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I'm only a third of the way through this book but I felt obliged to say that Amber Benson's narration is fantastic.
If you want a narrator who does character voices and dramatizes a novel, choose Amber Benson's version.
If you want a narrator who has a great speaking voice but has a drier, quicker delivery without any character voices, choose Wil Wheaton.
56 of 60 people found this review helpful
John Scalzi always seems to come up with new ideas or new twists on old ideas (is there really anything new under the sun?). The premise is one of the most terrifying things that could happen to a person. It’s worse than life imprisonment in solitary confinement. In solitary you can stand, sit, move around (not much, but you can move), smell (but you might not want too), talk, feel, and see. Now imagine a virus that causes millions round the world to die, worse than the Spanish Flu of 1918-1920. Of those that recover 99%, go on with their lives. For other 1% (4 million in the US alone), it causes a person to be locked into their body, awake and aware of the world around them, yet incapable of seeing, moving, or communicating, unable (luckily?) to even taste the gruel that is piped into their body. Hundreds of millions in the US a around the world have been ravished by this disease, and it continues to strike down more victims every year.
But into this chamber of horror comes a ray of light, an open door leading back to the world - in the form an external body that sort of looks like the Droid CP3O. At least that is the style for the First Lady, an early victim of the virus, “Haden’s syndrome”. Named for its most public and well know victim - herself, the President’s wife. The First Lady has been given the first external body – our hero - Chris Shane, a child at the time, was granted the second, a child size version and becomes Haden’s syndromes second most famous victim. Yet through the adversity Chris becomes a beacon of hope for those suffering from this modern black plague. More than twenty years have gone by since the first outbreak; Chris is now a fledgling FBI agent and is trying to step out of the spotlight, into making a real life.
The second day on the job, the rookie Chris and new partner Agent Vann meet in front of the Watergate Hotel. The meeting spot is next to car that is sporting a love seat – embedded in the roof after being thrown through a seventh floor window. From this point on you are trapped in a twisted and totally enjoyable world pulled from the mind of John Scalzi.
A truly wondrous place to be.
On the narrators:
One of the more interesting curves is that Scalzi never hints at Chris Shane’s sex. So having Amber Benson and Wil Wheaton narrate individual versions is now more reasonable to me. I picked Amber’s version and wish that I had also picked up Wil’s so I could have compared them in their entirety. I have been a fan of both actors since the days of Star Trek, the Next Generation and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I decided on Amber’s version because I had the pleasure of catching Wil on several other books and I wished to hear Amber tackle this project.
Amber Benson, held her own as a late comer to Buffy. Even surrounded by a powerful cast of actors, she stood out early enough to really earn the prized role of Willow’s (Alyson Hannigan) better half, through 47 episodes. Narrating, “Locked In” Amber seems to start off slow – but then you realize that she is reading a report from a government agency, so it’s going to be a bit flat. The characterization starts building from Chapter 2 and, for the most part, is strong and clear. Very captivating, it allows you to lean back and take pleasure in the theater of the mind that John and Amber weave for you.
One note on Wil’s reading – I have only heard the five minute sample of his interpretation of the text, and it’s typical Wheaton. Crisp, clear and full of impact, and swift - it seems powerful and should also be a good experience.
22 of 24 people found this review helpful
Where does Lock In rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
This is my favourite of the Scalzi stories I've listed to. Mostly due to the awesome reading by Amber Benson.
What does Amber Benson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
Amber Benson manages to create a dramatic story where you can almost forget the descriptive prose.
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
Lock - In - Threepio FBI
Any additional comments?
Scalzi appears to have a verbal tick, which is noticeable when read, of using "said" a lot. When reading a book you can skim this but when it's read it jumps out (at least to me).
The appended full cast novella "Unlocked" was awesome!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
it had good promise but i found the writing style a little uninspired. in the end i didn't care what happened.