Waiting on Wednesday: Lock In by John Scalzi

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Breaking the Spine and serves to showcase those books we’re not so patiently waiting to arrive!

Lock In
John Scalzi

Tor Books
Releases August 26, 2014
320 pages

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A novel of our near future, from one of the most popular authors in modern SF

Fifteen years from now, a new virus sweeps the globe. 95% of those afflicted experience nothing worse than fever and headaches. Four percent suffer acute meningitis, creating the largest medical crisis in history. And one percent find themselvs “locked in”—fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus.

One per cent doesn't seem like a lot. But in the United States, that's 1.7 million people “locked in”...including the President's wife and daughter.

Spurred by grief and the sheer magnitude of the suffering, America undertakes a massive scientific initiative. Nothing can restore the ability to control their own bodies to the locked in. But then two new technologies emerge. One is a virtual-reality environment, “The Agora,” in which the locked-in can interact with other humans, both locked-in and not. The other is the discovery that a few rare individuals have brains that are receptive to being controlled by others, meaning that from time to time, those who are locked in can “ride” these people and use their bodies as if they were their own.

This skill is quickly regulated, licensed, bonded, and controlled. Nothing can go wrong. Certainly nobody would be tempted to misuse it, for murder, for political power, or worse....

I haven't read anything by John Scalzi before, but I've always heard great things about his work. This was on io9's list of genre books they were most looking forward to this summer and it sounds fascinating. It has the sci-fi element and tons of ethical dilemmas that make for great drama. I normally avoid a lot of sci-fi involving plagues or vast sickness because it makes me paranoid, but it sounds like this will focus more on the results rather than the illness.