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Lock In (Lock In, #1)
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Previous Books of the Month > Lock In -- Finished Reading ***SPOILERS!**

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message 1: by Candiss, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Candiss (Tantara) | 1204 comments Mod
If you've finished reading Lock In by John Scalzi, this is the place to share your thoughts with the group.

Caution: There will likely be **SPOILERS** in this thread.


Silvana (silvaubrey) | 251 comments I liked this novel as a whole but the conclusion was just okay. When we found out about the bad guy then there was this boring interrogation process, it just went downhill.

And the big bad corporate trope is getting too much nowadays (for me).

Still, an entertaining, easy to read novel. I like the concept of Threep, laughed alot everytime the MC woke up in a new Threep and caught people around in surprise.


Random (rand0m1s) | 593 comments I like it. It's a fun novel.

Not all corporations are portrayed as big bads. Chris's father is rich as hell and treated all round as a good guy. And then the other corporation (forget the name}) which is attacked is also portrayed as good.

I do have to agree though that Scalzi can be a bit inconsistent with his endings. It's one of the problems I have with him.

Not a lot of focus was pushed on this, but it's a subject that is brought up many times in the book. Specifically that is not right that a disability is considered a disability and that a "cure" or a force to be "cured" is wrong.

What do you all think? This is a subject I've seen come up before in society (deaf come to mind) and we've read at least one other book which also convered this theme. Specifically The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon.

Also, what do you think of Unlocked at the end? I found it personally very fascinating.


Chris (HeronCFR) | 189 comments I admit, I'm a sucker for doubled genres . There's just something that tickles me about layering some science fiction concept as an accepted fact, then building a good crime drama (or a heist, for example) on top.

Lock-In is an entertaining read. I don't usually have much patience with narrators that have everything given to them (rich, smart, talented) but both Chris and his father have managed to remain grounded in spite of their success.

Silvana, I totally agree about getting a smile when the threeps suddenly woke up. I loved the "car chase" aspect, too, when Chris kept wrecking his personal transports almost as a running joke.

Random, you raise an interesting point. The play "Children of a Lesser God" also comes to mind, questioning the nature of disability and cure . Perhaps there are no absolute right or wrong answers, only tradeoffs and situation-specific solutions. Not everyone with Hadens wants a cure, but I can imagine that some do. Who pays for care, or for the cure? Thorny issues indeed.


message 5: by Tad (new) - added it

Tad (tottman) | 17 comments Chris wrote: "I admit, I'm a sucker for doubled genres . There's just something that tickles me about layering some science fiction concept as an accepted fact, then building a good crime drama (or a heist, for ..."

I'm a sucker for the double genre too. I thought it was both an interesting mystery and some interesting sci-fi concepts.

And since this is the SPOILER thread...what did people think about the undefined sex of the main character. I notice you refer to Chris using "his" when in fact, no male or female pronouns are ever used to describe Chris. It was an eye opener for me after finishing the book and learning this was deliberate.


Random (rand0m1s) | 593 comments I never even noticed that, just assumed I guess.

Now I have the desire to go through it again forcing myself to change perspective. :)


aPriL does feral sometimes  (CheshireScratch) | 157 comments I am glad more authors are writing about characters with unknown genders. I find it fun, but I do find myself looking for behavioral clues despite myself. Instinct? Culturally ingrained habit? IDK.

Disabilities are often lumped together as a single concept, but it is one that actually contains a basket of various physical issues. Cures or palliatives or alternatives make a lot of difference to any suffering, as does the lack of resources. People, too, may have exactly the same disability but one of them feels it is too intolerable to live while the other feels having one door close in their life only means they need to move on to finding and opening new doors.

I really like Scalzi's stories, but his books lack something for me. Still, they are entertaining!


Cassandra (CassandraT) | 20 comments Random wrote: "...not right that a disability is considered a disability and that a "cure" or a force to be "cured" is wrong.

