The crew are all in frozen sleep. One man is woken early, stays awake, eats a lot of the provisions and paints a giant mural (about the adventures of a prince) on the corridor walls, he eventually dies when very old.

The ship arrives at its destination, the crew is woken up and discovers the mural and lack of provisions.

Another ship with a faster engine has been sent from earth and catches up with the original ship just as it lands on the new planet. The new ship crew are antagonistic, a new order has been established on Earth. One of the first ship crew escapes, canoeing down a river to explore the new planet.

I think there is a sequel.

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    This is, as the current answer says, Coyote, and there are indeed several sequels and a few spin offs. Coyote was in fact a novel created from a series of short stories that were linked together, and the entire series (Coyote and its sequels) is a darn good read.
    – Moo
    Commented Jun 7, 2019 at 22:32
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    While we're talking about the original series of short stories... in the short story, the cleaning robots scrubbed the murals from the walls and removed the body after he died. The ending was reworked for the novel: the murals and stories remained and were enjoyed by the rest of the colony.
    – user665
    Commented Jun 8, 2019 at 0:16
  • possibly the same as scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/151425/…
    – Otis
    Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 15:05

1 Answer 1


I believe you are thinking of Coyote (2002) by Allen Steele.

From Wikipedia:

Leslie Gillis, the senior communications officer, is awakened from biostasis. Expecting the year to be 2300, Gillis is horrified when he questions the AI. There was a mix up, and now it is inexplicably impossible for Gillis to return to his dreamless sleep. His gruelling options are either suicide or a lonely existence surviving off the ship’s supplies. While suicide may be more honorable than devouring his crewmates’ rations, Gillis chooses life. [...]

Using practically all of the ship’s art supplies, Gillis created a story about a prince named Rupurt and the fantastic alien world he lived in. He painted scenes of his books on the ship’s inside walls. Eventually, Gillis died in his old age after a fall from a ladder while trying to get a better look at an alien ship he had seen.

  • Good catch! Karen, if this is the right answer, you can accept it by clicking the checkmark on the left. Please do; it will show everyone the mystery was solved and reward both you and Bentzin with some reputation :)
    – Jenayah
    Commented Jun 7, 2019 at 20:49
  • Thank you for the clarifying edit, I'm still getting the hang of this!
    – Bentzin
    Commented Jun 7, 2019 at 20:57
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    I remembered this one recently. I found myself wondering why he didn't just wake up Jennifer Lawrence's character. You might add to the description (just to match more of the OP's points) the fact that the mix-up was political - a saboteur was supposed to be the one woken up, and the narrator was in the wrong pod. The Earthside political conflict leading to the sabotage attempt may be the antagonism OP remembers.
    – tbrookside
    Commented Jun 7, 2019 at 21:09
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    @tbrookside the antagonism is probably more to do with the fact that the ship was stolen by dissident intellectuals escaping a dictatorial government, and the saboteur was a political officer that was always intended to be onboard so he could be woken up shortly into the mission and destroy the space craft in case of this exact situation. But he didn't want to do that, so he swapped suspended animation berths with Gills. The faster spaceship was sent by the dictatorial government later on to take over the colony, resulting in lots of antagonism...
    – Moo
    Commented Jun 7, 2019 at 22:36
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    @Moo The second ship was from a different dictatorial government than the one they escaped. Commented Jun 8, 2019 at 10:27

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