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Lock In PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: Lock In
Author: John Scalzi
Publisher: Published August 26th 2014 by Tor Books
ISBN: 9780765375865
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affe Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge. A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what's now known as "Haden's syndrome," rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two of them are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an "integrator" - someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder becomes that much more complicated. But "complicated" doesn't begin to describe it. As Shane and Vann began to unravel the threads of the murder, it becomes clear that the real mystery - and the real crime - is bigger than anyone could have imagined. The world of the locked in is changing, and with the change comes opportunities that the ambitious will seize at any cost. The investigation that began as a murder case takes Shane and Vann from the halls of corporate power to the virtual spaces of the locked in, and to the very heart of an emerging, surprising new human culture. It's nothing you could have expected.

30 review for Lock In

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

    3.5-4 stars. When I first started reading this book I was so confused I thought I was going to give up. Then my friend Mike came to my rescue explaining that there is a novella to this book up at Tor. http://www.tor.com/stories/2014/05/un.... I really think that part needs added to this book, it's very hard to figure out what's going on without it. Once I read that I was sucked into this book. A flu type virus has been transmitted globally. At first it starts flu like, if you survive that the secon 3.5-4 stars. When I first started reading this book I was so confused I thought I was going to give up. Then my friend Mike came to my rescue explaining that there is a novella to this book up at Tor. http://www.tor.com/stories/2014/05/un.... I really think that part needs added to this book, it's very hard to figure out what's going on without it. Once I read that I was sucked into this book. A flu type virus has been transmitted globally. At first it starts flu like, if you survive that the second stage is very much like meningitis, and then the third stage if you make it that far..you are "locked-in". Your mind is fine but your body is totally incapable of movement of any kind. The virus is named Haden after the first lady who contacted the disease. Speed forward twenty five years or so. Haden's are the virus victims who are "locked-in" their bodies. However, science has progressed and they are able to inhabit a robot type device called threeps. You have humans that are able to also host the Haden's into their bodies called Integrators. This book is very innovative and I thought I hated Sci-fi. The writing in this book was fun and fast paced. The plot was pretty much wrapped up before the end but I still loved each and every second of it. I hope the author does a series because I'll be there grabbing it up. I recieved an Arc of this book from Netgalley and Tor in exchange for an honest review. Thanks! Shit: eta.. I'm a so called goodreads bully. Scalzi wrote a post taking up for us. I should give this book a five because I found his post. Frigging yes!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    I've read pretty much everything John Scalzi has written at this point, so when I pick up one of his books, I don't expect anything in particular. I just know he's going to take me somewhere, and I trust that he's going to make the ride a pleasant one. Even so, I was a little surprised by this book. In some ways it's sci-fi but not rocketships-and-lasers sci-fi. In other ways it's a mystery, but not the Victorian-style Sherlock sort of thing. It's also kind of a police procedural. Maybe a bit of I've read pretty much everything John Scalzi has written at this point, so when I pick up one of his books, I don't expect anything in particular. I just know he's going to take me somewhere, and I trust that he's going to make the ride a pleasant one. Even so, I was a little surprised by this book. In some ways it's sci-fi but not rocketships-and-lasers sci-fi. In other ways it's a mystery, but not the Victorian-style Sherlock sort of thing. It's also kind of a police procedural. Maybe a bit of a... thriller? I dunno... Honestly, I'd hesitate to classify this book as one particular thing, which means it's sufficiently complex to be a story in its own right, and not just some generic genre knock-off. A good thing. In a change of pace for me, I didn't read the texty print version of this book. Instead I listened to the Audiobook narrated by Amber Benson. That added a lot to the experience for me, and made me realize just how far I have to go as a narrator myself. And I don't mean that I listened to it, thinking "Yay! I love Amber Benson!" (Though I do.) She's a much better narrator than that, her own voice doesn't intrude into the story. The truth is, I constantly *forgot* she was the one narrating it. That's impressive skill at work. Was the book worth my time? Absolutely. Like all good speculative fiction it started with an interesting premise and followed that premise through to to reasonable but unexpected permutations. It's clever, thoughtful, funny, and had some good action to boot. P.S. Scalzi did something interesting with the audio of this book, and had *two* versions recorded. One read by Amber Benson. One read by Wil Wheaton. Has anyone out there listened to the Wheaton version? Or both of them? How do they compare?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    This one is going to be made into a movie, sooner rather than later. Go ahead and call Fandango and decide which candy goes best with your buttered popcorn (Junior Mints). I would not be at all surprised if Scalzi did not have some preliminary discussions with Hollywood. Lock In is a delicious combination of Philip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov with Scalzi’s signature snarky characterization and dialogue. This is also vaguely reminiscent of Poul Anderson’s Harvest of Stars books where consciousness ca This one is going to be made into a movie, sooner rather than later. Go ahead and call Fandango and decide which candy goes best with your buttered popcorn (Junior Mints). I would not be at all surprised if Scalzi did not have some preliminary discussions with Hollywood. Lock In is a delicious combination of Philip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov with Scalzi’s signature snarky characterization and dialogue. This is also vaguely reminiscent of Poul Anderson’s Harvest of Stars books where consciousness can be loaded onto a computer / android. Essentially what has happened is a global pandemic, which has killed 400 million and left many millions more “locked in” meaning that they are left in a sleep like condition. But the locked in sleepers’ brain patterns have been altered in such a way as they are able to remotely enter another person, and share experiences with the host. The sleeper, known as a Haden, after the stricken First Lady of the United States, can also use an android called a personal transport, popularly known as a threep, after Star Wars’ C3-P0. Scalzi uses this foundation to describe a murder mystery amidst the changed landscape. Told from the perspective of an FBI agent (who is also a Haden and who uses a threep to get around) who investigates some strange deaths. The author also describes a virtual world called the Agora where Hadens can gather and mingle. In this sense, he has effectively created an allegory for the Gamer generation, with a symbolic rejection of the “physical” world in favor of online / spiritual. The acceptance of the Agora as an acceptable alternative to the physical world is akin to Ready Player One and / or Neuromancer. Scalzi has some fun by showing our hero’s virtual room as like the Batcave, since he retreats to his dark lair to ponder on and solve crime. Smart, fun, and intelligently crafted, Scalzi’s 2014 publication should have been high in the running for a Hugo.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    My enjoyment of this book is probably unduly influenced by the narrator, a certain Will Wheaton, who pulled off yet another hat trick with his friend John Scalzi. What can I say? I'm a fan of both. So how does that allow me to rank a tale on a tale's own merits? It doesn't. Alas. I just had a good time no matter what. *sigh* So what's this about? Telepresence! It's a novel about telepresence! Yeah, yeah, there's the horrible brain-re-writing virus and the people who weren't hit so hard with it, all My enjoyment of this book is probably unduly influenced by the narrator, a certain Will Wheaton, who pulled off yet another hat trick with his friend John Scalzi. What can I say? I'm a fan of both. So how does that allow me to rank a tale on a tale's own merits? It doesn't. Alas. I just had a good time no matter what. *sigh* So what's this about? Telepresence! It's a novel about telepresence! Yeah, yeah, there's the horrible brain-re-writing virus and the people who weren't hit so hard with it, allowing those people who were locked-in in their bodies to experience remotely through someone else, and then there's also the robot waldos for the rest of the body-locked victims... and here we've got a changed world and plenty of interesting possibilities opened up to us. Like MURDER. Yup! Police procedural, done STRANGE. But don't just assume that Scalzi does a paint-by-numbers. We've got political intrigue, classism, culturalism, and just plain prejudice going on here. Did I enjoy the snags that came along with having remote bodies? Hell yeah. This is classic SF made modern and snappy and timely. There's even a bit of a virtual reality politics going on here. :) Now, certainly, I can't continue without giving a shout-out to another one of my favorite authors that did something very similar, and did it well. More than a decade ago, David Brin's Kiln People brought up a lot of these great ideas already and even turned it into a great gumshoe yarn, but let me be clear. These two aren't the same kinds of tales. So many of the outward robot people and the fact that they're both police (or private eye) tales might make it seem so, but in truth, the two are quite different in particulars. BUT. If you like one, I do need to tell you that you'll like both. :) A side note! This audiobook came with a great novella that outlined, in epistolary form, the outbreak and the technological and political realities that created the world of Lock In. I personally thought that it might be better than the actual novel. :) It was fascinating to see the transformation of the world one sequence at a time. :)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nataliya

