Lock In

Haden's syndrome results from a virus that can, in 1% of the cases, "lock in" its victims, leaving them conscious and aware in a body that can no longer move or respond at all. In the 25 years since the virus first appeared, a culture has risen around these victims; these paralyzed people are now able to control robotic bodies remotely (called "threeps," after Star Wars' famous golden droid) and live productive lives.

Newly minted FBI agent Chris Shane is one of those affected by the disease. When his threep stumbles across a complicated murder at the Watergate Hotel involving an "integrator"--a human whose body can be taken over in the same way a threep can--there's no telling how far up the political food chain the evidence may lead. His veteran partner, Leslie Vann, is no slouch, but it will take their combined talents and life experiences to get to the bottom of the murder and the high-level corporate and governmental players who may be behind it all.

Science-fiction writer John Scalzi (Redshirts; Old Man's War) again proves his facility with both world building and character, this time in a near-future tale heavily influenced by police-procedural fiction and speculation into human-computer interface technology. Scalzi never belabors his point, nor does he hit readers over the head with the issues he explores. Rather, Lock In is compelling and fresh, offering a smart take on medical ethics, prejudice and the corrupting power of the corporate world. --Rob LeFebvre, freelance writer and editor

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