A Novel of the Near Future
"As much as Scalzi has the scientific creativity of a Michael Crichton, he also has the procedural chops of a Stephen J. Canell to craft a whodunit with buddy-cop charm and suspects aplenty—most of them in someone else's body." —USA Today
John Scalzi returns with Head On, the standalone follow-up to the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed Lock In. Chilling near-future SF with the thrills of a gritty cop procedural, Head On brings Scalzi's trademark snappy dialogue and technological speculation to the future world of sports.
Hilketa is a frenetic and violent pastime where players attack each other with swords and hammers. The main goal of the game: obtain your opponent’s head and carry it through the goalposts. With flesh and bone bodies, a sport like this would be impossible. But all the players are “threeps,” robot-like bodies controlled by people with Haden’s Syndrome, so anything goes. No one gets hurt, but the brutality is real and the crowds love it.
Until a star athlete drops dead on the playing field.
Is it an accident or murder? FBI Agents and Haden-related crime investigators, Chris Shane and Leslie Vann, are called in to uncover the truth—and in doing so travel to the darker side of the fast-growing sport of Hilketa, where fortunes are made or lost, and where players and owners do whatever it takes to win, on and off the field.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Hugo-winner Scalzi returns to the fascinating world of the near-future thriller Lock In with this provocative sequel. Chris Shane was the poster child for Haden's syndrome, a condition in which a lively mind is trapped in an unresponsive body. Like other "Hadens," Chris uses an implanted neural network to control a "threep," an android body, and interact with the rest of the corporeal world. Chris works as an FBI agent handling Haden's-related cases alongside partner Leslie Vann. This time, they are called to investigate the suspicious death of professional hilketa player Duane Chapman during a match. Hilketa (it means "murder" in Basque) is a violent sport of carnage and decapitations played by Hadens in specially built threeps; the damage dealt to Chapman's threep shouldn't have affected his physical body, but he reported unusual pain from his threep's injuries and then died. The sport is growing in popularity and money-making potential, bringing the possibility of corruption. Is the North American Hilketa League trying to cover up some skullduggery, or did Chapman's jilted wife kill him? Chris and Leslie need to uncover the truth before the tangled case ignites a national scandal. Scalzi expands his complex future with master strokes, balancing buddy-cop wryness with thought-provoking social and political commentary. This taut mystery, filled with memorable characters in a well-constructed world, will keep readers on the edges of their seats. Correction: An earlier version of this review misstated the title of the previous book in the series. It also misstated the gender of a character.