7”. Mickey, as an Expendable, is expected to undertake dangerous tasks and is easily replaced when he dies. This concept raises questions about the value of life and the ethics of treating individuals as disposable.
  2. The existence of two Mickeys creates a complex and humorous situation as they try to hide their existence from the rest of the crew. It also raises questions about identity and what makes a person unique.
  3. Through the character of Mickey, the author explores themes of identity, survival, expendability, and the ethics of colonization.


 icy planet landscape of Niflheim, illustrating the harsh, cold environment with advanced human colony structures in the backgroundAwards and Accolades

“Mickey7” was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Science Fiction in 2022.

Bibliographic Details

  • ISBN: 9781250875280
  • Number of pages: 320
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group
  • First publish date: February 15, 2022
  • The book is being adapted into a movie titled “Mickey17” directed by Bong Joon-ho and starring Robert Pattinson.
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Suggested Reading Age: Young Adults and Adults

Other Reviews

“Mickey7” has received positive reviews from various sources. Goodreads users have given it a rating of 3.77 stars, praising it as an entertaining and fascinating read. The Wall Street Journal described the book as a “wildly entertaining mix of action and big ideas”.

Where to Buy the Book

“Mickey7” can be purchased from Bookshop.org.

About the Author

Edward Ashton is the author of several novels, including “Three Days in April” and “The End of Ordinary”. His short fiction has appeared in various venues. He lives in upstate New York with his family and enjoys cancer research, teaching quantum physics, and whittling in his free time.

Other Books in the Series

“Mickey7” is the first book in the Mickey7 series. The second book in the series is “Antimatter Blues”.

Other Best-Selling Books by the Author

In addition to “Mickey7”, Edward Ashton has written other best-selling books such as “Three Days in April” and “The End of Ordinary”.

Awards Won by the Author

“Mickey7” was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Science Fiction in 2022

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