Book Review – Lock In

Lock In (Lock In, #1)Lock In by John Scalzi
My rating:  (5 / 5)

“Making people change because you can’t deal with who they are isn’t how it’s supposed to be done. What needs to be done is for people to pull their heads out of their asses. You say ‘cure.’ I hear ‘you’re not human enough.”

Why have I never read John Scalzi before? He’s wonderful. This book was wonderful. It was wacky and strange and fascinating. I just loved it.

The world of Lock In is near – future, post-plague United States. A disease called Haden’s has hit the planet hard. It starts with a flu, progresses to meningitis symptoms, and if you are lucky enough to survive to that point and not end up with all kinds of cognitive issues, you might end up with Lock In syndrome – where you are conscious, aware, fully functional mentally, but unable to use your body at all. You are locked inside of your own body and unable to communicate, react, live like you would want to.

But thank goodness for modern technology! Scientists figure out how to create a computer neural network, which, once surgically implanted, can interact with the human brain, bringing freedom to those suffering from Haden’s. Some go on to use personal transports, colloquially referred to as “threeps” because they look like… well, you know…

Chris just graduated and is on the job for his first day at the FBI, assigned to a special unit that deals with crimes involving Haden victims and all the technology surrounding them. Why is that such a good fit for him? Well, because he uses a threep himself, as he’s a Haden – struck with the disease when he was just a toddler.

The mystery in this book has depth and complexity. The technical details of the future world are well-thought out and incredibly intricate. The world-building is exquisite in it’s simplicity and boldness, in particular the way race and gender issues have taken such a back-burner in a world where life is divided by those who are struck with Haden’s and those who are not. Prejudices have changed. Hate crimes have changed.

And it’s so deliciously creepy.

This is a really entertaining book. I would absolutely love if this became a series, because I want to go back to this world and find out if they manage to make it through all the advancements they were working on to help Haden victims. I want to see what’s up with Chris’ roommates. I want to know what his Dad gets up to. I feel completely engaged and connected with these characters and I was so sad when the story was over.

If you enjoy either sci-fi novels or mystery novels, this is a great read. If, like me, you enjoy both, then you are going to go bonkers over this book.

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