    If you ever want a morbid exercise to kill some time, imagine living through this: full consciousness, full comprehension - and the complete inability to control your body, a physical paralysis that does not affect your mind, a complete and total helplessness that does not even provide you with a merciful unawareness but instead leaves you just lying there, conscious but immobile and unable to communicate. This is what hell is like, I'd imagine - imprisonment within your own self. This is what li If you ever want a morbid exercise to kill some time, imagine living through this: full consciousness, full comprehension - and the complete inability to control your body, a physical paralysis that does not affect your mind, a complete and total helplessness that does not even provide you with a merciful unawareness but instead leaves you just lying there, conscious but immobile and unable to communicate. This is what hell is like, I'd imagine - imprisonment within your own self. This is what living with a locked-in syndrome is like. If you're not up to reading articles about it, try The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death - it gives you a good idea of what it's like. ----- John Scalzi takes the idea of locked-in syndrome and imagines a world few decades in the future where, due to a pretty indiscriminate pandemic virus, it strikes a significant proportion of the population, forcing people to (a) care and (b) pump insane amounts of funds and technology into the research (hard not to, given that even the a First Lady succumbs to the disease, and the toddler of a media darling cum real estate tycoon, and so there's no shortage of cash flowing into the search for a solution). And so the affected, those with the locked-in syndrome (now known as Hadens, after the former First Lady Mrs. Haden) eventually are able to resume their lives through neural networks implanted in their brains enabling them to communicate and basically download their consciousness into androids (colloquially referred to as 'threeps', after C3PO, of course), resulting in a huge community of people leading their existence outside of their human shells, discovering that physical and 'virtual' existence can feel quite the same if you are a 'Haden'. “[...] For a Haden the nonphysical world is as real as the physical one.” And suddenly what happens is the emergence of a completely new community, people of all walks of life - regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, socio-economic status, beliefs - suddenly becoming distinct from everyone else, by necessity forming their own community of 'alikes', the quickest creation of another human race or even species, one can say. Officially they are 'victims', a view that is becoming unpopular with many a taxpayer and politician, but also with quite a few in the Haden community as well as they progress to living full lives, not quite really constrained by their condition. Difference or disease? Depends on the where you stand. “Bring us back from what, exactly?” Hubbard said. “From a community of five million people in the U.S. and forty million worldwide? From an emerging culture that interacts with but is independent of the physical world, with its own concerns, interests, and economy? You’re aware that a large number of Hadens have no memory of the physical world at all, aren’t you?” In Scalzi's book this new world of 'conventional' humans and 'Hadens' is in disquiet. A controversial law has passed, severely limiting government assistance for the Hadens, cutting the enormous flow of social support that many of taxpayers have found, well, taxing (a frequent sentiment in the US, as we know). A Haden march on Washington DC is about to happen. And a series of strange crimes linked to a few prominent Hadens and the Integrators (a select few people able through specialized neural networks to allow a Haden's consciousness to basically hitch a ride in an Integrator's body) swipes through Washington. Chris Shane, one of the most prominent Hadens by the virtue of being a child of a celebrity real estate tycoon, is a rookie FBI agent involved in the investigation of these crimes with his partner Leslie Vann - and he has his android hands quite full very quickly: “Today I fought with a ninja threep, saw two women view the last video from a dead relative, had a woman explode twenty feet from me, and watched my dad kill an intruder with a shotgun.” I took a cup and poured the bourbon into it. “If I had any sense I’d take this bottle and attach it to my intake tube.” ----- It was my second Scalzi book (first was'Redshirts'), and so far it's been two for two for me. Apparently Scalzi's style, confident cleverness and the ability to integrate humor and seriousness in the way that seems juuuust right works for me quite well. It does a splendid job at seamlessly integrating a sci-fi story with a police procedural, making it a fun and thrilling ride. It's well-plotted and moves smoothly along - even though at times a little *too* smoothly, sliding along the well-oiled narrative rails, occasionally falling into a cliche or ten, and sometimes in the smooth flow skidding right past the moments on which I wish more time had been spent as they would have added some hefty substance to counterbalance the surface lightness of the story (but maybe the implications of some of the revelations and plot points will be revisited in the future as it does seem to be a good intro to, perhaps, a series? Would be a shame to not revisit this world again.) Yes, some of the exposition made me eye-roll (there's easily accessible and then there's clumsy over-explaining) but it is not grating enough to dull the enjoyment of the story. So yeah, it would not be the first (or second, or fifteenth) choice of a literary snob. Oh well, their loss. But hey, it's engaging, entertaining and relevant, and overall quite decently written. And I would not hesitate recommending it, even of you really have to work at carving out some time for it in your busy schedule, like I had to. It's worth the few hours, no doubt. 4 stars. More Scalzi, please. I'm convinced now.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Frances

    4.5* Although Lock in was confusing to begin with, the story soon captures your attention. Since earth’s Great Flu caused paralysis of the nervous system to more than 2.75 billion humans worldwide, robots called Tweeps are being used by individuals, along with Integrators who can share their bodies. Chris Shane, a Tweep, has recently been hired as an FBI agent and assigned a partner, Integrator FBI veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two agents are given a task to investigate a murder at a nearby ho 4.5* Although Lock in was confusing to begin with, the story soon captures your attention. Since earth’s Great Flu caused paralysis of the nervous system to more than 2.75 billion humans worldwide, robots called Tweeps are being used by individuals, along with Integrators who can share their bodies. Chris Shane, a Tweep, has recently been hired as an FBI agent and assigned a partner, Integrator FBI veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two agents are given a task to investigate a murder at a nearby hotel and to question the suspect, a Tweep, who appears to be confused and unable to explain what exactly happened. As Chris and Leslie begin to uncover details about the murdered victim, they realize this is no ordinary homicide. John Scalzi has written something exceptional, with a splash of witty dialogue. Lock in is an incredible Sci-fi novel not to be missed. Highly recommended!

