Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome
by John Scalzi
Review by Sam Lubell
Subterranean Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781596066830
Date: 30 September 2014 List Price $40.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Unlocked is a companion novella to Scalzi's new novel, Lock In. It fleshes out the background of the novel's Haden's Syndrome, a deadly disease that killed 400 million people and left millions more suffering from being Locked In, with their bodies paralyzed but brain still conscious. Unlocked answers some questions that readers of the novel may wonder about--how the new technology in the novel, remote controlled robot bodies for those Locked In, were developed so quickly and why the federal government devoted so much attention and money to the disease, only to defund it with the Abrams-Kettering Bill that drove much of Lock In's events.
This book is short, just 93 pages, and is presented as a series of excerpts from interviews with doctors, politicians, witnesses, and others who encountered Haden's Syndrome or those who suffered from it. The book reads more like an appendix to the novel than an independent work and I predict at some point someone will release a combined edition. It is interesting as a way of revealing more about Lock In's future, but not necessary to understand anything in the novel (nor does it spoil anything in the book other than the background article at the start.)
The deluxe hardcover is $40 from Subterranean Press so is meant for collectors and completists. The full text of the novella is also online at Tor.com.