Lock In

John Scalzi
Lock In Cover

Scalzi - Lock In


John Scalzi has built up a very complete world set in the very near future. His characters are three dimensional and their motives lend an intriguing aspect to what starts as an us vs them story. The novel is self-contained and explains the story well, and is followed by a novella detailing the history further. Clearly the author planned this out very well!

The action focuses on an FBI team tasked with crimes related to a particular group of humans - those who were affected by a disease called Haden's Syndrome. This malady affected a significant chunk of the population, especially a group that didn't fully recover and were "Locked In" - alive and aware but totally paralyzed. This latter group is able to interact with the ordinary human world through robots with a direct neural interface.

These devices lead to questions of the rights of individuals, including who funds research and medical care. The novel starts with the passage of a congressional act to reduce this funding. Related conflicts fall to the FBI team and frame much of the story. A deeper mystery develops, drawing the reader in to this world.

Both members of the team and many of the additional characters are very well developed. The author builds up a world that feels very real and connected to ours. He also manages to incorporate the Navajo, the NBA, elite code hackers and even a Ninja, though that last is not as fleshed out as I would like. There is also quite a bit of humor in this novel, excellently brought out by reader Wil Wheaton.

I found the mystery aspects compelling and the action well described. The disease and funding were both completely believable, and the story nicely concluded. Recommended!