Head On

John Scalzi


The sequel to Lock In is a fast read with an interesting mystery, fun characters, and intriguing concepts. More than the first book, it fully explores the societal impact of both large scale lock-in and the technology used to deal with it.

It continues with the POV of locked-in FBI agent Chris Shane, this time investigating the death of a locked-in athlete.

In this near-future, 10% of the worldโ€™s population have been locked into their brains by a pandemic. Virtual reality and remote robot piloting enable them to interact with the world, and there are even specially designed โ€œthreepsโ€ (named after a well-known droid) for different tasks. Among them: the battle threeps used for a sport more violent than could be played with real human bodies.

Hadens spend most of their lives interacting through simulations or mechanical avatars, which changes a lot about identity presentation, travel, location, disability and prejudice. Itโ€™s the kind of thing that might be nodded to in another book that wanted to focus on the technology, but all these implications are woven throughout the story and key to a lot of it.