Fight a Dystopian Virus in John Scalzi’s “Lock In”
John Scalzi’s thriller novel Lock In takes place 15 years in the future where a mysterious virus is burning through the United States. While most of the sufferers get fever, headaches, and meningitis, one percent of the victims are “locked in,” meaning they’re fully awake but trapped inside their bodies, unable to move or speak.
After the virus takes hold of the President’s wife and daughter, a new technology’s developed that allows the victims to move around in a virtual reality environment and hijack the brains of non-sufferers. Although the new technology is supposed to be tightly regulated, there’s a shadowy villain who is dead set on using the virtual reality environment for his own nefarious purpose.
Scalzi excels in making the threat of the virus and the virtual reality world come to life before our eyes. The fact that some of the afflicted view themselves as a new breed of human and see nothing wrong with taking over someone else’s body is downright terrifying, especially as our own technology becomes more and more advanced.
Aside from the ethical questions in the novel, Scalzi’s characters are fleshed out and well-rounded. From the jaded ex-Integrator to the rookie FBI agent who is eager to make his mark, each one is full of foibles and strengths, which is why Lock In is such an engaging read. For those looking for a mature dystopian novel or a spine-tingling thriller, Lock In will keep you engrossed until the end.