What do you all think? "


Random, I agree that was one of my favorite aspects of the book. If you think about it, much of the way our artificial world is designed is what disables people. The discussion of different choices for living as Haden was a highlight; and it was fascinating to a see a world with so much designed for disabled persons. I did wonder at the scene where Chris refused a wheelchair. For a context that seems to talk of a world that is designed for differently abled people, it seems wheelchairs are still disabling. There are two scenes where wheelchairs are seen as undesirable and disabled! What is that saying!?


Overall, I enjoyed the book. It's a popcorn read like a movie. There's enough to feel like I had something to think about, but not too much that I couldn't read it in two days or to stop all of the really cheesy cop show stuff.

Tad - Regarding the gender of Chris, that was one of the reasons I wanted to read this book. I was disappointed though. I think I agree with another reviewer on Goodreads that the characters in this book erred on stereo-typically masculine, with the exception of Tayla who was a damsel in distress and a doctor! (and Cassandra Bell who was more of a mythical figure) When I say stereotypically masculine, as in behaving in ways expected of men, as though they were raised to "be a man." It wasn't necessary to state Chris's sex, so I do appreciate that it wasn't stated. I felt he was male for much of the beginning (I think because I don't know any women who go by Chris, only Kris or Kristi) , but towards the end Chris was Chris and kind of genderless and Vann was an alcoholic (though forgiven because of the trauma). Vann was sort of the woman who acts in stereotypical male ways - so, overall, I didn't really think that the gender bounds were tested too much. But I'm glad that some people assumed Chris was female.


Chris (HeronCFR) | 189 comments I am enjoying the "Chris gender" discussion. As a female Chris (full name Christine, but I've always just used Chris), I am often confused for a male Chris in print. And yet, I am chagrined to discover that I assumed the Chris in the book was male, without any question. Thanks for giving me something to think about!


message 10: by Tad (new) - added it

Tad (tottman) | 17 comments It is interesting to find out the gender discussion after reading it and examine the assumptions you make. I also assumed Chris was male and then afterwards I had to go back and consider why I made that assumption. I thought it was very cleverly done.


Sandi (Sandikal) | 338 comments Before its release, Audible had a deal where if you bought the Wil Wheaton narration, you got the Amber Benson narration as well. I switched between the two narrators through the whole book, a couple of Wheaton chapters and a couple of Benson chapters. It was really interesting to see how the story changed with the gender of the narrator.


message 12: by Gary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gary Gillen | 20 comments What I liked the most about this novel was that the author was trying to tackle important identity issues. What is a disability? What is gender? I noticed that Chris was genderless as I was reading the novel, but I felt that Chris was more male to me. I think each reader brings their own perspectives to the reading and examining my own perspective was the aspect I liked most about this novel. Even the author has his own feeling as you can see in this youtube video called John Scalzi Lock in Talks at Google.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6e7j...
At 9:35 and 9:53 he calls Chris he, but manages to sort of stop himself. It is a book that mixes science fiction and mystery, popular writing and message writing, changing perceptions and the nature of when technology of the future becomes commonplace. A very good read.


Silvana (silvaubrey) | 251 comments I just read the novella Unlocked and found it really, really good. Good to know the history of Haden, invention of the neural network, how Threeps came to be, and the controversies since the beginning.

On the debate about the cure, I think if I were a Haden I'd like at least to be given an option for cure or not.


Silvana (silvaubrey) | 251 comments As for Chris's gender I also got a feeling the character is more masculine and yet when I read someone's review I just realized there is another possibility.

Anyone knows whether he or she will be the main POV of the next book?


Random (rand0m1s) | 593 comments Is there going to be a next book? It felt very stand alone to me.


message 16: by Gary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gary Gillen | 20 comments Yes, it will be called Head On and is scheduled to be released in April 2018


Leserling /Belana (Vorleser) | 30 comments I loved it. I liked the idea, and how it is written. I listened to the audio book, and it was well done. You have two options for the audio: a male, or a female narrator. Personally, I don't really care whether Chris is male or female. I intend to read more Scalzi books (The Dispatcher was the first book I read by him, then I read Lock in). I guess I should read the novella mentioned above next.


