Fresh off his Hugo win for Redshirts and the commercial success of The Human Division, John Scalzi is coming back with what looks to be another standalone. And it is also his second near-future novel, if you could Agent to the Stars, which I do. Lock In explores a virus that is running rampant and for the most part it is manageable, but for some it turns them into virtually living statues. I'm definitely interested to see how Scalzi's trademark snark work into such a story. Here's the teaser description:
Fifteen years from now, a new virus sweeps the globe. 95% of those afflicted experience nothing worse than fever and headaches. Four percent suffer acute meningitis, creating the largest medical crisis in history. And one percent find themselves “locked in”—fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus.I'm not sure if the cover is final, but currently it seems a little bland for a Scalzi cover though it moves him into the clean look that has become so popular for many best-selling authors. Lock In should be out in late August, but it should be noted Scalzi is still currently writing the manuscript.
One per cent doesn't seem like a lot. But in the United States, that's 1.7 million people “locked in”...including the President's wife and daughter.
Spurred by grief and the sheer magnitude of the suffering, America undertakes a massive scientific initiative. Nothing can restore the ability to control their own bodies to the locked in. But then two new technologies emerge. One is a virtual-reality environment, “The Agora,” in which the locked-in can interact with other humans, both locked-in and not. The other is the discovery that a few rare individuals have brains that are receptive to being controlled by others, meaning that from time to time, those who are locked in can “ride” these people and use their bodies as if they were their own.
This skill is quickly regulated, licensed, bonded, and controlled. Nothing can go wrong. Certainly nobody would be tempted to misuse it, for murder, for political power, or worse....
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