4 / 5
"My first day on the job coincided with the first day of the Haden Walkout, and I'm not going to lie, that was some awkward timing."
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.
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....
I really needed this type of book, it filled a hole that has been annoying me lately. I've been so focused on all this literary fiction that I've neglected a few of my favorite beachy kind of books (sci-fi and horror). This book was perfect for that. To top it off, I picked this in audio format and one of my geek loves of all time, Wil Wheaton is the narrator. Thank you narrator gods for deciding he should be the one for this role. Have you seen his new show? The Wil Wheaton project? If not AND you like him, you must watch it. Pure geekdom at it's finest.
Enough Wheaton gushing... the book. Ahem.
Lock In had so much going for it. The author created a tragic future that could have been terribly overdone... but it wasn't. You've heard it before, a flu knocks out a huge majority of the population. Here's the catch... it doesn't kill them, it "locks" them inside their body. Since this epidemic has touched almost everyone (including the president), a cure is sought for right away. The solution comes in the form of cyborg like bodies and wi-fi minds, really great stuff. That is where it all gets interesting. I think talking too much about where the book goes would give away the fun but I will say that many different readers could find things to like here. Not only is this chock full of sci-fi fun but the entire book is wrapped around a crime with the main characters being police detectives. I have to admit that I'm not as much of a fan of the crime genre but because the crime revolves around science and technology... it was fun. I also think this would be a GREAT book to pitch to readers who shy away from science fiction.
P.S. - Check out what Arianna thought.
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