Imagine the world overrun by a mysterious new disease called “Haden’s syndrome.” For most who contract it, it’s no worse than a nasty case of the flu. But a small percentage of its victims become “locked in”: completely paralyzed, but also completely conscious. That’s a prospect that’s pretty damn close to the worst-case scenario for many, and it serves as the launching-off point for John Scalzi’s recent novel Lock In, which has only been out for around a month but is already in development as a potential TV series.
Published in August by Tor, Scalzi’s Lock In picks up a quarter century after Haden’s syndrome swept across the planet, long enough for society to have adjusted to the new reality the virus imposes. One of the more unusual of those changes is the existence of “integrators” — people with the ability to allow the locked in to borrow their bodies and go for a joy ride. But when two FBI agents are assigned to investigate a murder that involves an Integrator, you begin to realize how difficult upholding the law would become in a world where the person committing the crime might not be the original owner of the body.