  7. 5 out of 5

    mark monday

    from the Earth Journal of Scientific Analyst SLJLK92349UO, Earth Invasion Exploratory Unit It’s tough to be a human: that is something I’ve learned during my lengthy time studying the human species on this planet Earth. Life itself is hard, of course, with its everyday pitfalls and each individual’s long-term ambitions and disappointments… but for humanity that difficulty is compounded by all of the –isms that exist to divide humanity from itself. Isms based on race and culture and gender and ori from the Earth Journal of Scientific Analyst SLJLK92349UO, Earth Invasion Exploratory Unit It’s tough to be a human: that is something I’ve learned during my lengthy time studying the human species on this planet Earth. Life itself is hard, of course, with its everyday pitfalls and each individual’s long-term ambitions and disappointments… but for humanity that difficulty is compounded by all of the –isms that exist to divide humanity from itself. Isms based on race and culture and gender and orientation and age and socio-economic status and family background and personal appearance; all those things, whether intangible or physical, that help form a human’s identity. I have always been fascinated by this construct “identity,” at least in how it affects the human species. Back home on Robot Planet we seldom are concerned with such things; if we feel anxious about or disappointed in our current form, we simply upload into a more pleasing iteration. Scalzi appears to share my interest in identity; specifically, the mutability of physical identity and the distance that can lie between a person’s interior and exterior. From Scalzi’s perspective, the clothes do not make the man – nor does the body or the gender or the age or many other things. It is a forward-looking perspective and one that I fully endorse. This perspective has been present in much of his work; his exciting science fiction saga starting with Old Man’s War posits that the mutable physical self is but a prop or costume or useful tool for that which exists within. He takes that interest to a new level in his novel Lock In. A world full of a sizeable minority who only engage with the world in mind and spirit, whose prone “locked in” bodies slumber peacefully while their minds roam the world through robotic suits or as guests in human bodies or in a kind of virtual landscape constructed for this minority. It's as if Scalzi finally went for it in this novel and decided to put his interests right up front. He is truly a classic version of the “speculative” science fiction author in that he hypothesizes where the human race may go to next while still concerning himself with how we operate as individuals and as a society right now. Perhaps I am just a typical liberal robot of the old model, but I find a touching connection between his progressive blog posts and his ongoing interest in illustrating how a person is so much more than what their body does or looks like or comes from. As far as the novel itself goes, it is a futuristic mystery. Agent Chris Shane is new on the scene, and on his first day he has to deal with a crime that has far-reaching implications for that sizeable minority who are locked in, as well as the rest of humanity. Agent Shane is also locked in, so there was a lot of enjoyable detail about how Chris and others who are locked in often interface with the physical world through robotic bodies nicknamed "threeps." Chris Shane's gender is never identified – an ingenious decision and one that fits right in with Scalzi’s viewpoint re what actually makes a person a person. The mystery itself is simple to solve; the prose is bland and workmanlike but not objectionable. It is all quite easy going down and made for a pleasant way to pass the time. More compelling to me than the plot were the themes and ideas mentioned above. And more appealing to me than the rather rote characters on display was the character of the author, also on display. He is an admirable example of his species. I’d welcome him on Robot Planet, where he would be the source of much interest! Although I suppose if there were more humans like Scalzi, I would feel more guilt about our upcoming invasion. And then where would Robot Planet harvest its fuel sources and capture its meat-based servants? Our moral logic would force us to find another planet for such needs! Happily, there are few like Scalzi on this planet Earth.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Robin (Bridge Four)

    Sale Alert: Amazon Daily Deal 10Apr18 here for $2.99 Will you like this book? Honestly I think it will depend on what you care about in the book. If what you are looking for is a great who-done-it murder mystery well then this maybe won’t be for you since that part of the book was a little easy to figure out and was just okay as murder mysteries go. But if what you want is something that makes you wonder what society would be like if one part of the general population is essentially stuck inside Sale Alert: Amazon Daily Deal 10Apr18 here for $2.99 Will you like this book? Honestly I think it will depend on what you care about in the book. If what you are looking for is a great who-done-it murder mystery well then this maybe won’t be for you since that part of the book was a little easy to figure out and was just okay as murder mysteries go. But if what you want is something that makes you wonder what society would be like if one part of the general population is essentially stuck inside their bodies with no way to move around and they are given their own personal C3POesk unit to use to be able to walk around the world in, then the answer is YES. I like books that take a premise like what would happen if…and then expand on that to maybe 20-200 years into the future and then make a story around how would our world change because of that one thing. I think that Neal Shusterman so far has been my favorite author to do that in a Urban setting with his Unwind Series. But Scalzi did a pretty good job at that as well and had a lot of very interesting concepts and social commentary throughout the story. “Interesting that you don’t always stay fully sense-forward on your threep,” Jerry said, as he prepped the lidocaine. “I don’t like how it feels,” I said. “If I can’t feel my body it feels … off. Adrift. Weird.” Jerry nodded. “I can see that, I guess,” he said. “Not everyone does it that way. My last client was full sense-forward on her threep all the time. Didn’t like feeling what was going on with her body. Hell, didn’t like acknowledging she had a body. She found it inconvenient, I think is the best way of putting it. Which was ultimately ironic.” “How so?” “She had a heart attack and didn’t even feel it,” Jerry said. “She found out about it from an automated alert to her threep. I think it came as a surprise to her that she could die. She spent so much time in her threep I think she believed it really was her.” So the thing that I didn’t notice until someone pointed it out to me was that our MC could be any gender or race. I think I didn’t realize that Chris was biracial until about 70% into the book. I still have no idea if Chris is male or female. Since Wil Wheaton is the narrator for the book I just assumed that Chris was male for most of the book until I realized that maybe wasn’t the case at all. I did get pretty caught up on how society changed because of all the people who were locked in and how they became like their own class/race of people. So many concepts in this book made me ponder and wonder about the lives of people in this world and the current political crisis it was going through and how that would change everything. Overall I think the Societal SciFi part of the book is much stronger than anything else. If that is you cup of tea and you don’t get all caught up on the how did they get peoples brains to control a robot you’ll totally be fine. Audio Note: I listened to the Wil Wheaten version of this and enjoyed it. I like WW as a narrator especially when there is a lot of dialogue. This was a very easy listen.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    4.25ish stars. Oh, John Scalzi. Your words are my comfort food. Whenever I fall into a reading slump, I know that I can come back to you. This book is no exception. It's got everything I expect from him. It's creative - I love the concepts of the threeps and the Agora. Interesting characters, especially Agent Vann and Cassandra Bell. Engaging central mystery. And the classic Scalzi dialogue that is his trademark. I get that this isn't the same thing and I don't mean to be insensitive, but I can't 4.25ish stars. Oh, John Scalzi. Your words are my comfort food. Whenever I fall into a reading slump, I know that I can come back to you. This book is no exception. It's got everything I expect from him. It's creative - I love the concepts of the threeps and the Agora. Interesting characters, especially Agent Vann and Cassandra Bell. Engaging central mystery. And the classic Scalzi dialogue that is his trademark. I get that this isn't the same thing and I don't mean to be insensitive, but I can't help drawing comparisons between Haden's Syndrome and the experiences of other populations with whom I'm familiar. I'm a special education teacher so I know a lot of individuals on the autism spectrum or who have hearing loss. In both cases I know people who advocate for research, treatment and cure, and others who see themselves as accepting and celebrating their differences. Who's right? First of all, who am I to say? I don't belong to either of those populations. Second, as always, it depends. In the case of ASD, there are those whose quality of life, or whose loved one's quality of life is affected so significantly by ASD, that they want nothing more than to find effective treatment, or a cure. There are others on the spectrum who will tell you adamantly that they don't need to be "cured." That their differences can be strengths. That the puzzle piece symbol for autism awareness wrongly connotes that they're incomplete and need to be "solved." Then, there is the increasing amount of scientific research that allows more and more individuals with profound hearing loss to experience hearing. But there's also the extensive Deaf community whose members have a culture they love and who take pride in their Deaf identity, rather than viewing deafness as a disability. So I loved the bit of social commentary between Cassandra Bell's group and the group racing to find a cure. I don't think Scalzi was able to dig as deep as I might have liked, but what he did explore was fascinating. So yeah, I guess you can call me a fanboy. Glad he's writing more stories in this universe. Also side note, I did not even notice until I saw it written out, but the main character, Chris Shane, is never assigned a gender. I automatically thought of Chris as being male, but even Scalzi himself admits he doesn't know Chris's gender. Interesting! Anyone else assume one way or the other?

