**Notice** Due to transfering back from a godaddy hosted wordpress blog back to blogger, reviews published before june 2017 don`t all have a pretty layout with book cover and infos. Our apologies.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Lock In by John Scalzi

This book is original and intelligent on so many levels that I really hope this review will incite at least a few people to read it. Personally, I didn't know what to expect when I picked it up. I thought a science fiction novel would be a nice change of pace, however, it's important to note that even if it does have its place in science fiction, it can also be categorized as a mystery thriller.

I love the tag line that's on my copy. On the cover it says "A novel of the near future" and that is chilling thought. To think that a global epidemic could affect so many people, kill a good percentage of the population, and render some people to be locked in, physically paralyzed but still aware, is probably closer to science than it is fiction. The present day outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is still a threat, and recent scares of influenza may have been dramatized by the media but the fact remains that some grave illness could in theory affect the world and the potential for an global epidemic is scary. Obviously Haden's disease in this book is fiction but I think the author did an amazing job in making it as realistic as possible.

For the characters in the novel that are locked in, science and technology has advanced enough in this near future to enable them to interact with the world via a neural implant in the brain that allows them to control a threep, some sort of vehicle/robot for their minds. The beauty of the written word is that even if the narrator of the book is the voice of a young man that uses a threep to get around, it's very easy to forget that his real body is hidden somewhere in a room, unable to move. The narrator, Chris Shane, is a poster child for Hadens, those who are locked in. As a new FBI agent, he didn't expect his first week on the job to turn out like this. As he and his partner, Agent Vann, navigate the world of major technology and pharmaceutical companies, what begins as a simple suicide/murder investigation turns out to be a major corporate conspiracy. The many twists and turns will boggle your mind and will have you rethink the idea of hacking and fraud.

Agent Chris Shane is a very likable character. As a young man of a billionaire family, I admire his commitment to not let his famous past define who he is. He does not want to be a hindrance to the community and as an FBI agent, he believes he can make a difference. It would be easy for any Haden to simply live off the system, to use their disability as an excuse to not work and not  contribute to society but all the Hadens we encounter in the novel are contributing members of society. Among others, we meet Hadens that are lawyers, doctors, coders, corporate CEOs and then some that are simply administrative workers. The possibilities are endless and I love that even if Haden's disease has defined who they are, they are still normal people, trying to live out their lives. We can analyse all we want, but their situation is comparable to those living with disabilities in our world. They are subject to prejudice and bullying, but at the end of the day, they are human beings and should be seen a such.

Overall, I think the author is a genius in combining scientific elements to a possible yet improbable future. As a science geek, I admire authors that blend science and technology in their writing and that aren't afraid to go into details. In this case, it was brilliantly done. I could see this novel developed into a series because the characters are likable and so well established. However, I would be as pleased with a series as I am with a stand alone. The conclusion of the story is open to endless possibilities, yet wraps up the novel quite efficiently. Lock In was the first novel I read from this author and if his other books are as engaging as this one, I will definitely check out his other works.

Read an excerpt

Read the prequel - Unlocked: An Oral History or Haden's Syndrome

stephsig moon

Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

Follow Tynga on: Facebook | Twitter

2 People left their mark' :

  1. I've only read one other book by this author and enjoyed it, but this one sounds fascinating! You're right, it does sound like something that could happen and it's a little scary. Really enjoyed your review, and have added this one to my wishlist!

  2. I have read... well, listened actually, to two of his audiobooks, Agent to the Stars and Fuzzy Nation. Both I love equally. This title keeps popping up as a recommendation to me from Audible. It is definitely in my TBR list. Thanks for the review.