Lock In (Narrated by Wil Wheaton)

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11,459 Ratings

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5 out of 5 stars
By Alexis on 08-29-14

Fun! Things you might want to know:

1. The story is a crime solving procedural in a sci-fi setting, and both sides of that are very well done! If you don’t care for either of those genres this probably isn’t for you. If you like one more than the other and the plot sounds interesting then I’d say give it a go. Just don't go in expecting a dystopia or a panicked medical thriller.

2. Confused about the two narrator options? There’s nothing in one version you might miss by choosing the other, so listen to the samples and go with your favorite. They really are two readings of the same book! Yes, there’s something a bit clever behind having different narrator options, but I'll let you discover what it is on your own. Both narrators do a fantastic job, so really you can’t go wrong.

3. There’s an attached novella at the end, a faux nonfiction-style account of the beginnings of Haden’s Syndrome. It originally came out as an optional prequel so you can choose to read it first or last. If you want to jump to it first, it’s 2 h 15 min into the second download on the Wil Wheaton version, 2:58:30 on the second download of Amber Benson’s. The novella’s many narrators were a great touch but overall I found the novella too scattered to add much. I had no problem jumping into the main story without reading it first, and I'm glad I didn't bother.

As for my personal impressions? Fun book! Not too dark, not too fluffy, good pacing, likeable characters and interesting concepts -- I can see a lot of people enjoying this one. I don’t normally seek out procedurals, but the quick pace and sci-fi quirkiness kept things fresh. The Scalzi fans are going to be happy! I’m beginning to recognize Scalzi’s humorous touches and short and sweet closes. When I got to the end I wanted to talk to someone about the story, so I guess I’m going to have to start recommending this so I can! (I’d also love to know who catches the extra little bit of social commentary without being told first…. Yet another reason I need to go push this book on people!) There’s room in the world building for more stories in this setting. I don’t really expect one, but if there ever is a sequel I’d definitely buy it!

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226 of 238 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Doug Ryner on 10-17-14

Did I listen to the same book as everyone else!?

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I was SO bored!!! When I read the summary I could not wait for this book to come out .I was so excited. After listening...I was serisouly let down. The story was mostly backstory. There was a tiny amount of action, an even smaller amount of mystery and little character development. It was just a basic cop book, in a fascinating setting. I think the main reason I disliked this book was because there was SO MUCH potential to be an amazing book. I cared nothing for any of the characters, and that is rare for me.

What was most disappointing about John Scalzi’s story?

The book was mostly boring backstory, and little ittle character development.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I really enjoyed the narrator, he was one of the best I have listened to. Also, the book was set in a very amazing world

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49 of 54 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Diane-in-Colorado on 04-12-17

Well, it was different! But I enjoyed it.

I love Wil Wheaton. "Ready Player One" is my all-time favorite novel to listen to. That's how I happened upon this book.

I found it pretty complicated at first, maybe because I don't normally do science fiction. First you have to understand the basics of the "Lock In" condition, and all its associated terminology and implications, which I found far-fetched but intriguing. After that, you realize the book is a detective mystery intertwined with this condition. So make sure you have that first chapter down pat before you proceed!

I think the author could write many more novels based on the Lock In premise.

For what it's worth, I also downloaded John Scalzi's "Android's Dream" and found it so offensive and ridiculous that I gave up. It's hard to believe "Android's Dream" and "Lock In" were written by the same person.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Jim "The Impatient" on 08-27-15


One reviewer said this was not Science Fiction/Fantasy. I can mention one item that makes this an unbelievable fantasy. In the story, the Jets are in the Super Bowl. That would not happen in real life. For me this had a slow start, as the introduction was nothing, but an info dump. Wheaton reads it like it is a disclaimer. It was so boring that I did not remember any of it. the story picked up big time in the third chapter and stayed strong till the end. I am not a huge police procedural type of guy and that is a big part of the story. On the other hand, a group of people who live in virtual worlds and/or live in robots, makes for an interesting story for me. Few could do it better then Scalzi, although I wanted to hear more about how they handled sex. It is a big part of most people lives, so it needed to be dealt with more then what JS did. l liked the characters and there was good character development.

The last two hours and 15 minutes is a related novella called Unlocked. It was two hours of interviews, which is not my favorite way to listen to a story. It started slow, but I found myself loving it by the end. I believe instead of it being a separate story, he should have used an interview between each chapter or each part as an interlude.

I waited a long time to get this with Wil Wheaton, the other narrator got put on sale twice before Wheaton did. Wheaton is the best at snarky, smart mouth, funny books. This did not have so much of that. He was good, but not great.

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83 of 95 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Laura on 03-01-18


When a writer can't be more imaginative than "...,he said." and "...,she said." over and over again it is highly irritating. I returned the book.

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8 of 9 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By H James Lucas on 09-02-14

Intriguing premise wasted on average cop story

As with past works by Mr Scalzi, Lock In is a light and entertaining story that doesn't quite do justice to its compelling underpinnings. In this case, Mr Scalzi has fashioned a world in which 1% of the population are physically paralyzed and escape their bodies by directing their awareness and cognitive function into alternate frameworks. Some choose a non-spatial internet; some choose synthetic android bodies; a few choose bodies of "Integrators"—healthy humans who lease-out their bodies on an hourly basis. Unfortunately Mr Scalzi treats the first category merely as a MacGuffin and thereby severely limits the novel's potential as a work of true speculative fiction. Instead the reader is treated to a standard-issue cop story with a pleasant veneer. Lock In is told competently but without the liveliness that elevated some of his past novels. Mr Scalzi proved to be deft at writing dialogue for lawyers in Fuzzy Nation and fast-talking agents in Agent to the Stars, but his ear for dialogue has failed him here: the cop-talk is stale and predictable. A more adventurous book could have survived such weaknesses, but Lock In is timid in its scope and never quite recovers from its failings.

The narrator's sex is never known, so the option of listening to a male or female performer makes some sense. I alternated between Ms Benson's and Mr Wheaton's performances, and for whatever reason, the narrator became female in my mind, so perhaps Ms Benson's voice was the more significant for me. Mr Wheaton, on the other hand, is the brisker of the two and thereby imparts some extra energy into the story. All things being equal, I would recommend his performance.

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21 of 25 people found this review helpful

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