2 editions. 2 narrators. 1 thrilling story. You can enjoy Amber Benson's narration here.
"I love working with Audible, in no small part because they’re committed to doing what’s right, both for my books, and the people who listen to those books. There's a really excellent reason for Lock In to have two entirely different versions, so when it came time to make the audiobook, Audible did an ingenious thing: they asked both Wil Wheaton and Amber Benson to record entire versions of the book. As the author, I’m impressed with Audible’s commitment to my narrative - and I’m geeking out that both Wil and Amber are reading my book. This is fantastic." (John Scalzi)
A blazingly inventive near-future thriller from the best-selling, Hugo Award-winning John Scalzi.
Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.
A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what's now known as "Haden's syndrome", rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two of them are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an "integrator" - someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder becomes that much more complicated.
But "complicated" doesn't begin to describe it. As Shane and Vann began to unravel the threads of the murder, it becomes clear that the real mystery - and the real crime - is bigger than anyone could have imagined.
BONUS AUDIO: Audible's audio edition of Lock In contains the bonus novella, Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome, written by John Scalzi and narrated by a full cast.
©2014 John Scalzi (P)2014 Audible Inc.
"Hugo-winner Scalzi successfully shifts away from space opera with this smart, thoughtful near-future thriller resonant with the themes of freedom, ethics, and corporate greed….This powerful novel will intrigue and entertain both fans and newcomers." (Publishers Weekly)
"The novel--which contains plenty of action, great character development, vivid and believable worldbuilding and a thought-provoking examination of disability culture and politics--is definitely worth the ride." (Kirkus)
"Another brilliant novel from a writer who has quickly become one of the genre’s most successful and intriguing practitioners." (Booklist)
Wow. Mind bending concept, well-written.
This is not typically the kind of book I listen to, but I followed to the hype and pre-ordered. I was pulled in! I could not stop listening to this near future tale about newly minted FBI agent Chris Shane. I am not familiar with John Scalzi's writing, this being my first of his novels, but I'm sure hoping there will be another book soon following Chris's career.
Wil Wheaton did a great job, as usual, reading the novel. I have NOT listened to my other narrator option, but am saving her for the next listen. I think Wil fit the Chris character well. Not sure how I'm going to like a feminine voice narrator with a male main character narrator.
One small disappointment: The book itself is only 7.75 hours long. There is a "bonus" novella appended to the recording of Lock In. I was hoping for two more hours of action around the 7.5 hour mark, but then realized the story was wrapping up. The novella seems to be pertinent information about Haden's, which, I hope, means I sequel is coming!
In pursuit of truth, justice, and an end to spoilers!
1. The story is a crime solving procedural in a sci-fi setting, and both sides of that are very well done! If you don’t care for either of those genres this probably isn’t for you. If you like one more than the other and the plot sounds interesting then I’d say give it a go. Just don't go in expecting a dystopia or a panicked medical thriller.
2. Confused about the two narrator options? There’s nothing in one version you might miss by choosing the other, so listen to the samples and go with your favorite. They really are two readings of the same book! Yes, there’s something a bit clever behind having different narrator options, but I'll let you discover what it is on your own. Both narrators do a fantastic job, so really you can’t go wrong.
3. There’s an attached novella at the end, a faux nonfiction-style account of the beginnings of Haden’s Syndrome. It originally came out as an optional prequel so you can choose to read it first or last. If you want to jump to it first, it’s 2 h 15 min into the second download on the Wil Wheaton version, 2:58:30 on the second download of Amber Benson’s. The novella’s many narrators were a great touch but overall I found the novella too scattered to add much. I had no problem jumping into the main story without reading it first, and I'm glad I didn't bother.
As for my personal impressions? Fun book! Not too dark, not too fluffy, good pacing, likeable characters and interesting concepts -- I can see a lot of people enjoying this one. I don’t normally seek out procedurals, but the quick pace and sci-fi quirkiness kept things fresh. The Scalzi fans are going to be happy! I’m beginning to recognize Scalzi’s humorous touches and short and sweet closes. When I got to the end I wanted to talk to someone about the story, so I guess I’m going to have to start recommending this so I can! (I’d also love to know who catches the extra little bit of social commentary without being told first…. Yet another reason I need to go push this book on people!) There’s room in the world building for more stories in this setting. I don’t really expect one, but if there ever is a sequel I’d definitely buy it!
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
John Scalzi doesn't do a lot of fancy footwork with language (he's not a writer that will give you a punchy new metaphor or a lot of symbolism), but for my money he is one of the best storytellers out there. You can count on Scalzi to give you an exciting plot with a great climax and a satisfying conclusion, characters you can love and love to hate, and a great sense of humor woven into the story to keep things fun and on pace. Lock In is no exception - the story follows Chris Shane, a new FBI agent, and his more experienced and jaded partner, Leslie Vann, as they work to solve a crime and uncover a conspiracy in a world radically changed by a pandemic and the technology that has evolved to cope with the affects of the disease. As much as I enjoy traveling the universe in sci-fi, I love the occasional look at the future from planet side and Lock In does that nicely with a lot of focus on bio-engineering, virtual reality, and software programming as well as a smattering of economics, politics, and sociology mixed into a story that is at heart a fast action police procedural. Scalzi gives you just enough science and logic to buy in to his world without slowing the plot down with too much detail.
