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Lock In Books In Order

Publication Order of Lock In Books

Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Lock In (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Head On (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

“Lock In” is a series of novels by American science fiction author John Scalzi. Born in Fairfield California, Scalzi grew up in Los Angeles and developed a love for mystery and science fiction that he read a lot of when he was a child. He went to the University of Chicago from where he earned a philosophy degree in 1991. Once he had graduated, he worked as a corporate consultant, editor and opinion column writer for several newspapers and online magazines such as “AOL” and the “Chicago Sun-Times.” He also did write a ton of film reviews, which he credits for the humor in his works. He published his first novel “Agent to the Stars” in 1997 and earned $4000 from donations from his fans who read the novel for free on his website. Scalzi was laid off from his job as editor at AOL in 1998 and became a full-time author and freelance writer. He has won several awards over the years including a Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2008 and several Hugo nominations for the “Old Man’s War” seriesfor which he is best known. He also blogs and writes books on a range of topics from politics, writing, astronomy, film, video games, and finance. He is also the creative consultant for “Stargate Universe” the TV series. He got married to Kristine Ann Blauser and the two have one child together. They live in Bradford Ohio.

John Scalzi has never needed to step out of his comfort zone since he has been comfortable in practically every genre he has ever written in. In the “Lock In” series, Scalzi moves away from the grand space opera tradition where he had made a name for himself, to write a political crime thriller set in the future. The plot involves conspiracy, politics, and murder that are carried out at a high level of skullduggery that makes this a very unconventional science fiction series. As usual, Scalzi brings his understanding of the economic, political, and social issues in the writing of the series.

The Lock In by John Scalzi is a series of novels about an incurable disease known as the “Haden Syndrome” that is caused by an unknown virus. The futuristic conspiracy thrillers feature Agent Shane as the lead character that just started working with the FBI. It turns out that Shane is one of the “Locked in” known as the Hadens. He uses an artificial body called Threep to get around and interact with people not infected. In his first week with the FBI, he has to deal with a strike by the Haden community who are angry with the government that recently passed a bill to significantly cut spending from programs and subsidies for Hadens. Agent Shane works alongside Agent Vann and they specifically deal with cases to do with Hadens. Through their work, we get to see different perspectives of these people and understand the Haden Syndrome. The difference between the Hadens and ordinary people is evident, particularly in their daily routines. There is a lot of discrimination and misunderstanding between normal humans and Hadens, which only ramps up over the course of the novels. While they just met at the beginning of the novels, Agent Vann and Shane have exceptional camaraderie that almost feels like an old couple pairing. Over the course of the series, the rookie and the veteran develop quite the pairing and become one of the best teams on the FBI.

“Lock In” the first novel of the series from which the novels takes its name is set a few years from the present, where a highly contagious virus is spreading like wildfire across the world. Most people that are infected experience nothing more than headaches, fever and classic flu symptoms. But for some unlucky few who number about 5 million in the US, the disease makes them unable to move or respond to stimulus, in what is known as lock in. The syndrome affects the spectrum of society from the poor, rich, old, young, white and black. Twenty-five years after the syndrome is identified, Leslie Vann a veteran FBI agent is paired up with rookie Chris Shane. Their first assignment is to investigate a murder at the Watergate Hotel that seems to be related to the Haden Syndrome. The prime suspect is a man that lets the Hadens borrow their bodies – otherwise known as an integrator. If the suspect was possessed by its Haden client, it becomes more complicated to name the actual murder suspect. As Shane and Vann work on the case, it soon becomes apparent that the real crime and the real mystery is bigger than anything they could have imagined. The locked in are changing and with the changes there are opportunities that some unscrupulous people intend to fully take advantage of. What started as a murder case soon has the two detectives going from the virtual spaces of the locked in, to the hallowed halls of corporate power and to the heart of a new human culture.

“Head On” the second novel of the series by John Scalzi is a standalone novel following the bestselling first novel of the series “Lock In.” “Head On” comes with the thrills and chills of a gritty police procedural, with the trademark technological speculation and snappy dialogue Scalzi is known for. The novel introduces “Hilketa,” a violent and frenetic pastime where gamers attack each other with hammers and swords. The objective of the game is to decapitate the opponent and carry their head through the goalposts. Such a sport would not be possible with flesh and bone bodies. But since the advent of the Haden Syndrome, robot-like bodies that are controlled by people infected with the syndrome have made it possible. The crowds love the games even as the brutality is real since no one gets hurt. But then a star athlete dies while playing and no one knows if it is murder or simply an accident. Leslie Vann and Chris Shane are called in to investigate since they are the specialists the FBI depends on when it comes to crimes related to the Haden Syndrome. To get to the bottom of the mystery, they need to travel to the dark side where fortunes are lost and made in Hilketa, the fastest growing sport in the world. It is a ruthless sport where the owners and players will do anything to win whether it be on or off the field.

“Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome” is a novella that introduces the medical history of the Hadens Syndrome that will come to sweep the world, affecting most of the world’s populace. Set a quarter of a century before the events of Lock In the first novel of the series, it chronicles the discovery of the disease in patients taken to hospitals in their thousands. It was initially thought to be a subtype of the H5N1 Influenza virus, then became known as “The Great Flu,” “The Super Bowl Flu” before it was called the “Haden’s Syndrome.” It had claimed millions of lives by causing paralysis before the world adapted and came up with social and technological responses to the disease. The novella tells the story of how the politicians, scientists, doctors, and ordinary people responded to Haden’s Syndrome when it was first recognized and classified.

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