A human diplomat creates an interstellar incident when he kills an alien diplomat in a most unusual way....
In John Scalzi's re-imagining of H. Beam Piper's 1962 sci-fi classic Little Fuzzy, written with the full cooperation of the Piper Estate, Jack Holloway works alone for reasons he doesnt care to talk about.....
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456....
The space-faring Yherajk have come to Earth to meet us and to begin humanitys first interstellar friendship. Theres just one problem....
Our universe is ruled by physics, and faster-than-light travel is not possible - until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time....
John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First, he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army....
One day, not long from now, it becomes almost impossible to murder anyone - 999 times out of a thousand, anyone who is intentionally killed comes back....
Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you're not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire....
It's just another day of high school for Zack Lightman. Then he glances out his classroom window and spots the flying saucer.....
The ex-planet Pluto has a few choice words about being thrown out of the solar system. A listing of alternate histories tells you all the various ways Hitler has died....
Colonial Union Ambassador Ode Abumwe and her team are used to life on the lower end of the diplomatic ladder....
Bob Johansson has just sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of leisure....
Nothing ever changes in Sanders. The town's still got a video store, for God's sake. So why doesn't Eli Teague want to leave? Find out....
Adrian Tchaikovksy's critically acclaimed stand-alone novel Children of Time is the epic story of humanity's battle for survival on a terraformed planet....
The folks in Mike Erikson's small New England town would say he's just your average, everyday guy. And that's exactly how Mike likes it....
At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut.....
There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job.....
It's a simple story. Boy finds proof that reality is a computer program. Boy uses program to manipulate time and space....
2 editions. 2 narrators. 1 thrilling story. You can enjoy Wil Wheaton'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.
I'm only a third of the way through this book but I felt obliged to say that Amber Benson's narration is fantastic.
If you want a narrator who does character voices and dramatizes a novel, choose Amber Benson's version.
If you want a narrator who has a great speaking voice but has a drier, quicker delivery without any character voices, choose Wil Wheaton.
54 of 58 people found this review helpful
John Scalzi always seems to come up with new ideas or new twists on old ideas (is there really anything new under the sun?). The premise is one of the most terrifying things that could happen to a person. It’s worse than life imprisonment in solitary confinement. In solitary you can stand, sit, move around (not much, but you can move), smell (but you might not want too), talk, feel, and see. Now imagine a virus that causes millions round the world to die, worse than the Spanish Flu of 1918-1920. Of those that recover 99%, go on with their lives. For other 1% (4 million in the US alone), it causes a person to be locked into their body, awake and aware of the world around them, yet incapable of seeing, moving, or communicating, unable (luckily?) to even taste the gruel that is piped into their body. Hundreds of millions in the US a around the world have been ravished by this disease, and it continues to strike down more victims every year.
But into this chamber of horror comes a ray of light, an open door leading back to the world - in the form an external body that sort of looks like the Droid CP3O. At least that is the style for the First Lady, an early victim of the virus, “Haden’s syndrome”. Named for its most public and well know victim - herself, the President’s wife. The First Lady has been given the first external body – our hero - Chris Shane, a child at the time, was granted the second, a child size version and becomes Haden’s syndromes second most famous victim. Yet through the adversity Chris becomes a beacon of hope for those suffering from this modern black plague. More than twenty years have gone by since the first outbreak; Chris is now a fledgling FBI agent and is trying to step out of the spotlight, into making a real life.
The second day on the job, the rookie Chris and new partner Agent Vann meet in front of the Watergate Hotel. The meeting spot is next to car that is sporting a love seat – embedded in the roof after being thrown through a seventh floor window. From this point on you are trapped in a twisted and totally enjoyable world pulled from the mind of John Scalzi.
A truly wondrous place to be.
On the narrators:
One of the more interesting curves is that Scalzi never hints at Chris Shane’s sex. So having Amber Benson and Wil Wheaton narrate individual versions is now more reasonable to me. I picked Amber’s version and wish that I had also picked up Wil’s so I could have compared them in their entirety. I have been a fan of both actors since the days of Star Trek, the Next Generation and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I decided on Amber’s version because I had the pleasure of catching Wil on several other books and I wished to hear Amber tackle this project.
Amber Benson, held her own as a late comer to Buffy. Even surrounded by a powerful cast of actors, she stood out early enough to really earn the prized role of Willow’s (Alyson Hannigan) better half, through 47 episodes. Narrating, “Locked In” Amber seems to start off slow – but then you realize that she is reading a report from a government agency, so it’s going to be a bit flat. The characterization starts building from Chapter 2 and, for the most part, is strong and clear. Very captivating, it allows you to lean back and take pleasure in the theater of the mind that John and Amber weave for you.
