Woo hoo! An honest to God book review on bookshelfbattle.com! It’s about time!
Without a doubt, John Scalzi’s Lock-In was the best book I read in 2014. Unfortunately I waited until March of 2015 to review it, but better late than never.
If you’re planning to read it yourself, you might want to click off of this review. I’ll try my best to avoid them, but some spoilers may emerge.
First off, the premise is unique and original. In the near future, a virus ravages the world and inflicts one percent of the population with Haden’s Syndrome. This condition causes people to “lock-in” to their bodies. Their minds work, they understand what’s happening around them, but they can’t speak or move. Their minds are trapped in paralyzed bodies.
These individuals come to be known as “Hadens.” Technology grows and expands to help them. A virtual community is created allowing them to communicate with one another in a simulated world. Meanwhile, Hadens also have the ability to control robots known as “threeps” (aptly named as an homage to C-3P0).
Hadens stay at home and send threeps out into the world on their behalf. The technology is so advanced that Hadens are able to hold down jobs with the assistance of their threeps.
Add to the mix integrators – humans whose minds can be “shared” with a Haden, thus giving the Haden the experience of what it feels like to have a functional human body.
The protagonist is Chris Shane – a Haden FBI agent whose threeps take a beating from the bad guys throughout the novel. With the help of his partner, Leslie Vann, a former integrator, Shane is tasked with solving a murder case that intersects with the politics and intrigue behind the Haden world.
I am a big Scalzi fan. I enjoy his ability to blend subtle humor into serious science fiction. The premise makes for some interesting scenes. For example, at one point, Shane uses his threep to foil an assassin trying to kill Shane’s defenseless body.
The book also gives rise to a discussion of virtual worlds and technology assisted realities. Could tech ever grow to the point where the paralyzed are able to experience the world virtually? What would be the ramifications?
I enjoyed it and highly recommend it.
STATUS: Shelf worthy.