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jilly

    Look, we all know that eventually robots are going to take over the world and kill all humans. That's a problem for future-us to worry about. Today-us is having fun seeing who could build the smartest robot ever. To have sex with. Seriously Japan? WTH? Redneck version But one way to avoid this mass genocide of the human race is to build robots that we can actually download ourselves into. Then, we get all of the cool parts of being robots and living in a robot world without the bloody ending. Take Look, we all know that eventually robots are going to take over the world and kill all humans. That's a problem for future-us to worry about. Today-us is having fun seeing who could build the smartest robot ever. To have sex with. Seriously Japan? WTH? Redneck version But one way to avoid this mass genocide of the human race is to build robots that we can actually download ourselves into. Then, we get all of the cool parts of being robots and living in a robot world without the bloody ending. Take that robots! Ha! Just kidding, robots. Nothing to see here. That is what we have in this book. There was a plague that left tons of people completely paralyzed, so scientists created a way to let these people sync their brains into robot bodies. Our hero of the story is a robot-man. And, an FBI agent. He starts his new job, gets a new partner, and immediately has a robot-related murder to deal with. (Okay, maybe the robots will kill us anyway. They'll figure out a way) I have to say that the world in this book is super fun and interesting. Since it's set in the future, we also get some other high-tech stuff, like self-driving cars. Although, we almost have those now, so not as impressive as they once were. I'm still hoping to live long enough to get a flying car. A hovercar would be nice. Someone get on that for me, will ya? I'm getting older every minute. The characters, especially our hero's new partner, are also great. I absolutely loved how jaded and sarcastic she was. "You hit our suspect with a car," I said. "Oops," she said. Those two sentences pretty much explain the dynamics of this partnership. Their banter was excellent. And, the book cracked me up a lot. If it wasn't the banter, it was the situation, such as when he has to use a "loaner" robot in another state and its legs don't work. They wanted him to just put the robot in a wheelchair and roll around. That was hilarious. I guess any "loaner" of any kind is usually pretty crappy. I'm thinking about rental cars, bowling shoes, and roller skates. I am hoping there are more books set in this world, with these two FBI agents. I'm totally in! In the meantime, here is a handy glossary for your future robot-related needs:

  11. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    4 to 4.5 stars Bonus points for creativity. It was an unexpectedly unique sci-fi/techno mystery with nice twists of humor. I am glad that I didn't know much about this going in because it was fun to get into this bizarre new world (is it okay to say it's fun to get into a plague filled world?) I will say that this is a very brainy story. A lot of concentration and thought must be given in order to keep up. I am still not entirely sure of everything that happened!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Choko

    *** 4 *** A buddy read with the ladies at BB&B!!! Well this stile of writing feels like a blast from the past! Cyber-Punk and plague-pocalipse mixed in one with some humorous undertones. I enjoyed the heck out of it!!! John Scalzi is a very refreshing and bright author. He is a Sci-fi nerd through and through, and the popular Science Fiction TV and literature of the 80's and early 90's, which by the way is some of my favorite, can be seen as a heavy influence on his themes and stile. Coming fro *** 4 *** A buddy read with the ladies at BB&B!!! Well this stile of writing feels like a blast from the past! Cyber-Punk and plague-pocalipse mixed in one with some humorous undertones. I enjoyed the heck out of it!!! John Scalzi is a very refreshing and bright author. He is a Sci-fi nerd through and through, and the popular Science Fiction TV and literature of the 80's and early 90's, which by the way is some of my favorite, can be seen as a heavy influence on his themes and stile. Coming from me, this is a whole hearted compliment. I have been familiar with his work and I vow to read everything he has put on page, but I know from experience that this type of story can be best appreciated in small increments with some other reads in between. This way the fast-talking, smart plotting and superb banter can have their full effect on the reader. It is like a cup of coffee and a sports drink in the morning, like the fresh air after being stuck indoors for a week, but also as a surprise math quiz right before break time. If this doesn't wake your brain up, nothing will. The story is at some time in the future in the good old USA, and some years after a plague overtook the world and killed a significant amount of the population. Many of those who survived were left "LOCKED IN", their brain unable to communicate with the victims' voluntary nervous system, thus not able to control their bodies... A long and very costly research was not able to find a vaccine, but types of androids were developed, which were connected to an implant in the sick person's brain and they participate in life through them. No, it is not a new concept, but JS does it good!!! The main character is a new FBI agent, first day on the job, is one of those who contracted Haden's Syndrome as a child and after surviving, he was lucky to be born in a very rich family and acquired always the best androids to use. At this point in time, this is a normal way of and seeing an Android on the street is no more different than seeing someone from a different race or ethnicity. It so happens that the same day he starts work, the Hadens decide to protest and strike against a new bill in Congress which affects them negatively. The city becomes a very dangerous place for the locked in and their robotic representations. And we are thrown into a murderer mystery with a ton of political and law implications, many ethical dilemmas and a world where things are very multilayered and complicated. I had a blast reading it!! P.S., the little story of the history of the Syndrome at the end is very worthwhile! It is a mocumentary of how it set on, the way they dealt with it and the way it affected society as a whole. One more example of his awareness of sociopolitical issues and how different groups react to adversity. I love this author 💓 Now I wish you all Happy Reading and may you always find what you need in the pages of a Good book!!!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    First off, if you haven't read the prequel short story for this book, do so now, even if you have already read this book. It is short but does a tremendous job fleshing out the world this book takes place in. Seriously, go read it now. And if you are feeling so inclined, check out my review of it. All done with that? Good. So at its very heart, good science fiction is about introducing some change in technology and extrapolating how that change will affect people and societies. Good ones will not First off, if you haven't read the prequel short story for this book, do so now, even if you have already read this book. It is short but does a tremendous job fleshing out the world this book takes place in. Seriously, go read it now. And if you are feeling so inclined, check out my review of it. All done with that? Good. So at its very heart, good science fiction is about introducing some change in technology and extrapolating how that change will affect people and societies. Good ones will not jolt the reader's suspension of disbelief while bad ones will keep the reader's eye's rolling non-stop. Lock In definitely falls into the first category. First off Scalzi, in my opinion, does a very good job introducing new technologies into his near future society. Technologies that exist today, but in the very early phases of development are now more widely used in the book. They include, but are not limited to: -self-driving cars (though don't trust the auto drive of the lowest bidder for government cars; some things never change) -small autonomous robots that will search through rubble to find survivors -continuous video feeds and recordings of law enforcement officials (which would have greatly clarified the events in Ferguson, Missouri) All very reasonable technology extrapolations in my estimation. Lock In felt like a very realistic world, one that could easily spring from our current technological and societal structures. In addition to new technologies, I really liked how Scalzi handled the change in social patterns brought about by the locked in population. The locked in population, after massive amounts of government and private sector research, are able to interact with the physical world using threeps (basically androids) and the virtual world. They develop their own culture in a way quite similar to contemporary deaf culture. Many people who are locked in do not feel disabled and see efforts to cure them as an attack on their culture and identity. They even have their own slang, calling norms dodger dogs (as in the hot dog they serve at Dodger's stadium. Both are basically meat stuffed into skin, and both are mostly assholes and lips). I felt the locked in culture was quite real, vibrant, and very believable. The story was also quite good. It very nicely integrated lots of themes and new technologies into a great murder mystery while illuminating the ways society and technology have changed. Scalzi does a great job pushing the technology potential to the limit and coming up with some really great scenes as a consequence (like a threep on threep fight scene that presents different challenges than a normal human on human fight). The protagonist (Chris) has a highly entertaining relationship with their partner (Vann):Chris: So you're using me for my superior tech abilities. Vann: Yes I am, is that going to be a problem? Chris: No, it's nice to be appreciated for what I can do.~~~Vann: Good, then you buy me a drink. Come on. I know a good bar. Chris: I don't think you should be hitting the bars tonight. You have a hole in your shoulder. Vann: It's a scratch Chris: A hole in your shoulder from a bullet. Vann: It was a small bullet. Chris: Fired by someone trying to kill you. Vann: All the more reason I need a drink. Chris: No bars. Vann looks at Chris sourly. The supporting characters are also very well developed and contribute greatly to the story and atmosphere. All and all this was great quick read. There were, however, some problems which cost this book a star. I thought there was a bit too many convenient contrivances ((view spoiler)[for instance one of Chris's new roommates turns out to be an expert in programming that helps crack the case (hide spoiler)] ) and too much exposition at the end. Obviously not enough to seriously harm the entertainment value of the book, but flaws that did diminish the ending a bit. All in all an extremely good sci-fi book, with snappy dialogue, a great story, and some nifty insights into society and technology. Some random thoughts: -Lots of the book takes place in DC (a city I live just south of). Scalzi does a nice job capturing the local qualities of the city: some terrible government architecture, a horrible local basketball team (until they draft the protagonist's father), and the use of actual metro stop names. -Scalzi also more than lives up to his liberal credentials. There are multiple gay characters (including a married couple) whose orientation are treated as no big deal. There are women in positions of authority. And a woman on the prowl for a quick lay isn't slut shamed and is completely open about her intentions. All in all Scalzi's future society is very socially liberal and gives me a bunch of warm fuzzies. -I liked that Scalzi presented the locked in community as being diverse, with some (those that experienced most of their lives in the physical world) preferring to interact with the world with threeps while those who suffered from it at a much younger age preferring to mostly interact online. No group is monolithic (echoing the analogy to modern deaf culture) and Scalzi does a great job presenting the locked in community as having a wide range of opinion. -As I stated above, Scalzi does a masterful job extrapolating the consequences of technology changes. When the first neural networks for introduced hackers naturally tried to exploit them for fun a profit. "With the first iteration of networks the hackers would run blackmail schemes. Fire up a series of gory pictures or put 'It's a small World' on repeating loop until the victim paid to make it stop." Truly chilling stuff, but also stuff one could reasonably expect to happen sadly. -Even in the future you can't enhance a picture past its original resolution. -If you are still unsure about this book, check out the first five chapters provided by Tor: Chapter 1 Excerpt Chapter 2 Excerpt Chapter 3 Excerpt Chapter 4 Excerpt Chapter 5 Excerpt

