Lock In by John Scalzi

lock in John Scalzi has written a few very fun books, including Red Shirts and Old Man’s War. Lock In covers a lot of familiar Sci-fi territory, but it’s still fun. One of the major gimmicks in Old Man’s War was that old people could trade their used up old bodies in for shiny new bodies that were very tough. This is kind of a foundantion story about how this tech might have come into being. We have a lot of people who got sick with a disease that left them paralyzed, but conscious-thus locked in.

So naturally our hero is a man who contracted this disease as a child and gets around in a humanoid robot while his body stays at home in the care of nurses. He’s rich, most people don’t have as much care as he does or as nice a Threep, as these robots are called. Haden’s is the name of the illness and they insist on having their own little universe to live in. For the most part, they appear to be a bunch of jerks. Then there are human Integrators who can act like robots for the Hadens. We start off with one of the Integrators found with a dead body. Our hero works for the FBI so he is called in on the case.

The story has a lot of familiar notes. It’s kind of like Surrogates, kind of like any sci-fi show with a robot for a side kick from Caves of Steel to Almost Human, and kind of like every New Guy Has a Tough First Week story ever written. It is also reminiscent of Altered Carbon with the hero hopping from body to body. I found the good guy to be a bit too good and the bad guy to not be nearly bad enough.

Wil Wheaton does a good job of reading, but it’s not really his calling.

Lock In (Narrated by Wil Wheaton)was a fun story, but not an especially great one. It has a few good moments and it is worth reading. There’s just a little too much backstory and not much drama. It’s almost like John Scalzi is writing a future history book instead of a novel.


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