Title: Lock In
Author: John Scalzi
Year Published: 2014
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Audiobook Length: 10 hours
Synopsis: 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.
One per cent doesn't seem like a lot. But in the United States, that's 1.7 million people “locked in”...including the President's wife and daughter.
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: Another wonderful Scalzi/Wheaton combo. This audiobook is available read by either Amber Benson or Wil Wheaton. I, of course, had to go with Wheaton. This novel was a little bit more on the serious side than some of Scalzi's more humorous books. As I listen to Scalzi's books, I can really see his writing develop. This book feels like it was written in 2014. I really enjoyed the diversity present in this book.
The nickname for people using, pretty much, robot bodies is excellent! All of the technology is really interesting. I love that it is reactive technology. There was an incident and science progressed the world forward in response. The Agora is also a really cool concept. I wonder how long it is until we have a similar virtual space.
This book is a police detective story at its roots, but politics and elements of the business world are also very prevalent.
There are many parallels in this book to both current and past civil rights movements. I liked the way the topics of segregation and minorities were dealt with in this novel.
I definitely recommend this book, especially the audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton. I give this book a 4/5 and can't wait for the next Scalzi book!