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Lock In (Lock In #1)

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  27,474 Ratings  ·  3,343 Reviews
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 "Loc
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Tor Books
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AnjaM I agree, this was a pleasant surprise, I was wondering if this was his writing style as well. Also, I liked how he randomly included homosexuality…moreI agree, this was a pleasant surprise, I was wondering if this was his writing style as well. Also, I liked how he randomly included homosexuality without making a big deal about it. And - a very important one - is anywhere in the book even stressed out that Chris Shane is a male? It could be short for Christina. I believe this was deliberate as well because Scalzi avoids ever mentioning gender in connection to the Agent. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
3.5-4 stars.

When I first started reading this book I was so confused I thought I was going to give up. Then my friend Mike came to my rescue explaining that there is a novella to this book up at Tor. I really think that part needs added to this book, it's very hard to figure out what's going on without it.

Once I read that I was sucked into this book.
A flu type virus has been transmitted globally. At first it starts flu like, if you survive that the secon
Nov 16, 2014 Patrick rated it it was amazing
I've read pretty much everything John Scalzi has written at this point, so when I pick up one of his books, I don't expect anything in particular. I just know he's going to take me somewhere, and I trust that he's going to make the ride a pleasant one.

Even so, I was a little surprised by this book. In some ways it's sci-fi but not rocketships-and-lasers sci-fi. In other ways it's a mystery, but not the Victorian-style Sherlock sort of thing. It's also kind of a police procedural. Maybe a bit of
Sep 30, 2014 Nataliya rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
If you ever want a morbid exercise to kill some time, imagine living through this: full consciousness, full comprehension - and the complete inability to control your body, a physical paralysis that does not affect your mind, a complete and total helplessness that does not even provide you with a merciful unawareness but instead leaves you just lying there, conscious but immobile and unable to communicate.

This is what hell is like, I'd imagine - imprisonment within your own self. This is what li
mark monday
from the Earth Journal of Scientific Analyst SLJLK92349UO, Earth Invasion Exploratory Unit

It’s tough to be a human: that is something I’ve learned during my lengthy time studying the human species on this planet Earth. Life itself is hard, of course, with its everyday pitfalls and each individual’s long-term ambitions and disappointments… but for humanity that difficulty is compounded by all of the –isms that exist to divide humanity from itself. Isms based on race and culture and gender and ori
Dec 14, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it
First off, if you haven't read the prequel short story for this book, do so now, even if you have already read this book. It is short but does a tremendous job fleshing out the world this book takes place in. Seriously, go read it now. And if you are feeling so inclined, check out my review of it.

All done with that? Good.

So at its very heart, good science fiction is about introducing some change in technology and extrapolating how that change will affect people and societies. Good ones will not
Imagine living your life at one remove, as through a veil; more of a passenger than a protagonist. Would you feel secure, claustrophobic, wanting release - and if so, at what cost? Would it be easier if it was the only existence you'd ever known, or if you had memories of a normal life? What is it that makes us human, anyway - surely not the efficacy of our physical bodies?

I was hooked by the situation, but infuriated by the constant and very crass exposition (for which I downgrade the book), an
Jun 17, 2015 Lyn rated it really liked it
This one is going to be made into a movie, sooner rather than later. Go ahead and call Fandango and decide which candy goes best with your buttered popcorn (Junior Mints). I would not be at all surprised if Scalzi did not have some preliminary discussions with Hollywood.

Lock In is a delicious combination of Philip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov with Scalzi’s signature snarky characterization and dialogue. This is also vaguely reminiscent of Poul Anderson’s Harvest of Stars books where consciousness ca
Whitney Atkinson
Dec 01, 2015 Whitney Atkinson rated it it was ok
This book wasn't horrible, but I had very little motivation to return to it every time I put it down. Sci-fi isn't my favorite genre to begin with, so I was actually surprised that I enjoyed this world, yet once the whole FBI mystery aspect of this novel was thrown in as well, it lost my interest again. This book took me too long to read, so important characters introduced in the beginning of the book were meaningless to me when I reached the solution. This just resonated very "meh" with me.
Mar 28, 2016 Carmen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Science-Fiction Fans
Scalzi does it again.

Society is struck with a form of meningitis in which certain people are 'locked in' to their bodies - able to feel and hear and see and think - but completely unable to move. These people are called Hadens. They can use droids that are uploaded with their consciousness to move around in the physical world.

Another, much smaller subset of people were affected but were not paralyzed. These are called Integrators and Hadens can hire them to serve as a vehicle for their conscious
4.5 stars!

Count me in as new fan of John Scalzi!

