The Lock In Series

Tl;dr: For a nominally pandemic series the novels Lock In and Head On really are near future detective stories I enjoyed as quick reads. The prequel novella Unlocked, however, might be best left to read … later, post CV.

I’m not sure why I bought John Scalzi‘s The Lock In Series (Kobo US, Amazon US, Kobo JP, Amazon JP). I think it was discounted, I wanted to read another Scalzi novel while waiting for The Last Emperox to launch, and I had an Amazon credit.

Lock In

This book I liked best. While time was taken to introduce the world and the characters, it gets down to the mystery fairly quickly. One needs to set aside the usual conveniences of such books: the protagonist is paired with the perfect partner, he moves into a house with the perfect roommates to solve the mystery, his parents are the perfect parents, he’s got a lot of money, &c. Once one does set those conveniences aside, the writing and the humor take over.

Head On

The initial conceit, that there is a professional sport that involves knocking the head off of human-possessed robots, wore thin quickly. The denouement was as expected, sadly. In between was some fun writing and weird events.


This short story talks about Haden’s Syndrome, the precipitating event that sets the stage for the world in which the novels reside. It’s a pandemic that first looks like the flu, then looks like meningitis. Some people don’t get it. Some do and are fine. Some die. And some get “locked in” to their bodies. I have yet to finish it as it’s too near to current events. You can read it over at Tor for free, if you wish.

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About Paul

I’m a Detroit expat recently returned from Tokyo living in Chattanooga. I’m a consulting security professional and father of two. I promise that my views and politics are mine; not yours or my employer’s or anyone’s. I follow no party or affiliation or anything. My things are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license unless otherwise stated.

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