One note on Wil’s reading – I have only heard the five minute sample of his interpretation of the text, and it’s typical Wheaton. Crisp, clear and full of impact, and swift - it seems powerful and should also be a good experience.
21 of 23 people found this review helpful
As with past works by Mr Scalzi, Lock In is a light and entertaining story that doesn't quite do justice to its compelling underpinnings. In this case, Mr Scalzi has fashioned a world in which 1% of the population are physically paralyzed and escape their bodies by directing their awareness and cognitive function into alternate frameworks. Some choose a non-spatial internet; some choose synthetic android bodies; a few choose bodies of "Integrators"—healthy humans who lease-out their bodies on an hourly basis. Unfortunately Mr Scalzi treats the first category merely as a MacGuffin and thereby severely limits the novel's potential as a work of true speculative fiction. Instead the reader is treated to a standard-issue cop story with a pleasant veneer. Lock In is told competently but without the liveliness that elevated some of his past novels. Mr Scalzi proved to be deft at writing dialogue for lawyers in Fuzzy Nation and fast-talking agents in Agent to the Stars, but his ear for dialogue has failed him here: the cop-talk is stale and predictable. A more adventurous book could have survived such weaknesses, but Lock In is timid in its scope and never quite recovers from its failings.
The narrator's sex is never known, so the option of listening to a male or female performer makes some sense. I alternated between Ms Benson's and Mr Wheaton's performances, and for whatever reason, the narrator became female in my mind, so perhaps Ms Benson's voice was the more significant for me. Mr Wheaton, on the other hand, is the brisker of the two and thereby imparts some extra energy into the story. All things being equal, I would recommend his performance.
21 of 23 people found this review helpful
I am a big fan of John Scalzi. And Lock In lived up to the very high level of promotion that Audible gave it. Audible made the unusual choice of producing two different editions of the book. One narrated by Wil Wheaton and one narrated by Amber Benson. If you pre-ordered one of the editions, you would get the other for free.
Scalzi is a talented writer. He has moved around in various subsets of the sci-fi genre, from Military Science Fiction to near term Alien encounters, to rewrites of classic sci-fi. Lock In is more of a police procedural (or FBI to be more accurate) that happens to have a near term sci-fi setting.
The Hadden’s syndrome has forced the FBI set up a department to deal with crimes that might involve the Hadden’s sufferer using the body of either their robot or a human integrators. Chris Shane (a Hadden’s syndrome sufferer) is a new member of this FBI department.
Shane happens to be the poster boy for Hadden’s, literally. Shane’s father is sort of a cross between Michael Jordan and Donald Trump. A former basketball star, turned billionaire real estate mogel, he was an early proponent of government intervention in Hadden’s and trotted out Chris (in his robot body) throughout his childhood.
As an adult, Chris is trying to find his own way in the world.
While this is primarily a mystery/thriller, Scalzi uses the book to bring up a number of issues around medical ethics, medical testing, the role of government and business corruption. None of those issues are really settled, but I think the raising of the issues is done well and in context of the story and not as propaganda.
What I thought was an interesting, but a very subtle move, was that the main character was black, his FBI partner was a lesbian (or maybe bisexual, it wasn’t completely clear) and there were several other gay couples in the book. This was a book that seemed to want to make a statement about breaking down walls of discrimination (against Haden’s sufferers as well as LBGT community and more traditional racial discrimition).
The way that Scalzi chose to do that was to not make a big deal about it. Chris Shane was black, his Dad was a big time basketball player, but also a very, very good businessman. And other than one incident where race really mattered, the fact he was black, while not minimized or swept away, was just part of the story. Similarly with the variety of LBGT issues and characters. I don’t want to make too much about that, because the book is just good writing.
I doubt it will become a series because it wrapped up without a lot of loose ends. But if it does become a series, I am definately pre-ordering the next book.
At the end of the audiobook was an ‘oral history’ about the outbreak of the Haden’s virus. It was released as a separate kindle book earlier, but I didn’t know about it until I started Lock In. It probably would have been better to have a better understanding of the disease prior to reading the book, but reading it after was fine as well.
I do wish there was a way to easily sync between the two audio editions. Wheaton must be a faster reader than Amber Benson because her version is almost an hour longer than his version. It does make me want to read the last couple of Scalzi’s books that I have not previously read.
(I didn't realize this until I read an article about it later, but there are no gender words about the main character. As a guy, I understood Chris as a guy. But Scalzi intentionally did not put any gender info on Chris. So some will see Chris as male, and some as female.)
