Scalzi’s latest stand-alone delivers a heaping dose of social commentary, exploring the impact politics has on those whose lives rely on government funding. The realm of Lock In is vast, and although some details become muddled and readers must work to keep up with the story’s wild pace, Shane and Vann are compelling protagonists at the center of a satisfying buddy cop story set in a terrifying, convincing world.
In the near future, millions of people have died due to a global flu-like virus, with some of the victims exhibiting Haden’s syndrome and one percent of the world’s population “locked in” — alive and mentally capable, but physically paralyzed, forcing them to use robot-like “threeps” to move around. And the FBI’s newest agent, Chris Shane, is one of them. He’s put to the test when a Haden-related death forces him and his burned-out partner Leslie Vann to investigate, uncovering a sticky web of political treachery that could affect the lives of locked-in Hadens everywhere — and it’s only his first week. (TOR, Sep., 336 pp., $24.99)