Lock In – John Scalzi

I recommend Lock In, both as a near-future science fiction novel, and as an exploration of how society considers disability.

Lock InIt opens with an essay explaining pretty much exactly what happened and who all these different players are, so much of the world-building is done in the first 3 pages. That then leaves the rest of the book as a crime novel with a twist.

It was a good call to have the protaganist be someone who is so comfortable with his life, which meant that as I interpreted his view of being locked in it wasn’t a negative experience. He was able to access technology and social spaces that made up much of his life and this is just how things are for him. Of course it helps being a very privileged child, which protects him from many of the possible negatives, but he is an active member of both societies.

There is also a political and greater social change aspect to this novel, and it all ties together beautifully (with a few unlikely coincidences to make the plot run a bit more smoothly).

I can’t help but draw comparisons to Charlie Stross’s Halting State and Rule 34, but possibly because they are the only other near-future science fiction crime novels I’ve read recently.

I read this in part because its a book in my GoodReads group, which also highlighted the prequel novella on Tor.com which gives some background on Hayden’s syndrome, the main concept underlying the book.


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