After listening to Scalzi's Redshirts, (also narrated by Will Wheaton), I knew I would be reading and/or listening to more of his books in the future. I wasn't all-out crazy about it, due to what I felt was the excessive use of "he saids" and "she saids" in the narrative, but I recognized interesting world-building and great story-telling skills and wanted to try more of Scalzi's work. I'm so glad I did!

The world-building in this book is just...bey
Featured on my 2014 favourites list!

I had a pretty good idea going in that I would enjoy this book. What I didn’t know was that I was going to spend a whole day telling myself I would read “just one more chapter” putting off breakfast… and then lunch… until there were no more chapters left to negotiate over, and it was practically dinner time.

Often, when entering a fictional world that is different for our own–be they far in the future, on another world, or in a place ruled by magic–we have to l
2.5 stars


Barely science fiction. Mostly police procedural.

Too much dialogue, and lacking in Scalzi's usual wit and humor. Infodumps before the novel started, over dinner and at other times (Show, don't tell!). I expected more/better from Scalzi.

Glad I borrowed it from the library and didn't buy it.
Jun 19, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it
Scalzi scores again with me in his solid storytelling and imaginative play on technology trends. The big “what-if” here concerns advances in brain-machine interfaces that allow someone who is largely paralyzed to live in the real world by controlling a robot. The premise gets pushed to a large scale following a plague resembling viral encephalitis that kills off a lot of people and leaves millions intellectually intact but unable to move, a state referred to as “lock in”. The care of these peopl ...more
Brendon Schrodinger
Sep 07, 2014 Brendon Schrodinger rated it really liked it
I have been looking forward to this one for a while now. I really enjoyed 'Old Man's War' and have had an entertaining time with a couple of his other works, but I have been reticent to jump into the larger 'Old Man's War' universe through the sequels. I'm not a huge fan of war. So when the synopsis of this came out last year I found myself excited to read some new and different Scalzi.

Lock-In is a near future sci-fi mystery that really is a well-rounded and fascinating read. There's stuff to st
Oct 17, 2015 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Like every Scalzi book this one was well plotted and an enjoyable read. It's like the retro science-fiction books of the 50s and 60 - a tense, fun, thriller with cool sci-fi concepts mixed in!

The core conceit of the society altered by Hadens (and the parallels drawn to the the internet and the Native Americans) were interesting and certainly gave me some pause for thought about internet privacy, ownership, and the vulnerability of this global system. It's light, fast and easy but you can't beat
Feb 13, 2016 Andrew rated it really liked it
Hmm this is a tricky one to comment on - you see you could zoom in on it and dissect it to the most basic elements of the story, in this case its a cop buddy story where two totally dissimilar characters team up and actually learn from each other and in the process get the bad guys and become heroes. But that is far too easy and misses a HUGE part of the story.

Or you could zoom out and see it as shocking discussion about how sooner or later any natural disaster (in this case the Hadens syndrome)
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Whenever I need a good pick-me-up or book to brighten up my day I always turn to John Scalzi, and he hasn’t let me down yet. I’ve been a big fan of his ever since I read Old Man’s War, and that’s also when I started associating his work with light, humorous sci-fi that’s also accessible and not too overwhelming for someone like me, who is predominantly a fantasy reader and not always in the mood for hard science fiction
Jun 17, 2015 Jokoloyo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am waiting to write my review until the buddy read event of this book is finished in SFI Group Discussion.

For now, I can say that this novel is my biggest mistake in judging book by cover/description for this year. I had expected this novel is a not-for-me book, but then I found it very enjoying. In my hype, when still reading it, I was tempted to give solid 5 star!


The buddy read has finished.

It is a SF with detective mystery theme. It has a great start, and keep the pace until the
Emma Sea
What really strikes me about the book is that it's the first genderless MC I've encountered. I could be mistaken and overlooked an instance, but Scalzi goes to great lengths to never close off the possibility of Chris Shane being biologically either male or female, and, of course, once you remove the physical body from the equation, we can be whoever and whichever, or all, or none, that we want to be.

(Update 26 Sept 14: Tor has a piece about this today".

And Scalzi talks about his reasons for doi
UPDATE 10/1/2014: If I was rating this book by the world-building alone, it probably would have gotten five stars. The idea of exploring Locked In Syndrome as a world-wide epidemic within a sci-fi framework is sooooo interesting to me. Lots of o’s to exhibit enthusiasm, there. I’m particularly interested in the ways that Scalzi, instead of focusing on the immediate effect of the disease itself, more uses it was a way to create a new social dynamic and class of people.

See, due to the high profile
Diane S ☔
Jun 16, 2015 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A big surprise to me, but I loved this book and I am far from a lover of Science fiction. Plus I learned many new words like threeps and integrators. The thought of a flu that would affect the world as Hadens does in this novel is absolutely frightening. But I suppose it has before, the Spanish flu, but that killed people, Haden does much worse.