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cecily

    Imagine living your life at one remove, as through a veil; more of a passenger than a protagonist. Would you feel secure, claustrophobic, wanting release - and if so, at what cost? Would it be easier if it was the only existence you'd ever known, or if you had memories of a normal life? What is it that makes us human, anyway - surely not the efficacy of our physical bodies? I was hooked by the situation, but infuriated by the constant and very crass exposition (for which I downgrade the book), an Imagine living your life at one remove, as through a veil; more of a passenger than a protagonist. Would you feel secure, claustrophobic, wanting release - and if so, at what cost? Would it be easier if it was the only existence you'd ever known, or if you had memories of a normal life? What is it that makes us human, anyway - surely not the efficacy of our physical bodies? I was hooked by the situation, but infuriated by the constant and very crass exposition (for which I downgrade the book), and not very interested in the investigation at its heart (which is perhaps more due to my general lack of interest in detective fiction, rather than an objective weakness of the book itself). If you want a sci-fi cum detective drama, I suggest these instead: Century Rain by Alistair Reynolds: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... The City & The City by China Mieville: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Locked-In, Unlocked: What Price the Keys? Haden's was virus that swept the world, leaving millions "locked in". If Hadens' bodies are given basic care, they can "live" in a virtual space called the Agora, and can also operate in the real world via a threep (a robotic body, reminiscent of C-3PO) or, if they can afford it, by occasionally using the body of a licensed Integrator (a patient who recovered, but whose brain was changed by the disease, and then further modified by neural nets). Some choose to live mostly in the virtual world, some in the physical one. That alone is a fascinating choice: being equal in a virtual world, or in some senses disabled in the physical world. Using - or being - and Integrator is another tricky choice. The Integrator is conscious throughout, but not fully in control; aware of what the other person is feeling, but not actually able to read their thoughts. Some find it a good approximation of what they remember before they caught Hadens, either for themselves or to remind others that they are still human. Some find it painful or unpleasant, and of course, a few use it for nefarious purposes. Then there are the socio-cultural aspects: prejudice against Hadens, and to what extent they can, practically and psychologically, be treated like other people. One thing that was really odd was that most of the threeps - even the really high end ones - didn't show facial expressions. No wonder some people feel uncomfortable around threeps and don't think of them as fully human. Some Hadens don't want cures; they fear their unique and "emerging culture that interacts with but is independent of the physical world" will be expunged. A major figure in this group is the prophetic (of course) Cassandra. There are similarities with those in the Deaf community who are against cochlea implants. I couldn't envisage the future of this world, though: Hadens' bodies age, and one male patient fathers children by semen extraction and IVF, but as the number of patients declines through deaths of longstanding patients, coupled with fewer new infections, what then? Murder, Big Business, Cop Clichés, Dodgy Lawyers, Computer Hacking Yeah. Plenty of that. I can't be bothered to go into it as it didn't really captivate me; I'm sure other reviews cover it. At one point, a police officer mentions how another is a stereotypical messed up cop, but that doesn't redeem it, imo. Clunky Exposition - Throughout The book opens with three pages of a Wikipedia-type article about the incidence of and "treatments" for Haden's Syndrome. It also covers the politics: the huge investment in (and therefore profit from) treatments, followed by the recent Abrams-Kettering bill, meaning there would be huge cuts in US government funding. Despite that (which is fine), and a few occasions where the narrator gives background as part of the narration to the reader (also fine), there are innumerable occasions throughout the book where one character goes into implausible detail to another character about something they would know. Why not make the original article a bit longer and if necessary, have the narrator explain other things as they arise? What's Missing Sex. I don't really want to read a book about human/cyborg sex, but I couldn't quite figure out its role in this society. There is vague mention of knowing people sexually in the Agora, though I'm not sure how that would work for those who'd been locked in since infancy, so not experienced puberty in the normal sense. There is also the suggestion (once) that some people might have sex with threeps, but although the threeps have adjustable pain sensors, there's no mention of any kind of physical pleasure from the threeps, so why would anyone using one engage in sex, or would it always be coercive, or perhaps commercial? There are one or two things that are mentioned for no apparent reason, but never explained. In particular, twins who share a threep and who can blow up a balloon. Chris wonders how on both counts, is told not to ask, and they never appear again! There's also the oddity of a threep opening the car window because someone is smoking. Huh? In this futuristic world, there were two fights, within 40 pages, using knives - and skillets! Bizarre. Diversity I like the way that race, gender and sexuality are - mostly - treated as varied and unexceptional. I was quite a long way through before it occurred to me that although I'd assumed Agent Chris Shane was male, I'm pretty sure Chris' gender is never stated, or even implied. Similarly, the fact that Chris is mixed-race/bi-racial is only indirectly suggested (there are two mentions of the mother being of one of Virginia oldest political families, and when the father (view spoiler)[kills an intruder, the image of a black man with a gun is assumed to scupper his chances of political office (hide spoiler)] ). And why should it be. There's reference to a male character's husband, too. That was fine, until "his husband" was used several times in places where it felt rather too deliberate. The Navajo Nation has a central role in the story, and there is passing mention of the historical importance of Navajo Code Talkers in WW2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_ta... Quotes Nothing worth noting. :(

