Lock In by John Scalzi
Lock In by John Scalzi is a story of a large segment of the world's population succumbing to a paralysis invoking flu, leaving their minds completely intact. Technology moves in and gives these people robotic bodies in order for them to continue contributing to society. In the midst of all this a great detective story unfolds involving two FBI agents, one of them, a flu suffer--equipped in their robot body--the other, flesh and blood. The story is told in the first-person from the POV of the robotic-human FBI agent.
Lock In blurs the lines of gender. I would normally roll my eyes at this as a form of pandering to what it currently a hot-button issue in society. But the subtly in which Scalzi does this is very good. The reader is never given any hints if the protagonist is male or female. The plot doesn't hinge on their sexuality and it's never brought up. The fact that this character is piloting what I imagine to be a very androgynous--albeit humanoid vehicle--sets the stage for a neutral being for both male and female characters to interact with. Does it border on the fringes of a Progressive Utopian fantasy? Maybe. But it isn't preachy or heavy-handed.
The audio book was recorded by both a male and female readers, adding an interactive element to your reading experience. In my opinion, it's a no-brainer as to which version is the superior read. Amber Bensen is the female reader and she does a sensational job.
I did not, nor will I ever, read the male version of Lock In, as Wil Wheaton is the reader, and he has lost all credibility as a reader of so much as the Dictionary after what he did to Masters of Doom. Unforgivable, bordering on shameful.
Lock In reminded me of the novels by J.D. Robb...just without the sex. One might argue that this would be a setback. I guess it all depends on what your cup o' tea happens to be. The world of Lock In is much more believable then Robb's fantastical sci-fi universe. Scalzi's human piloted androids are not super-human, and there is no robot/human uprising. The story stays within the boundaries of a detective-style who-done-it, in the not so distant sci-fi future.