Silvana (silvaubrey) | 251 comments Leserling wrote: "I loved it. I liked the idea, and how it is written. I listened to the audio book, and it was well done. You have two options for the audio: a male, or a female narrator. Personally, I don't really..."

And then you should read Redshirts. It is my first Scalzi and a stand-alone. If you still like him after, then his Old Man War's series could be next.


Silvana (silvaubrey) | 251 comments Gary wrote: "Yes, it will be called Head On and is scheduled to be released in April 2018"

Woohoo!


Leserling /Belana (Vorleser) | 30 comments Thanks, Silvana. Redshirts is on my tbl list. :)


message 22: by Joey (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joey Anderson | 38 comments I pretty much agree with everything that has been said, especially on the point that the novel is quite entertaining, and that the villain’s motive of greed is stereotypical. I also found the ending too easy; everything seemed fall into place for the FBI agents without much difficulty.

On the subject of disability or disease that the novel raises, the point that people try to enrich themselves off others is quite common (think of the pharmaceutical ads that inundate us and ask us to question our doctors about its use for us (I am a diabetic and it gets tiring)), and that governments and its agencies are quick to believe that people with disabilities or diseases no longer need accommodations to lead the best lives they can. As the government no longer wants to support the Hadens (they believe they now receive an unfair advantage), the same thing rings true in our world. My sister, who is 47, is a Down’s Syndrome (which is more of a condition than a disability) adult who receives Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; her mental age is that of a six-year old child. Now, she has a job (with a state trainer), takes the bus by herself, can make change, and can perform a variety of tasks that a six-year old can, but every year, my mother must prove to all three governmental agencies that she is unable to be independent.

I understood how the Hadens had become quite angry and alienated by the treatment they received.

So, I thought Scalzi did well in his novel to present those issues and how difficult society and governmental agencies make it for people who do not fit the mold of “normal.” I would say that many people in the United States feel “locked-in” today.

What I have always liked about science fiction writers is the courage they show in tackling current social or political issues.

I am looking forward to the next book.


Silvana (silvaubrey) | 251 comments Thank you for sharing, Joey!


Rachel | 49 comments Nicely said!


message 25: by Joey (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joey Anderson | 38 comments Thanks for the kind words, Silvana and Rachel.

I usually welcome new technology, but I wonder if anyone had a fearful reaction to the idea of a "neural network." While quite positive in many respects, the thought of mind control always bothers me, and I believe we are not that far from the realization of these networks.

While I read this novel, I thought I will never let anyone put a computer in my brain for someone to hack.


Silvana (silvaubrey) | 251 comments Me too. Unless I really, really need it. I still want to experience the physical world as much as I can. Don't even want to be in Ready Player One or Matrix world. I prefer a more realistic stuff like Westworld since there is no cables sticking in my body.


message 27: by Tad (new) - added it

Tad (tottman) | 17 comments Joey wrote: "Thanks for the kind words, Silvana and Rachel.

I usually welcome new technology, but I wonder if anyone had a fearful reaction to the idea of a "neural network." While quite positive in many respe..."


One of the things I've always appreciated about Scalzi is the way he calls back to earlier authors and pioneers of the golden age of science fiction. He seems to expound on concepts they started and does it quite frankly with better or at least more approachable writing.

When you talk about the neural network, it reminded me of the Haden victims that choose to spend all of their time in the virtual world and not interact with the physical one any more than they had to. That in turn reminded me of Frederick Pohl's Gateway series, where eventually people chose to give up their physical bodies and exist entirely as uploaded consciousness in a super computer. It seems like I often find something in Scalzi's work that reminds me of these earlier authors.


Silvana (silvaubrey) | 251 comments That's useful info. I do know he is inspired by Heinlein, among others.
I might need to read Gateway someday.


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