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    I can't remember the last time I read a sci-fi novel. But I am very pleased to have picked this one up. I had a lot of fun reading this. This book is set in the future, and the future is a world where a virus has swept across the world. It's similar to the flu bug, but 1% of the population are left "locked in", the patient is awake and aware of everything that's happening, but their body is not able to move at all. In the USA alone that's 1.7 million people in this state. So America builds an en I can't remember the last time I read a sci-fi novel. But I am very pleased to have picked this one up. I had a lot of fun reading this. This book is set in the future, and the future is a world where a virus has swept across the world. It's similar to the flu bug, but 1% of the population are left "locked in", the patient is awake and aware of everything that's happening, but their body is not able to move at all. In the USA alone that's 1.7 million people in this state. So America builds an entire world for " locked in" patients called The Agora, a virtual environment for people to live and socialise in. There are also "threeps", essentially robots which patients can control fully with their brains, so they can live and move among the rest of the population. There are also Integrators, who are people who can let " locked in" patients use their bodies for a period of time. The main character is Chris Shane, who has joined the FBI. He's a "lock in" and uses a threep in the real world. He is partnered with Agent Vann, and thrown straight into a murder case. This was an interesting, intelligent read. I don't read sci-fi because I always worry I won't understand it, but this was easy to read and I understood everything. The story was fast-paced and moved along very quickly so I wanted to keep reading, to see where the story was going next. I will definitely be reading more from this author, and would highly recommend this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elyse

    "Locked In" is the first Science Fiction book I've read all year, (I've read very little science fiction in an entire lifetime). 'John Scalzi' fans have told me this novel is different than all his others. I have nothing to compare. But.., I liked it!!! I was pleasantly surprised at storytelling. It felt like a contemporary fiction crime thriller. The story takes place in the future... But not so far off -- that I couldn't Imagine cars driving themselves. ( we have these now). I find the whole "h "Locked In" is the first Science Fiction book I've read all year, (I've read very little science fiction in an entire lifetime). 'John Scalzi' fans have told me this novel is different than all his others. I have nothing to compare. But.., I liked it!!! I was pleasantly surprised at storytelling. It felt like a contemporary fiction crime thriller. The story takes place in the future... But not so far off -- that I couldn't Imagine cars driving themselves. ( we have these now). I find the whole "highly contagious virus" to be scary- and interesting to examine whenever I've come across this topic, whether in a book or a movie. A virus is spreading across the globe...( flu type symptoms), ... a full blown disease causes LOCK IN. People with 'Lock in', are not able to physically move their body, yet they are fully aware - their brains functioning...struck with full consciousness. Once this disease has spread and taking over a large critical mass of people... ( known as the Haden Syndrome), ... it's clear the culture of the world is changing. Two awesome - standout characters - making this novel very entertaining are: FBI agent Chris Shane ( new rookie), and Leslie Vann, (veteran agent). The work together on a murder case. They reminded me a little of Bruce Willis and Sybil Shepherd, in the TV show moonlighting. Great dialogue between these male/female characters..,power struggles.. humor..sharpe... witty interacting. There are deeper themes being explored about moral justice. When people are trying to find a cure for the disease, there are many people with the disease that just want to be accepted into society - the way they are. This world was fascinating, frightening, and somewhat realistic! Science Fiction.... ""FOR NEWBIES".... (that's me)..., and "OLDIES"! GOOD STUFF, * Houston*,

  17. 5 out of 5

    Annet

    From London City Airport... waiting for my flight with a fresh cappucino...finished this one, great book!! How shall I describe it... a crime novel in apocalyptic sort of time. Quite unusual, great read. Recommended & looking forward to the followup, I believe to be published in 2018.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    I want to say this was fun (and I think I just did), so I'll just say it outright, Fun! I'm a little hesitant to say that because the story behind the story has a serious tone – a flu epidemic and a multi-murder investigation. This is what I think it is about books like these: Sci-Fi authors are cool because they imagine things yet to exist, crazy stuff that could possibly happen, or just crazy stuff that probably won't. I don't read a lot of Sci-Fi books, but I'm drawn to certain ones for those I want to say this was fun (and I think I just did), so I'll just say it outright, Fun! I'm a little hesitant to say that because the story behind the story has a serious tone – a flu epidemic and a multi-murder investigation. This is what I think it is about books like these: Sci-Fi authors are cool because they imagine things yet to exist, crazy stuff that could possibly happen, or just crazy stuff that probably won't. I don't read a lot of Sci-Fi books, but I'm drawn to certain ones for those reasons. All fiction stretches the imagination in some way, but I guess books like these stretch that “imagination of the possible” and I like how Scalzi (my first Scalzi by the way) gets heady with ideas without sacrificing the story. I thought it would be about a pandemic, but it's more about what might happen after a pandemic (one with very specific cause and effect, so kudos to the author for originating those ideas as well). Not at all an apocalypse type of novel, if you're sick of those kind of books. Bonus for readers who like crime/mysteries here too. And there's a book #2 coming. Count me in!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2014/08/25/b... Whenever I need a good pick-me-up or book to brighten up my day I always turn to John Scalzi, and he hasn’t let me down yet. I’ve been a big fan of his ever since I read Old Man’s War, and that’s also when I started associating his work with light, humorous sci-fi that’s also accessible and not too overwhelming for someone like me, who is predominantly a fantasy reader and not always in the mood for hard science fiction 4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2014/08/25/b... Whenever I need a good pick-me-up or book to brighten up my day I always turn to John Scalzi, and he hasn’t let me down yet. I’ve been a big fan of his ever since I read Old Man’s War, and that’s also when I started associating his work with light, humorous sci-fi that’s also accessible and not too overwhelming for someone like me, who is predominantly a fantasy reader and not always in the mood for hard science fiction or heavy techno-jargon. In fact, many of Scalzi’s books were my gateway to the genre; they were perfect for when I was first getting my feet wet and trying to read more sci-fi. So I was very excited to read Lock In, his latest novel about a future society of robots and humans. Of course, the big twist here is how this robot revolution came about, and the premise is unique and unlike anything I’ve encountered before. Indeed, Lock In is also quite different from all of Scalzi’s previous books – its tone is perhaps more pensive and serious, with a few scientific and technological concepts that are more complex and may be a little more difficult to grasp. In this near-future setting, the world has survived a virulent flu that has swept across the globe and devastated much of humanity. This deadly new strain of the disease killed many of those infected in the first stage, but some of those who survived were also relentlessly hit with a second stage of symptoms which included acute meningitis. A percentage who went on to survive this second stage found themselves “locked in”, trapped in a state of being fully awake and aware, but having no control over their voluntary nervous systems. This condition, named Haden’s Syndrome after the president’s wife who was the most famous person afflicted with lock in, was given much attention and a lot of money was thrown at it in the hopes of finding a cure. None was found, but a way to get “Hadens” walking and talking again was developed, thanks to biological advancements in neural networks and technological advancements in robotics. The brains of those locked in were essentially linked up to humanoid personal transports affectionately named “Threeps” (after C-3PO of Star Wars fame), allowing them to interact with the world once more. Thus Scalzi sets the stage for the real story, which most closely resembles a mystery-suspense. However most of the above background information has to be pieced together as the reader progresses through the book, as we are pretty much dropped right into the thick of things without much explanation upfront. We don’t find out until about a dozen pages in the protagonist of the novel is a Haden himself. It’s rookie FBI Agent Chris Shane’s first couple of days on the job and already he’s thrust into a what looks to be a messy could-be-murder-could-be-suicide case involving an Integrator, who are rare individuals that survived the flu and the meningitis stage and didn’t get locked in, only to develop a brain structure which would allow Hadens to link up their minds to use their bodies as if they were their own or a Threeps’. As you can see, the concepts in this novel are quite intricate and complex, and I’m actually really impressed Scalzi was able to get all the relevant information across without having to commit the cardinal sin of shameless, wholesale info-dumping all over these pages. After having a peek at several early reviews of Lock In from readers who found themselves slightly lost and confused especially at the beginning of this novel, I was a bit concerned that I would feel the same way, but surprisingly I did not. It’s true that not all the details and answers about the world are available right away, but I still found the story easy to follow and I ultimately liked the way knowledge about Haden’s Syndrome and its history were gradually presented to us. All the information came to light eventually, and it happened very naturally and in a way that didn’t distract from the storytelling. And while this book is a tale of mystery at its heart, what I liked best about its was its subtle societal themes and messages about topics like disability, ethics in medicine, and other tough questions for a country in which millions suffer from a very expensive and life-altering condition. Scalzi explores the implications of this and the effects that Threeps might have on the population. I’ve always thought of his books as more “popcorn reads”, like with novels such as Redshirts or Agent to the Stars, but Lock In also surprised me with its depth and moments of thoughtfulness. That being said, this book is still pure Scalzi in terms of his light, easy prose and plenty of humorous and snappy dialogue. Lock In was fun and entertaining, and I had a fantastic time reading this, but I also feel this is a next step for the author. It’s a huge part of what made this book such a great read, because to be honest, as mystery or suspense novels go, it’s not as mysterious or suspenseful as it could be (after all, it was pretty obvious who the bad guy was, and there’s really no having to guess whatsoever). But the writing, the premise of the story along with the background of Haden’s Syndrome and what it means for the world all came together in one perfect package for me. As a result I devoured this book in a bit more than a day and I loved every minute of it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Stephan