A murder mystery, some great characters and a fast moving pace kept me reading with great curiosity.
May 31, 2015 Elyse rated it really liked it
"Locked In" is the first Science Fiction book I've read all year, (I've read very little science fiction in an entire lifetime).
'John Scalzi' fans have told me this novel is different than all his others. I have nothing to compare. But.., I liked it!!! I was pleasantly surprised at storytelling. It felt like a contemporary
fiction crime thriller. The story takes place in the future... But not so far off -- that I couldn't
Imagine cars driving themselves. ( we have these now).

I find the whole "h
Executive Summary: Another fun Scalzi book. That shouldn't really surprise anyone at this point.

Audio book: I opted for the Wil Wheaton version of the audio since he's the way I prefer to consume Scalzi books. However thanks to the Audible pre-order sale, I got a free copy of the Amber Benson version that I definitely want to listen to at some point now that I've finished.

I will say the run time of 10 hours (11 for the Benson version) is a bit deceptive because the last 2hrs and 15mins or so is
Tim The Enchanter
Unique and Complex - 3.5 Stars

This book had a great concept. I was listening to the audio version of the book as narrated by the one and only Wil Wheaton. If you do chose to listen to this, I highly suggest you physically read the opening segment. It explains the idea of "lock in" and the concept is much easier to grasp when the words are in front of you. I really did enjoy the novel but some elements left me a bit cold.

Plot Summary

The setup of the plot was somewhat complex and involves a
Alex Ristea
Scalzi is in fine form yet again with his newest novel. As we've come to expect, the characters leap right off the page. (See, this is why he's getting paid the big bucks—he writes well, and I write with cliches.) It's not just that they're incredibly distinctive, it's also that you get that sense after only a few paragraphs of time with each character.

The concept and story is fascinating (and scarily timely with the viral ALS icebucket challenge). I cannot recommend the prequel novella (Unlocke
Actually, I would rate this book as 3.5 stars—but GR doesn’t do half stars, so 3 stars it is.

Lock In is an interesting mash-up of genres—it’s a tale set in the near-future with interesting technology, qualifying it as science fiction. Part of the scenario is a nasty illness that causes people to be “locked in” to their bodies, making it somewhat of a post-disaster novel as well. Throw in a murder mystery/police procedural where the main character/investigator is a Haden (someone who is “locked i
4 to 4.5 stars

Bonus points for creativity. It was an unexpectedly unique sci-fi/techno mystery with nice twists of humor. I am glad that I didn't know much about this going in because it was fun to get into this bizarre new world (is it okay to say it's fun to get into a plague filled world?)

I will say that this is a very brainy story. A lot of concentration and thought must be given in order to keep up. I am still not entirely sure of everything that happened!
I picked this book up as part of the BooktubeSFF awards and I was happy to do so because it was the first time reading a John Scalzi book for me. I had previously heard very good things about Scalzi and his work which made me excited to dive in, and yet whilst this was a likeable story and an interesting one, it didn't fully grip me as I had hoped.

The story follows a society in which there has, about 25 years ago, been a plague-like virus called Haden's (named after the first-lady who also got t
Ben Babcock
This summer saw the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge splash onto social media. ALS terrifies me. A deadly disease that slowly robs you of your ability to move but doesn’t affect your reasoning? I’m not particularly fond of physical activities, but I like embodiment; I like being able to engage with the world actively. The idea of being unable to do that but remaining sound of mind sounds like a terrible way to go.

Lock In is a thriller set in a world ravaged by a disease superficially similar to ALS. Had
Apr 12, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it
Scalzi does it again. A full blown, near-future world with a great mystery, excellent characters, & tight writing. He sucked me in from the start & never let me go. This is SF at its best.

A recent discussion in a group was bemoaning the lack of good SF lately. I mentioned Scalzi as keeping up the standards. Overall he reminds of Asimov or Heinlein at their best. He took a fairly simple problem, ran it out a few years, & tossed it into the middle of a murder mystery. Sounds simple, bu
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John Scalzi, having declared his absolute boredom with biographies, disappeared in a puff of glitter and lilac scent.

(If you want to contact John, using the mail function here is a really bad way to do it. Go to his site and use the contact information you find there.)
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“Making people change because you can’t deal with who they are isn’t how it’s supposed to be done. What needs to be done is for people to pull their heads out of their asses. You say ‘cure.’ I hear ‘you’re not human enough.” 26 likes
“Rich people show their appreciation through favors. When everyone you know has more money than they know what to do with, money stops being a useful transactional tool. So instead you offer favors. Deals. Quid pro quos. Things that involve personal involvement rather than money. Because when you're that rich, your personal time is your limiting factor.” 7 likes
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