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Lock In (Narrated by Wil Wheaton)

Written by: John Scalzi
Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
Length: 9 hrs and 56 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (189 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

AudioFile Best Voices - Sci Fi, Fantasy, and Audio Theater, 2014

A blazingly inventive near-future thriller from the best-selling, Hugo Award-winning John Scalzi.

Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what's now known as "Haden's syndrome", rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two of them are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an "integrator" - someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder becomes that much more complicated.

But "complicated" doesn't begin to describe it. As Shane and Vann began to unravel the threads of the murder, it becomes clear that the real mystery - and the real crime - is bigger than anyone could have imagined.

BONUS AUDIO: Audible's audio edition of Lock In contains the bonus novella, Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome, written by John Scalzi and narrated by a full cast.

©2014 John Scalzi (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What the critics say

"Hugo-winner Scalzi successfully shifts away from space opera with this smart, thoughtful near-future thriller resonant with the themes of freedom, ethics, and corporate greed….This powerful novel will intrigue and entertain both fans and newcomers." ( Publishers Weekly)
"The novel--which contains plenty of action, great character development, vivid and believable worldbuilding and a thought-provoking examination of disability culture and politics--is definitely worth the ride." ( Kirkus)
"Another brilliant novel from a writer who has quickly become one of the genre’s most successful and intriguing practitioners." ( Booklist)
"With narrator Wil Wheaton attacking Scalzi's text with both vigor and nuance, this story tells about a silent minority being given voice, then having that voice threatened.... Thanks to Wheaton's skillful efforts, this production is an enjoyable melding of narrator and material." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Witty and fun

I purchased this title not sure whether I would like it or not, and after 5 minutes I was hooked. Wil Wheaton's performance is excellent. The story reinvents the genre. So overall, a good choice!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I have a new Author I really like!

This is my first novel by this author. It had a great story line which included material nothing close to anything I have ever read before. How refreshing!

The story was very original and the time went by like that. I couldn't believe it was the end of the book. I actually looked to see if I had a faulty audio version. Nope I didn't.

My only complaint is as time I got confused as to who was who. No big deal, I just had to go back a few times. Still 5 star worthy in my opinion. I presume there is another book in this series and will use a credit to get it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great story!

I was engaged with the story right from the start. The world that is described in the story is very realistic and the complications that arise from it are equally believable. The narrator did a good job of telling the story and including the personality of each character.

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My go to audiobook

This is an amazing book. interesting concept. Wil Wheaton does an amazing job. I prefer Wil Wheaton's version personally, but both are great.
This is my go to book when I'm looking for something to listen to

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent book

The story starts off with a murder. Throughout the book we learn about a disease and how it impacts individuals and society. It's a layered world with realistic conflicts and motivations. Narration is excellent. I enjoyedthe novella at the end... clever depth and world building.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great mystery/dystopian book!

An entertaining and action filled book. It can be a bit slow and difficult to understand at the beginning but once you understand what is really going on, you will be hooked. Mystery is a new genre to me (having only read Agatha Christie’s murder on the orient express) and it’s easily becoming one of my favorites thanks to this book.
Will Wheaton makes an awesome performance, really giving the character a very natural voice overall. Once you get over the “he said, she said” everything falls into place.
I had a distaste with the ending, that left me wanting more! But overall, it’s a great science fiction dystopian view of the future.
Cannot wait to begin Head On.

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Great story and great performance

This was my first Scalzi novel and after listening to Wheaton's great narration and performance I bought another of their audiobooks! #Audible1

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compelling story

Scalzi writes in an entertaining style. He incorporates many pop culture references in his stories. Locked In is a combination of sci-fi and murder mystery in one. #Audible1

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Unexpectedly Good

I’m a Star Trek:Next Gen nut. I admit it. I bought this book because of the narrator. It took me a few tries to really sink into the story but once I got about an hour in, I was hooked.

#Audible1 There is so much to be appreciated about this book, beyond the story. How we treat the differently-abled, how we fund initiatives that allow them to fully participate in society and even the resentment of having to fund those initiatives. It’s presented in a fabulous story that made me really question who’s side I would be on.

I think this would make an excellent book club selection. I’m also considering buying the other narrator’s version and wonder how that would change the story.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good but not great

I had a hard time getting behind the concept of this one and a harder time getting behind the narration. While I don’t dislike Wil Wheaton I just don’t find his voice suiting to this story. Maybe he was trying to be a bit flatter to play off emotionless robot idea? But overall I feel like his narration hurt the story for me.
#Audible1

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  • Alexis
  • 2014-08-29

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!

303 of 320 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Doug Ryner
  • 2014-10-17

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

67 of 77 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Rick
  • 2018-08-07

I said, She said, Dad said............

This book has a very interesting story and concept but god did the author read a single page of his own book. You do not make it more than 20 seconds straight throughout the whole book without hearing I said, dad said, van said, she said and so on. It is so irritating. Never has a book bothered me this much by pounding the same line over and over again (I said lol) I had to stop listening multiple times. I only write a bad review if the author gets lazy or just writes a bad book but like I said the story is rather interesting but the level the author writes at, knocks this book down on the overall score.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 2015-08-27

I NEVER SAY IMPOSSIBLE

SHE LIVED LONG ENOUGH TO DIE A NORMAL DEATH
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.

YOU'RE A TRON FAN
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.

Narrator
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.

91 of 106 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Steven Gioia
  • Los Angeles
  • 2018-06-16

“...he said.” “...she said.” Ad nauseam.

Unlistenable because of the terrible writing. Never have I read a book with “s/he said” after nearly every line of dialogue. Now I have to figure out how to get my monthly credit back.

Story was interesting, Wil Wheaton was fine, doomed by the poor technical skill of author.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • H James Lucas
  • Manhattan
  • 2014-09-02

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.

30 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kory McKiou
  • 2015-07-10

couldn't make it 30 minutes...

Wil's reading was fine, and i couldn't make it far enough to comment on the story... but i had to stop twenty minutes into the book.

The conversational dialogue is just unbearable. Expect to hear "He/she/(name) said" every 3-8 seconds. I mean that very literally. There is no variety in designating the speaker, and very little reliance on conversational context.

Perhaps it gets better later on... but, for me, it was too much. I can't bring myself to struggle through that jarring annoyance for the remaining 9.5 hours when i have so many other books to listen though.

50 of 59 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • CJC
  • 2014-11-05

I said, he said

What did you like best about Lock In (Narrated by Wil Wheaton)? What did you like least?

Fun story

Would you recommend Lock In (Narrated by Wil Wheaton) to your friends? Why or why not?

I would recommend they read it as it would be easier to ignore all of the I said, he said, she said...
Wil Wheaton did a great job with the narration though.

Was Lock In (Narrated by Wil Wheaton) worth the listening time?

yes

39 of 47 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Laura
  • 2018-03-01

Irritating

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.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Diane-in-Colorado
  • 2017-04-12

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.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful