Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome

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Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome is offered by John Scalzi as a companion piece to his upcoming novel called Lock In. The form of the novella is a series of interviews with different people who lived through the period when a new virus emerged, transitioned swiftly from epidemic to pandemic, and then began either killing large numbers of the population or paralyzing them.

It begins as a near-future medical triller but rapidly transitions into a science fiction set of outcomes. The good news is that, as we’ve come to expect from Scalzi, this is a highly readable piece of prose. There may not be any distinctiveness between the voices of the people who contribute their words to this history, but it does efficiently deliver the plot. The bad news is what I take to be a central flaw in the plausibility of the plot. The closest real world event to this pandemic was encephalitis lethargica—a disease that left its victims comatose, i.e. unconscious, so they could awake and be relatively normal. The point of this story is that the body may be frozen but the mind remains active. Personally, I think almost every individual with this disease would be insane within days and no one would want to give them a voice.

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Star Count 2.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 96 pages
Publisher Subterranean
Publish Date 2014-Sep-30
ISBN 9781596066830
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue September 2014
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy


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