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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Lock In by John Scalzi

Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery

Setting: Sometime in the late twenty-first century.

First Sentence: My first day on the job coincided with the first day of the Hayden Walkout, and I'm not going to lie, that was some awkward timing.

John Scalzi is one of my favorite authors.  In his novel he creates interesting, well developed characters and places them in unique universes.  This novel is a fine example of Scalzi's craft.

The action of this novel is in the late twenty-first century.  There has been a pandemic.  Many died, but there was a unique group of survivors.  Some became lock-ins.  Fully awake and aware but disconnected to their bodies.  Others became integrators.  These people can connect with a locked in person and allow the lock in to "borrow" the integrator's body.

Because of advances in technology, lock ins and integrators have neural nets embedded into their brains.  Lock ins can use these nets to communicate with the outside world.  They can also use these nets to connect with and control humanoid automatons.  

This advanced technology means that lock ins can participate fully in day to day activities.  They can have jobs and go to work anywhere.  They live in their automatons while their actual body lies dormant miles away.  Some lock ins never visit their bodies at all.

A multi-billion dollar infrastructure has grown to provide lock ins with computer networking services, and automatons.

In this novel, our main character, Agent Shane, is a lock in and uses an automaton.  He has just  begun his job as an FBI agent.  He and his partner, a grizzled veteran who once was an integrator, have been called to a homicide scene.  At  the scene is a victim, and an integrator covered with blood who doesn't recall killing the victim.  Of course, the evidence at the scene doesn't add up.

As they investigate, the clues lead to a nefarious individuals who want to gain control over the entire lock in infrastructure.

Will Shane and his partner discover who is behind the plot?

A novel like this, with so much original detail,would need a lot of exposition to explain the universe to the reader.  In fact Scalzi has included an informative introduction which is very helpful.

Scalzi has also included plenty of action to keep the reader interested.

I enjoyed reading this novel.  I like Scalzi's easy to read writing style.

The premise of this novel is very original. I'd love to read more stories about Agent Shane and his partner set in this universe.


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