Lock In by John Scalzi

Lock In by John Scalzi

A novel of our near future, from one of the most popular authors in modern SF

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....

Hey! Here's my review.

This is the first book I have read by the author, but not the last.

I went into the book expecting purely science fiction, but found a crime novel in a science fiction setting. The title Lock In refers to a disease that occurs in the not too distant future, where some people end up fully conscious but unable to move - locked inside their own bodies. I found the science that is developed to help these people interact in a meaningful way in the world fascinating. The book starts with a brief overview of this disease and how it is being managed, then throws you into the story. It took me a little while to figure out what is going on. I liked the main character. The whole situation reminded me a little of a game I used to play on my phone - Plague Inc.

When I came to write my review, I noticed other people had mentioned there is a free prequel called Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome. Off to read it now.... 

  • Where: Local library
  • Format: paperback
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