Title: Lock In
Author: John Scalzi
Publisher: Tor Books
Published: August 26th 2014
Series: Lock In #1
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Summary: 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.
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....
Review: As many have mentioned in their reviews, it was really confusing for a good first 20% of the book. But I managed to figure out everything as the book went on so it wasn't a really huge problem, I am glad I stuck to it. I am not a huge fan of mystery so it was a little boring for me during the build-up towards the climax of the book but I really enjoyed the world that Scalzi built, it does seem pretty plausible in the future with humans' obsession to live forever.
The characters were okay. Chris was basically flushing money down the toilet throughout the second half of the book, which kind of annoyed me because it made things too convenient. I had the same issue with Vann, she suddenly decided that she would tell Chris everything about her past/personal life despite being resistant to it at first. (To lead into the climax of the story?) Also, it did not really add much to the story, other than her being extra angry about the situation? I wished that the other roommates were featured more, they seem really interesting! But I guess that would probably be in the subsequent books in the series.
To be honest, I feel like this book would be perfectly fine as a standalone. Lock In was wrapped up pretty nicely and I guess my indifference towards the characters means that I would most likely not be reading the rest of the series.
Recommended for anyone who enjoys sci-fi or is a fan of John Scalzi.