Sunday, September 21, 2014

Review: Locked In

Locked In is John Scalzi's latest novel. It's a quick fun read, and not very deep, but a good example of how a good science fiction writer can take a single topic, extrapolate it to the world around him, and then weave a decent story.

The story involves Hadens. Much like a movie, the world that Scalzi wants to move in is so complex that it has to have a prologue. Basically, a virus has left a large population of people locked into their bodies, so they can only interact with the world through remote-drones (called threeps), or an integrator, which is a human who's set up to receive remote control just like a threep would be. The intricacies around the plot revolve around what it's possible or not possible to do with an integrator, so Scalzi ensures that you get all that information up front. That's the science fiction part.

The main character, Chris Shane, is a Haden who's a rookie FBI agent. On his first day of work, he and his partner are assigned to a mysterious murder, and as they unravel the plot, we see that it's not just a simple murder, but also implicates that big changes are coming to the world that Scalzi has set his plot in.

The plot is by far the weakest part of the story. Not only is the villain's intentions rather far fetched and unbelievable, the means by which he aims to achieve his goals seem rather amateurish. Certainly, that a rookie agent seems to have had such an easy time unravel-ling the shenanigans makes everything seem very pat.

Nevertheless, it's a fun read and quite compelling. A worthy airplane novel. Mildly recommended.

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