I had a little trouble getting started with the story because you enter the story about 20 years after Haden's has struck so although this is a near-future sci-fi and you will recognize some aspects of the world as similar to today, the story begins after the radical changes the virus has wrought and it took me a little time to catch up. Once I did, I couldn't stop - lots of action and great characters. There seems to be some room in here for "the continuing adventures of Chris Shane" and I really hope to see more - I was so sorry when this ended.
I have liked Wil Wheaton's narration each time I've heard him, but I think he has matured as a narrator and is even better now. He doesn't really do "character voices", but he has the perfect emotional inflection for the dialog and the narrative both. Since this story is mostly told first person from the POV of Chris Shane, Wheaton was a good fit.
The novella, Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome, which is at about 2:15 on the second download is terrific also. It is the story of how the virus struck and spread, the government and medical community response to it, the outcomes of the disease, and the beginning stages of the technology developed to cope with Haden's Syndrome. This is told sort of documentary style with a whole cast of narrators (including some of the really fun ones like Luke Daniels and Bronson Pinchot) and reminded me a little of World War Z. The novella is recorded after the book, but you could read these in either order. The book is much more action packed so it's probably a more exciting way to learn about Haden's, but I think I would have liked to have heard the novella first because I would have had a better understanding of Lock In from the beginning. Either order really is OK; neither the book nor the novella would spoil the other.
Very entertaining and a little thought-provoking - highly recommended!
I ordered this book early and got both versions. I listened to the Will Wheaton version first, and I thought I had the alternate narrator figured out (I figured it would be from the point of view of the other protagonist and a completely different book).
Hmmm. Not so much. In fact I was disappointed at first when I realized it was the "same" book. Except it isn't the same book. The nature of the protagonist is completely different in the second narration of the thing by Amber Benson. I haven't finished the second one yet, but I can't believe the difference in the way I think of the character. What a fantastic concept. This had to be a very difficult book to write. Kudos to the author.
I don't want to drop a spoiler, and in this case it is extremely difficult not to do that.
The story is quite creative as are all of Scalzi's worlds. I will never think of "robots" the same way again. That is one of the author's strengths. He is able to create a world with unbelievable concepts and make it real for me. I haven't decided which narration I prefer -- both have their strengths. Will Wheaton is one of my favorite young narrators (after Ready Player One), but I really like Amber Benson's take on the character. I'm just glad I got the 2 for 1 special when I did.
Love to read. Mysteries, history, romance, biography, current events, science, classic fiction. No vampires. No zombies. No self-help. Find me on GoodReads and BookLikes.
Another fine outing by John Scalzi. Loved it for all the reasons already given and won't bore anyone by repeating them.
I managed to pre-order my copy before the offer deadline and was able to get both versions for one credit--and I am so glad that I did. I will tell you straight away that it is very strange listening to this story in two different voices but rewarding. If you never thought that the narrator was key to an audiobook, listening to both readers will show you just how much the narrator influences the read.
Book blogger at Bookwi.se
I enjoy Wil Wheaton as a narrator and his dry reading style seemed to match the book well. Scalzi is doing a near future FBI mystery here. There is good humor and tension and the scifi elements are handled well so that those that are not fans of scifi will still probably enjoy it.
I am mixed about whether you should listen or read the non-fiction-ish introduction piece before or after the book. It is at the end of the audiobook, but I didn't realize it was there until I was done. The beginning of the book is a bit confusing if you haven't read it. But on the other hand, it may give away some of the story if you read it first.
Overall though I really liked the book and while Scalzi wrapped up the story well, I could see this becoming a series.
Love Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Romance books.
One part science fiction, one part crime drama with a dash of political thriller. Smartly written, the story moves quickly and holds your attention. The story is based in a futuristic world and Scalzi does a good job integrating and explaining the technology while not letting the story get bogged down. Crime/police stories are not typically my thing, but I really enjoyed this one. If you like his other books, this one will not disappoint. I also loved the Will Wheaton version.
This one is a grand slam home run. The story line, characters and premise all fit together to hook the listener. Wil Wheaton's narration on top of a good story completes this combination to make one of the better audio books out there.
Be sure and stay with the audio book for the bonus Novella at the end. The chronicle of "Haden’s syndrome" done like you were listening to a documentary is very good. The use of multiple actors to put it together makes it all that more entertaining.
If you like science fiction, you will like this one. It really made the miles go by fast.
The book jumps right into the future with a very reasonable situation and unfolds with some really interesting ideas. Everything is well thought out and presents some entirely new ways of thinking about humanity and the mind.
The investigation was helped along thanks to the unique way the author allows the lead to move through geography. I thought it was really well described and thought out.
Wil Wheaton is surprising as a narrator and now one of my absolute favorites. He does a good job with all the voices and really adds "acting" to the reading. The way he reads is just as important as the voices.
Say something about yourself!
Yes, I would recommend this audiobook to a friend because it's a well thought out story that's both plausible, but totally sci-fi. The world was build nicely and even though Haden's might be a ridiculous thought, the author made it seem like this is something that could actually happen.
One of the most memorable moments for me was when Vann explained to Shane why she is no longer an integrator, and why she lives her life the way she does. I couldn't stop listening during that part.
I have not, but after listening to this, I definitely will look into more of his narrations.
I would love to see a film for this book. My tagline would be "Wait'll you see the twist." lol I'm awful at this.
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