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Lock In: A Novel of the Near Future by John…

Lock In: A Novel of the Near Future (edition 2014)

by John Scalzi (Author)

Series: Lock In (1)

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1,7761266,019 (3.89)154
Title:Lock In: A Novel of the Near Future
Authors:John Scalzi (Author)
Info:Tor Books (2014), Edition: 1, 336 pages
Collections:Your library

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Lock In: A Novel of the Near Future by John Scalzi


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I enjoyed this book but would have been totally confused if I didn't read the free online prequel first. Definitely read it first - http://www.tor.com/2014/05/13/unlocked-an-oral-history-of-hadens-syndrome-john-s... ( )
  Awill424 | Jun 9, 2019 |
I recently read Scalzi's 'Redshirts', which immediately preceded this novel. Although 'Redshirts' won the Hugo award for best science fiction novel of 2013, I was disappointed in it; I felt it was a one-trick pony that relied far too much on people recognising the trope at the heart of the story and having a laugh at jolly old science fiction's expense. All very clever, but where's the sense of wonder? I asked myself.

The answer was that Scalzi was saving it up for his next novel. From the very first page, I was fully engaged with FBI Agent Chris Shane and their first day on their first assignment. Slowly, the world Agent Shane occupies was revealed to me: a world of neurological catastrophe alleviated for the survivors by technological advancement. In this near-future world, a global pandemic, Haden's Syndrome, has left a sizeable minority of the population "locked in" - fully awake and aware, but unable to communicate or respond to stimulus. They are released from this state via implanted neural nets, allowing them to interact with the world via telefactored robots, known as "threeps" (for a Star Wars character), or occasionally via an 'Integrator', a pandemic survivor whose brain structure has been changed by the infection and has left them fully functioning but able to act as organic threeps.

After 25 years, Haden's Syndrome has changed society, technology and almost everything else from restaurants to real estate. And politics. And business. And this is the world that Agent Shane walks into on their first day at work. Scalzi shows, rather than tells; and he shows so seamlessly that the world is convincing from the outset. Onto this premise, he maps what is a fairly standard procedural story of corporate skullduggery, though the plot could only exist in this world. I was struck by the sheer ordinariness of the world depicted - ordinary in a good way, in terms of narrative. The characters, Shane and fellow agent Vann, are well-drawn, if slightly stereotyped as sardonic, wise-cracking law enforcement officers; but then again, I can cope with sardonic. Scalzi does pull a minor character twist about two-thirds of the way through (it's the same one Robert Heinlein pulled in 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress'), but he hides another such twist in plain sight, which is clever.

This novel works for me on all levels, although I have to admit that the motive of the crimes sort of emerged for me from about half-way through; but that was my years of reading science fiction allowing me to guess the sort of things that could be classed as a crime in this particular world. But I wasn't disappointed, either with that or with anything else in this book. ( )
3 vote RobertDay | May 29, 2019 |
once I saw where the plot seemed to be going I didn't feel the need to finish it. stopped at 83%. I didn't care enough about the characters. ( )
  Swybourn | May 29, 2019 |
After a brutal virus has infected a huge proportion of the population worldwide, some of the affected have become "locked in," meaning that their minds work well but their bodies are completely immobilized. One alternative they have is to buy a threep, which is like a robot their minds inhabit and control; another option is to hire an integrator, a formerly infected person who acts as them. This makes crime fighting quite challenging, as new FBI agent Chris Shane discovers. Using a threep himself, it is nonetheless tricky to tell who is who when a murder is committed and high power skulduggery is happening. His partner Vann adds all the more complexity, with a chip on her shoulder accompanying her good detective work. ( )
  sleahey | May 16, 2019 |
This is a police procedural, set a few decades in the future. Self-driving cars are the norm, and a meningitis-like disease called Haden’s Syndrome has caused millions across the globe to experience lock-in, a condition where their bodies are completely paralyzed but their minds are largely unaffected. And so a concerted political push for alleviation has augmented neurological research to the point where brain implants allow the Hadens to remote-control human-shaped robots. (The setup is slightly similar to the Bruce Willis flick Surrogates) Twenty-five years after the disease hits, those robots are a normal sight, and Hadens (while piloting their machines) enter the workforce -- including the FBI. Some crimes, too, start cropping up where either Hadens or their robots are a factor.

I don’t have much to say about this one: it’s a futuristic crime novel, and that’s exactly what you get. It’s competently done, but not something I will remember the plot of two years from now. A tad predictable sometimes (the Navajo data centre, for instance, was way too obvious).

(Also, the main character’s gender is never revealed, leaving readers’ interpretations wide open. The audio book comes in two versions, read by a man and a woman.) ( )
1 vote Petroglyph | Apr 7, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Scalzi, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Benson, AmberNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wheaton, WilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Joe Hill, I told you I was going to do this.

And to Daniel Mainz, my very dear friend.
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Haden's syndrome is the name given to a set of continuing physical and mental conditions and disabilities initially brought on by "the Great Flu," the influenza-like global pandemic that resulted in the deaths of more than 400 million people worldwide, either through the initial flu-like symptoms, the secondary stage of meningitis-like cerebral and spinal inflammation, or through complications arising due to the third stage of the disease, which typically caused complete paralysis of the voluntary nervous system, resulting in "lock in" for its victims.
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"Fifteen years from now, a new virus sweeps the globe. 95% of those afflicted experience nothing worse than fever and headaches. Four percent suffer acute meningitis, creating the largest medical crisis in history. And one percent find themselves "locked in"--fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. One per cent doesn't seem like a lot. But in the United States, that's 1.7 million people "locked in"...including the President's wife and daughter. Spurred by grief and the sheer magnitude of the suffering, America undertakes a massive scientific initiative. Nothing can restore the ability to control their own bodies to the locked in. But then two new technologies emerge. One is a virtual-reality environment, "The Agora," in which the locked-in can interact with other humans, both locked-in and not. The other is the discovery that a few rare individuals have brains that are receptive to being controlled by others, meaning that from time to time, those who are locked in can "ride" these people and use their bodies as if they were their own. This skill is quickly regulated, licensed, bonded, and controlled. Nothing can go wrong. Certainly nobody would be tempted to misuse it, for murder, for political power, or worse....John Scalzi's Lock In is a novel of our near future, from one of the most popular authors in modern science fiction"--… (more)

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