Shortly before the release of his new novel, Science Fiction author John Scalzi released an eBook called “Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome.” Unlocked is a fun read, a story stylized as the transcript of a documentary looking back on the past 25 years of a vicious disease that has changed how people interact with each other. It is a fun, quick read that helps a reader transition from the world of today into Scalzi’s fantastic new novel.
The novel, Lock In, is a departure from Scalzi’s typically sarcastic style to a more serious approach that still maintains a level of fun. There have been a number of sci-fi/mystey stories that have partnered a human and a robot, but few with this level of emotional connection to the reader. Scalzi lays out his world in an easily understandable manner that is deepened by reading Unlocked, but not reliant on his readers having picked it up.
Chris Shane is a well-known Haden, locked-in to his own body, but able to navigate the physical world because of a robot with a neural connection. In his first week on the job with the FBI, he finds himself in the middle of a tumultuous series of events with a fully-human partner that very obviously has her own vices.
Scalzi’s writing is fast-paced and fun. His characters are well-rounded, realistic and understandable. He has clearly elevated his work to a new level. It would be surprising for this novel to not get a nod in the Hugo’s next year, especially given Scalzi’s previous work and nominations.
Five out of Five Stars. Two Thumbs Up. High Recommend. Whatever rating system I eventually choose to go with.