Lock In - John Scalzi

Lock In

By John Scalzi

  • Release Date: 2014-08-26
  • Genre: Science Fiction
Score: 4
From 466 Ratings


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 "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what's now known as "Haden's syndrome," rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two of them are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an "integrator" - someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder becomes that much more complicated.

But "complicated" doesn't begin to describe it. As Shane and Vann began to unravel the threads of the murder, it becomes clear that the real mystery - and the real crime - is bigger than anyone could have imagined. The world of the locked in is changing, and with the change comes opportunities that the ambitious will seize at any cost. The investigation that began as a murder case takes Shane and Vann from the halls of corporate power to the virtual spaces of the locked in, and to the very heart of an emerging, surprising new human culture. It's nothing you could have expected.

Other Tor Books
Lock In: Lock In / Head On
Old Man's War: Old Man's War / The Ghost Brigades / The Last Colony / Zoe's Tale / The Human Division / The End of All Things
The Interdpendency: The Collapsing Empire / The Consuming Fire / The Last Emperox
The Android’s Dream
Agent to the Stars
Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded
Fuzzy Nation

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.


  • Why the hype!

    By carbsj
    Not sure about all the rave reviews. Definitely not outstanding, nor groundbreaking. It’s a basic FBI agent gets the bad guy with a slightly clever premise.
  • A sci-fi mystery masterpiece

    By Boadrummer
    John Scalzi has been on my radar for quite a while now, and frankly, I'm not entirely sure why I'd never picked him up before. Thankfully, I finally came to my senses. Listening to his wild sci-fi/murder mystery "Lock In" on audio was easily one of the best book decisions I've made in a while. Lock In is a full throttle adventure from page one. In the near future, a new disease called Haden's has taken the world by storm. It's first two stages, appearing with flu- and meningitis-like symptoms, afflict and in some circumstances kill more than a billion worldwide. But many others survive to the third stage: complete body lock in. The victims have full awareness, but they're trapped in their own bodies as their brains have been rewired by the disease. Chris Shane is not only a rookie FBI agent, but a Haden's victim as well. He functions with the use of a "Threep", a personal robot body with which the user is able to interface and control as a proxy body. On his first day, Shane and his partner, Agent Vann, are called to the scene of a murder. What sets this apart from any other case, though, is the fact that it involves an Integrator, a person who's brain was rewired by the disease, but was spared from lock in. As more details about the victim emerge, Shane and Vann are drawn into a conspiracy bigger than either had imagined. The idea of setting a police procedural in a science fiction world could have gone completely awry in so many different ways, but Scalzi managed to completely enthrall me in his universe. The characters and situations are utterly real, believable, and extremely easy to grow attached to. Lock In was a true thrill ride from the first chapter. I'll twiddle my thumbs eagerly as I wait for the follow up.
  • Predictable and Unbelievable

    By Zen_Crow
    This book had an excellent premise that was both unique and exciting. As I dove into its pages my hopes for the read continued to grow. However as the climax grew closer the story-line became a bit too predictable and cheerfully unbelievable. The story came to an end in a sadly contrived fashion that left me feeling like I'd just finished a relatively sophisticated Scooby Doo episode.
  • Excellent Read

    By Stephatthechamber
    Highly recommend...characters are gritty and real, dialog is spot on and the storyline is compelling. Didn't put the book down for two days!
  • Scalzi at his most meh

    By Kaziam
    I have read enough Scalzi that I think it's safe to say I'm a big fan of his underdog antiestablishment snarky protagonists and the cynically cruel worlds they inhabit with sarcasm and their wits as their only weapons. Enter Lock In. The premise is decent: a plague makes a portion of the population only able to interact through robot bodies or riding in someone else's consciousness. Then he plops a rookie FBI agent into this world and weaves a conspiracy around him. It reminded me of Old Man's War in that normal (well, "Scalzi-normal") people are dealing with abnormal technology and geopolitical forces that seem omnipotent at first. But the crime storyline is predictable and fairly linear and the ending...well, let's just say it wraps up far too neatly and effortlessly to remotely resemble reality. It's like Scalzi channeled William Gibson but castrated the cyberpunk corporate machine and made the hero too heroic. It needed about 50 more pages in the Second Act of struggle, investigation, more murders or something to really charge into a climactic ending. As it stands, Locked In is merely bubblegum sci fi, a quick read with no lasting resonance.
  • Lock In

    By mc1645
    I have read many books by John Scalzi, but this was not one I could recommend. It was predictable and boring. Definitely not up to the caliber of his other offerings. This is the stuff high school plots are made of. The theories are barely explainable and not very interesting. Sorry John, try again.
  • Amazing

    By Gman1358
    This is by far the best book I have read in years, and combines intricate plots, intrigue, and comic relief into the 678 page book I just finished.
  • Intricate but clear, lets you feel smarter

    By BDelos
    Pretty wonderful novel. Often, longtime ‘genre’ writers unwittingly take the weight from the one foot their characters have planted in our world—where we can empathize with their perceptions, ambitions, fears, hopes—and shift it to the foot planted in the imagined future world of the story, which is more interesting to write about. Not in this thrilling book. Scalzi warmly, brilliantly brings us into the lives, deaths, and non-lives and non-deaths, of the people carrying this absolutely cracking tale. And I haven’t felt so hip to tech in years! I’m usually intimidated into thinking that my contemporaneous intelligence is kinda obsolete and clunky, like, SO 20th century, dude. I’ll even do the cliche’d fan thing and say, “You know, Mr. Scalzi, this would make, like, a cool series…” Docked one-half star because the wrap-up is very rushed, compacted by smart characters explaining their victory instead of working through terrifying challenges to earn it.
  • Disappointed

    By Butterwaffle
    While Scalzi's play on virtual reality was interesting and well-done, I found myself put off by the constant moralizing about how awful it is when the government doesn't just take care of everyone the way the author feels it should. Ultimately that made it feel like an especially whiny CSI episode set in the future.
  • Excellent

    By Luceagain
    What a fun, interesting, and thought provoking read. I did notice a few edits. Using she and me instead of she and I. Happened twice. Still a good read and I'll buy another book.