Book: Head On (John Scalzi)

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Head On

John Scalzi


April 17th, 2018

The next in the Lock In series, this case has FBI agent Chris investigating the death of a Haden athlete. As the Hadens in this series are people who have contracted a disease that essentially leaves them ‘locked in’ their bodies, only able to experience the outside world via robotic automaton bodies called ‘threeps’, you may wonder–a Haden athlete? Hilketa is a sport in the world of Lock In that combines something like football with a sort of gladiatorial battle, where threeps battle it out in ways that can often involve with beheading the threeps of opponents, and the Haden piloting the threep can actually feel a measure of pain. Agent Chris goes down the rabbit hole of Haden sport to find out how sport, politics and money are complexly intertwined.

One thing interesting to note about this series is that the protagonist in the book, Agent Chris Shane, is never specified as male or female. In a world where locked in patients drive largely genderless android bodies while their meatspace bodies are being cared for like coma patients, part of the point in this might be the wonder of how the patients might feel. Or indeed, whether it’s relevant at all? Either way, this was niftily incorporated into the Audible audiobook version, where you can choose for the book to be narrated by Wil Wheaton, or Amber Benson.

I really liked this book as well as its predecessor, Lock In. It’s an interesting and inventive world, and Scalzi always does well with character building and dialogue.

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JL JamiesonBook: Head On (John Scalzi)