    My first book by Scalzi and it was amazing! Such great ideas and the world is really engaging, fascinating and totally relateable. I am going to read more from him. And I will grab the upcoming sequel the first moment I can.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Scalzi scores again with me in his solid storytelling and imaginative play on technology trends. The big “what-if” here concerns advances in brain-machine interfaces that allow someone who is largely paralyzed to live in the real world by controlling a robot. The premise gets pushed to a large scale following a plague resembling viral encephalitis that kills off a lot of people and leaves millions intellectually intact but unable to move, a state referred to as “lock in”. The care of these peopl Scalzi scores again with me in his solid storytelling and imaginative play on technology trends. The big “what-if” here concerns advances in brain-machine interfaces that allow someone who is largely paralyzed to live in the real world by controlling a robot. The premise gets pushed to a large scale following a plague resembling viral encephalitis that kills off a lot of people and leaves millions intellectually intact but unable to move, a state referred to as “lock in”. The care of these people’s bodies, known as Hadens, is subsidized by governments, and full rights are given for their personal drones, or “threeps”, to operate and function in jobs in society on behalf of their owners. The story balances an exploration of the social and ethical aspects of life in this society and a murder mystery involving another class of people affected by the plague, the “Integrators”. These folks suffered some brain damage, but did not end up with the lock in disability. They have a special ability, with extensive training, to submit to having their bodies controlled through an interface with Hadens, and thus they can make a good living serving effectively as occasional human threeps for wealthy Hadens. Our hero, Chris Shane, is a Haden taking up a new position as an FBI agent. He is assigned to a brutal murder where the prime suspect on the scene is an Integrator. It helps that his feisty new female partner, Agent Vann, turns out to be a former Integrator. I found all this pretty cool. You get all the elements of a police procedural with a rookie trying to prove himself while delving into a brave new world of a new kind of cyber-people. The legal and moral conundrums concerning privacy and attribution of crime in this new context reminds me of Asimov’s “I, Robot” series. The issues raised for the psychology of identity and meaning in life for the lock ins reminds me as well of Varley’s “Persistence of Vision”, which deals with a unique society formed by victims of a virulent measles epidemic which creates the birth of thousands of people who are blind and deaf. I appreciated Scalzi’s insight that adults struck down by the disease would appreciate a sense of agency in the world through their threeps while those affected in utero or as infants invest more time living in a virtual world created for Hadens known as “the Agora.” Unfortunately, he resorts more to telling instead of showing the nature of this latter mode of living. Classic sensory deprivation experiments revealed how the mind starts losing its integrity even after short periods of being cut off from input. If sensory input is intact, but movement gone, as with quads and ALS, there can still be self-agency and sanity as long as communication and self expression is possible. That a mind can then begin to thrive better with amplified connections to a virtual world of people is fascinating to consider. Having an artificial body is a different kettle of fish. I love science fiction traditions for exploring such themes as science is beginning to make some of their elements a reality. Most people eat up movies like "The Terminator", "Matrix", or "Avatar" without dipping into the long writing tradition on these themes. I encourage more people who don’t generally read science fiction to give this a whirl.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    Scalzi does it again. Society is struck with a form of meningitis in which certain people are 'locked in' to their bodies - able to feel and hear and see and think - but completely unable to move. These people are called Hadens. They can use droids that are uploaded with their consciousness to move around in the physical world. Another, much smaller subset of people were affected but were not paralyzed. These are called Integrators and Hadens can hire them to serve as a vehicle for their conscious Scalzi does it again. Society is struck with a form of meningitis in which certain people are 'locked in' to their bodies - able to feel and hear and see and think - but completely unable to move. These people are called Hadens. They can use droids that are uploaded with their consciousness to move around in the physical world. Another, much smaller subset of people were affected but were not paralyzed. These are called Integrators and Hadens can hire them to serve as a vehicle for their consciousness. I am boiling things down to their simplest form, here. Basically, this is a science-fiction police procedural. So if you like science-fiction, and you like mysteries, this is a nice little hybrid of the two. Our main character is Chris Shane, a Haden and a newly minted FBI agent. He is investigating a grisly death and things escalate - sometimes in very strange ways. The whole debate about Hadens (getting 'unlocked' or 'preserving Haden culture') reminded me strongly of the debate about deaf community and culture vs. the advantages of cochlear implants. I'm not sure if Scalzi did this intentionally, but there were definite parallels at some points in the book. ... This book is almost 100% pure dialogue. It's about 95% dialogue. If that bothers you - if you want descriptions and people's thoughts - you will be upset. However, I promise you that it's a good story. Using dialogue so heavily detracts from Scalzi's ability to build characters and to show character development. Whereas a different author could craft a good image of a character in a reader's mind in 10 or 20 pages - it takes Scalzi 90 or even 100. This isn't BAD per se - but it's definitely a unique style and one that takes some getting used to. The characters are eventually crafted - by the end of the novel you know them better. But notice I said, "by the end of the novel." This can be frustrating for some readers. Scalzi did the same thing - to a slightly lesser extent - in Redshirts. Here it has gotten noticeably more pronounced. I ended up adoring Shane and his cryptic, hardass partner Leslie Vann. But it took me a long, long time to even discern their personalities. Again, I don't think it detracts from the book. It's simply a different way of writing, but I understand if it doesn't work for all readers. ... The science is NOT difficult to understand, the book is easily accessible for people who do not have a hard science degree. The book is fun and interesting and entertaining. It is a quick read, very quick.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Char