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
Hard to listen to when every other sentence includes "(character) said". This book is probably good if you read it, since you can mentally skip all the "(character) said" parts.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
Seriously, this passed edits? First grade dialogue. The only attributives used were 'said' and 'asked'. After every other word (practically). This is the most annoying dialogue I've ever read. Seems like it would have been a good story, but I cant finish the book; just can't.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I'm a reluctant fan of John Scalzi. I think he has some of the greatest plots in the genre. Unfortunately his writing talent falls far behind his imagination. I keep hoping with every book that he will develop his skills a bit more, but in the end, he remains the same old Scalzi:
Every plot point is explained and re-explained. Scalzi doesn't trust his readers to understand subtleties, so there are none. Ever.
Every character speaks with the same voice. Not literally-- the narrator does a fine job of differentiating the characters... I mean, the dialog itself. The speaking style of any Scalzi character from any of his books is completely interchangeable with any other. I used to think that this was partly because Wil Wheaton narrated most of his stuff, and Wil doesn't attempted to do character voices often. But even with Benson as the narrator here, all the character seem like carbon copies of one another.
The plot is okay, and maybe in the absence of movies like Avatar and Surrogates, the story would be more interesting. Unfortunately the novelty of people using puppet bodies has been fairly well explored at this point. Lock In covered little new ground.
I've had my Scalzi fix for the year. I'll probably be back in a year or two to be disappointed in the next one.
13 of 16 people found this review helpful
This was set up in two different editions. The one I listened to was narrated by Amber Benson and I think she did a fabulous job. I actually looked to see if it was only one actor because Amber is so fantastic at voices that I thought another gal may have joined her. Her voice and play on characters is nice because there is not a small amount of characters in this. It would have been very difficult to keep up with everyone had she not done such a superb job with the accents. I actually laughed a few times because the idea of the person matched what her accent was.
As the book introduces the characters I got a sense of real snarkiness form the two lead gals. Both cops, one locked in and one not. I love snarkiness in characters so this really thrilled me. There is some stuff about both gals that Scalzi does go into later on in the plot but not so much that it drags anything down. I really enjoyed hearing about their backgrounds, although, we learn about the main character, Chris Shane, pretty fast.
Then there is the sciencey stuff. I totally loved this part until the explanations start rolling. To be honest maybe some of it went over my head but not so much that I couldn't continue with the story line so I just went with it and tried to keep up. It was fantastically done being that John Scalzi had to explain the entire mystery behind what is driving the plot. This was great too because at about 10% I was asking where the story was going to go and shortly thereafter I got my answer. There IS a mystery behind it all but the Hadens have to be explained before the story can really get in that direction.
Audiobook purchased for review by ABR.
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23 of 29 people found this review helpful
What did you like best about Lock In (Narrated by Amber Benson)? What did you like least?
I found the "I said." "She said." "I asked." "She asked." distracting, which was no fault of the narrator, as far as I could tell, but was very distracting.<br/><br/>While I realize that my review is generally negative, I did generally like the story, I just wanted/expected more from it.
How could the performance have been better?
As a woman, I can say that when I try to talk in a deep voice I almost have to hold my breath to get it to sound right, and then at the end, I can let the air out. I feel like I listened to Amber puffing through the entire story.
Was Lock In (Narrated by Amber Benson) worth the listening time?
If you can get past the narration, the story is okay, it's a really great concept but I felt unsatisfied at the end. He built this amazing world and then didn't do anything memorable with it.
Any additional comments?
I was just re-reading other reviews of this and discovered there is another version that is read by Wil Wheaton, and I'm kicking myself for listening to this terrible version. Huge upset, especially since I spent the first hour or two thinking how stupid it was to have a female narrator.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful
I can't believe a book with such high ratings and hype could possibly be so poorly written. The created world's premise was amazing... I loved the novella at the end laying out the history of Hayden's and how the lock in world came to be... great start. However, the "he said, she said, I said" is irritating at best... the plot within the world is thin and unbelievable, the majority of characters in the book swear... each using the same Deity and body orifice profanity which I personally found not only unlikely but unbearable. Hideous... I said... #### he said.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Where does Lock In rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
This is my favourite of the Scalzi stories I've listed to. Mostly due to the awesome reading by Amber Benson.
What does Amber Benson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
Amber Benson manages to create a dramatic story where you can almost forget the descriptive prose.
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
Lock - In - Threepio FBI
Any additional comments?
Scalzi appears to have a verbal tick, which is noticeable when read, of using "said" a lot. When reading a book you can skim this but when it's read it jumps out (at least to me). <br/><br/>The appended full cast novella "Unlocked" was awesome!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful