Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome Hardcover – September 30, 2014
"When We Believed in Mermaids" by Barbara O'Neal
From the author of The Art of Inheriting Secrets comes an emotional new tale of two sisters, an ocean of lies, and a search for the truth. | Learn more
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- Item Weight : 8.3 ounces
- Hardcover : 96 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1596066830
- ISBN-13 : 978-1596066830
- Dimensions : 5.75 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Publisher : Subterranean; Deluxe Hardcover Edition (September 30, 2014)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,540,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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It's absolutely fantastic how much work is put in world building and this short-story shows a glimpse of it. It's still rather dense and condensed, therefore quite short.
So, when you read the two full-length novels, you see a tiny piece of this imaginary universe, but this one makes you realize, that the whole world is really well thought-out.
I really recommend this to anyone, who already read the two other books, or, if you are new to this series, it may be a good idea to start here.
At first, Haden's Syndrome was thought to be a new flu virus, a vicious variety that killed 18% of the infected. But then many of the infected healed and then got sick again with a meningitis like disease. So it was not a flu, in fact it was a man-made virus, possibly created in Pakistan and introduced at the winter meeting of the International Epidemiological conference where 80% of the 1,000 attendees were infected.
And of those who survived the meningitis stage, 1% become "locked in". Able to see and hear their surroundings but not able to move a finger, a foot, an eye, or their mouth. This is the story of the fight against the ongoing disease after 25 years.
As the narrative progresses, the growing panic, suffering and frustration of the narrators and of the general populace build a sense of foreboding and then doom. Millions die, and millions more are left with "locked-in" syndrome: conscious, cognitive, and aware, but incapable of any speech or movement whatsoever. But - as with all such crises - partially-successful medical interventions are developed, and eventually the epidemic becomes a "normalized" fact of life.
The author has done a fantastic job of imparting a distinctive "voice" to each of the different characters as they relate their personal experiences and perceptions.
This novella is a prequel to (and contains a first chapter teaser of) the novel Lock In , which takes place 25 years after the epidemic began. With his articulate, accessible prose, the author has hugely piqued my interest in what comes next, and I will be reading the novel as soon as it is released.
Set 25 years after the emergence of the virus that caused the epidemic resulting in Haden's (Locked In) Syndrome, the novella is structured as a collection of short reminiscences by many of those who dealt with the original outbreak and its results. It was surprising to me how engrossing it was given the format and the subject. (Don't know why- it is Scalzi after all...) This was strong enough as a standalone read that as I was reading I thought "Well I'm enjoying this so much I don't really need to revisit it all with the novel length `Lock In'." Boy, am I lucky that they included the first chapter of "Lock In"
"Lock In" is NOT covering the same story as "Unlocked" but a continuation taking place (apparently) somewhere in that 25 years in the future setting. I'm very glad that I read "Unlocked" first- I was able to immediately recognize the main character and get immersed in that world.
So the dilemma, I almost never pay that much for a kindle book. The last one that was worth it to me was Andy Weir's "The Martian" and what are the odds of striking gold again. So am I going to breakdown and get "Lock In" or not? Hmmm.
Oh who am I kidding? Of course I am. "Unlocked" was that good. I never could eat just one potato chip...
Top reviews from other countries
This is really just a precursor to "Lock In", due out later this year but I think it's worth reading in itself. It paints abroad sweep of how society deals with the onset and repercussions of the virus and I think I'll enjoy Lock In more when I read it because of having read this.
It's well written and a quick read as well as including the first chapter from Lock in, which looks promising.
Still as compelling as Mr. Scalzi's other work, this short novella promises more and better for the full-fledged book that will see the light next August. One I look forward to.