    4.5 stars! Count me in as new fan of John Scalzi! After listening to Scalzi's Redshirts, (also narrated by Will Wheaton), I knew I would be reading and/or listening to more of his books in the future. I wasn't all-out crazy about it, due to what I felt was the excessive use of "he saids" and "she saids" in the narrative, but I recognized interesting world-building and great story-telling skills and wanted to try more of Scalzi's work. I'm so glad I did! The world-building in this book is just...bey 4.5 stars! Count me in as new fan of John Scalzi! After listening to Scalzi's Redshirts, (also narrated by Will Wheaton), I knew I would be reading and/or listening to more of his books in the future. I wasn't all-out crazy about it, due to what I felt was the excessive use of "he saids" and "she saids" in the narrative, but I recognized interesting world-building and great story-telling skills and wanted to try more of Scalzi's work. I'm so glad I did! The world-building in this book is just...beyond most of what I've read in the past. It's a bit complicated to try to explain in this small space, but it involves people being "locked-in" as a result of worldwide epidemic. "Locked- in" is a condition that leaves a person completely mentally awake and aware, but unable to physically move at all. So many people are affected by this condition that entire corporations and businesses spring up to deal with the phenomenon. For instance: creating android bodies, (called threeps), which those in a locked-in condition, (who can afford them), can use to move around and have a life. The level of realistic detail here is crazy-I admire the imagination that can create such a world and then populate it with people that became real to me. Add to all this a murder mystery, even more detail on those locked-in, and you have a fabulously entertaining story which Will Wheaton did a great job in narrating. I do still feel, however, that the usage of the "he said" and "she said" tags, is a little excessive and for that, I deducted half a star. Other than that, I can find no other faults with this story. At the end of the audiobook, a novella was included, which explains even more how the disease originated and was spread. I appreciated the additional details. I highly recommend this audiobook to fans of John Scalzi, (though all of you have probably already read it), and to fans of science fiction that doesn't get too bogged down in the science part of the term. Lock In was a fun, fun ride!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Whitney Atkinson

    This book wasn't horrible, but I had very little motivation to return to it every time I put it down. Sci-fi isn't my favorite genre to begin with, so I was actually surprised that I enjoyed this world, yet once the whole FBI mystery aspect of this novel was thrown in as well, it lost my interest again. This book took me too long to read, so important characters introduced in the beginning of the book were meaningless to me when I reached the solution. This just resonated very "meh" with me.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    A big surprise to me, but I loved this book and I am far from a lover of Science fiction. Plus I learned many new words like threeps and integrators. The thought of a flu that would affect the world as Hadens does in this novel is absolutely frightening. But I suppose it has before, the Spanish flu, but that killed people, Haden does much worse. A murder mystery, some great characters and a fast moving pace kept me reading with great curiosity.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    2.5 stars Meh. Barely science fiction. Mostly police procedural. Too much dialogue, and lacking in Scalzi's usual wit and humor. Infodumps before the novel started, over dinner and at other times (Show, don't tell!). I expected more/better from Scalzi. Glad I borrowed it from the library and didn't buy it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Figgy

    Featured on my 2014 favourites list! I had a pretty good idea going in that I would enjoy this book. What I didn’t know was that I was going to spend a whole day telling myself I would read “just one more chapter” putting off breakfast… and then lunch… until there were no more chapters left to negotiate over, and it was practically dinner time. Often, when entering a fictional world that is different for our own–be they far in the future, on another world, or in a place ruled by magic–we have to l Featured on my 2014 favourites list! I had a pretty good idea going in that I would enjoy this book. What I didn’t know was that I was going to spend a whole day telling myself I would read “just one more chapter” putting off breakfast… and then lunch… until there were no more chapters left to negotiate over, and it was practically dinner time. Often, when entering a fictional world that is different for our own–be they far in the future, on another world, or in a place ruled by magic–we have to learn the rules, and there’s often at least a little confusion as we try to catch up and figure out what exactly is going on. The rest of this review can be found here!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    I confess that I really struggled with this book. It's not that I think it a bad book, rather I think it's a book I was incapable of fully appreciating. Not my style, too outlandish? No, not really either of these. I like books that commence with an event that so disturbs our world that it is forever significantly changed (in this case it was a disease, of which more later). It does require a leap of faith to accept the new world, but I was up for that too and fully willing to jump in neck deep I confess that I really struggled with this book. It's not that I think it a bad book, rather I think it's a book I was incapable of fully appreciating. Not my style, too outlandish? No, not really either of these. I like books that commence with an event that so disturbs our world that it is forever significantly changed (in this case it was a disease, of which more later). It does require a leap of faith to accept the new world, but I was up for that too and fully willing to jump in neck deep and determined to go with the flow. A disease that starts off with flu-like symptoms has swept the world and millions of people have been infected. Many have died but some have survived. Of the survivors, a proportion have been locked-in. That is to say, their minds are intact but they are unable to use their bodies. But it's not quite as disastrous as this sounds as the locked-in people are able to use one of two options (or maybe both of them) to live a life much closer to normal than one could imagine. Option one is to effectively live life through a robot which has humanoid-style body. But this gets better because they can swap robots like we can exchange hire cars and in this way can leap about the globe with some ease and at rapid pace. Option two is to effectively inhabit the body of a willing survivor of the disease for periods – i.e. one that hasn't been locked-in – and in this way experience life through a borrowed body. I've left out some of the fine detail here, but I'm sure you get the drift. We follow one locked-in survivor from his first day as an FBI agent – yes, that’s right they can hold down jobs too – and a very busy day it is. And up to this point I was still with it – hanging in a bit, but still there. But then it started to get much more complex as things happened and more and more characters entered the frame. I began to have my doubts as to whether my imagination could accept the ever growing list of skills available to our lead man. But more disturbingly I realised that I didn't really care where this was going because I hadn't really become invested in the outcome for any of the characters. I hung in a bit longer but it just wasn't working for me. I gave up. So what was the real problem here? Well two key issues for me were: 1) my personal dislike of stories with over-complex plots and a cast of thousands, and 2) it was starting to feel like one of those books where every problem is resolved by the disclosure of yet another new invention that just happens to fit this precise scenario. I hate both of these. The other problem was that it just became boring. I'm afraid my rigid scoring system only allows one outcome for an unfinished book – so one star it is.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Like every Scalzi book this one was well plotted and an enjoyable read. It's like the retro science-fiction books of the 50s and 60 - a tense, fun, thriller with cool sci-fi concepts mixed in! The core conceit of the society altered by Hadens (and the parallels drawn to the the internet and the Native Americans) were interesting and certainly gave me some pause for thought about internet privacy, ownership, and the vulnerability of this global system. It's light, fast and easy but you can't beat Like every Scalzi book this one was well plotted and an enjoyable read. It's like the retro science-fiction books of the 50s and 60 - a tense, fun, thriller with cool sci-fi concepts mixed in! The core conceit of the society altered by Hadens (and the parallels drawn to the the internet and the Native Americans) were interesting and certainly gave me some pause for thought about internet privacy, ownership, and the vulnerability of this global system. It's light, fast and easy but you can't beat this author for a really damned readable book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Hmm this is a tricky one to comment on - you see you could zoom in on it and dissect it to the most basic elements of the story, in this case its a cop buddy story where two totally dissimilar characters team up and actually learn from each other and in the process get the bad guys and become heroes. But that is far too easy and misses a HUGE part of the story. Or you could zoom out and see it as shocking discussion about how sooner or later any natural disaster (in this case the Hadens syndrome) Hmm this is a tricky one to comment on - you see you could zoom in on it and dissect it to the most basic elements of the story, in this case its a cop buddy story where two totally dissimilar characters team up and actually learn from each other and in the process get the bad guys and become heroes. But that is far too easy and misses a HUGE part of the story. Or you could zoom out and see it as shocking discussion about how sooner or later any natural disaster (in this case the Hadens syndrome) can become a political discussion point and eventually a source of personal gain and political intrigue. And how regardless of how far the scientific advancement may be somethings in human nature never change. But this makes the whole thing seem dry and lumbering - when it most certainly is not. So what is it - well its a well crafted story which use science fiction, crime story and medical drama and turn it in to a fast paced mystery which is so enthralling all the trappings (or if you prefer distractions) melt away and you get drawn in to the race to the punchline.

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