Cover Reveal: Lock In

Hey, look! It’s the cover to my next novel!

I really like this cover, which I think captures the feel of the book, a near-future thriller involving a disease that causes people to be “locked in” inside their own bodies (I could tell you more, but… no). The art design is once again by Peter Lutjen, who made the cover of Redshirts so memorable.

For those curious, the current scheduled release date for the novel is August 26, 2014. And yes, it’s the one I’m currently writing and which I hope to have done by the end of the month. One of the nice things about having a cover for it already is that I feel like the book actually exists, and now all it’s doing is waiting around for me to add in my bit. I’m on it, guys.

Update: Over at, Tor art director Irene Gallo offers some behind-the-scenes pictures of the production of the cover. Whoa.

75 Comments on “Cover Reveal: Lock In”

  1. Tasha Turner Lennhof:

    There’s catalog text out there, but it’s purposefully vague. Let me finish writing the book, then I will let you know what it’s about.

  2. Very nice. Plus the day after my birthday. A new Scalzi novel will make a wonderful birthday present

  3. Great cover art!

    As for the content…well, “Locked-In Syndrome” is a real thing, and one of my personal nightmares. A disease that causes it? I think I would kill myself if there were cases on my continent, to avoid the possibility of getting it and not being able to kill myself.

    So I dunno. Might be too scary for me. I’m pretty sure you’re not writing it as a horror novel, but it might be one for me.

  4. Damn you, John Scalzi, I think you just created a new phobia for me! Actually, it’s related to my phobia of being conscious, but appearing comatose to the outside world. Fark. It sounds awesome, but I know reading it will be detrimental to my ability to not be constantly scared.

  5. There is an disease called ‘locked in’ disease. I take it this comes from that. There was a novel written by a french journalist who had it. He could only blink his eyes. So he had someone write down the letters. he would blink to represent letters. It was turned into a movie. The disease is horrifying. You can’t move, but you can feel everything. So if you get an itch, you can’t scratch it and its near impossible to tell anyone. Its worse than being parapalegic or being locked in an underground prison.

    sounds interesting john.

  6. Must…read…buy…recommend to all people I meet…spread the word of Our Lord Scalzi’s might…

    Seriously, now, that looks awesome, and I can’t wait to read it.

  7. Otto: Chicago prefers the en dash to the hyphen when one part of a compound adjective is a phrase. #throwsdownthepedantrygauntlet

  8. Meh. Got it off Pirate Bay and read it already. Not your best work. But keep writing and I’m sure it will be a hit in some alternate future universe, from which Amazon will gladly sell me a “used” eBook copy without paying you any royalties in any universe because silly you, you didn’t insist on an “alternate universe/time travel” clause in your contract. Guess it’s time for your once and future agent to pony up the $$ for that time machine. It’ll pay for itself after just a few novels. Good luck with the writing! (And maintaining the illusion of free will.)

  9. ottojschlosser: Guess it’s up to me to wear the Internet Grammar Pedant hat today…

    First, you’re right about the hyphen. But second…I don’t think it should be a hat, do you? I think it should be a medallion. This will confuse the masses and allow you…well, OK, us…to show off our superior knowledge!

    Andrew: I don’t think it should be a gauntlet, do you? :-)

  10. Is it going to give me nightmares, Pandorasdad?

    Damn, I hate to even consider skipping a Scalzi novel. :-(

  11. Oh, John, John. You don’t know me as well as I wish you did.

    The books I own but haven’t read are a very small set indeed (and are mostly gifts from misguided relatives, the middle book of a trilogy, things like that). None of them, not one, says “Scalzi” on the cover. I expect this to remain the case (except for the brief interval between buying a book and voraciously consuming it).

    Also, my current economic situation makes this unlikely. I will consider it should things change, however.

  12. I love that, probably enough to get me to buy the hardcover version instead of the ebook. How much input do you give on these covers? Or do you just trust the artist completely and let them do their thing?

  13. Or Hugo(hyphen)Award(en dash)Winning Author…

    I keep thinking of Marcia Muller’s Locked In in which her series detective Sharon McCone is shot and develops locked-in syndrome, which they can’t fix, until they can. ?!? (Been reading the series for decades…)

  14. Looking forward to it. Unfortunately, I need to wait 10 months. The odds are I will love it, since the only Scalzi novel I didn’t like is The God Engines.

    On a different topic, my mother used to get “locked in” for several hours when she would be given certain pain medications in the hospital. She appeared to be in a coma, but could see and hear everything around her.

  15. Might be too scary for me too. Xopher and I can not-read it together. Great cover, though.

    Is “fixing locked-in syndrome” one of the 101 Uses For a Dead Goat?

  16. I think I’m glad I’m not the only one who is afraid of your new book. It is definitely hitting a very basic nerve.

  17. A scary premise and a disturbing (in a good way, of course!) cover make for feverish anticipation. To say I’m looking forward to this book is the understatement of the year – or maybe of the century… :)

  18. I don’t wanna know what it’s about… yet. Just let me know when it is between the covers… or available on Nook… whichever comes first.. because: Intrigued by the cover.*

    *that ol’ BS statement about not judging a book by its cover? meeeeeeeeeeeeeh… sometimes yes.. sometimes no. More than once, a cover has gotten me hooked into a book I normally would have not picked up. Nice art adds to the experience.. at least for this hick.

  19. Tor already has a cover for a book you haven’t finished writing? They must have a lot of confidence in your ability to deliver on deadline – which is a good reputation for a writer to have :)

  20. @Xopher:

    The books I own but haven’t read are a very small set indeed

    A quote I use a lot is “Who wants a library full of books you’ve already read?” Interestingly*, I couldn’t remember the source, went to Google it just now, and found it attributed to both Harlan Ellison and Ray Bradbury.

    *Not really that interestingly.

  21. My mother-in-law has ALS. 3 years ago she was a vigorous 59 year old who took daily long hikes, played piano professionally, and never stopped moving from the time she was awake until she fell into bed after each absurdly productive day. Now she’s confined to a wheelchair. Can’t move any of her limbs. Is, at this point, nearly impossible to understand when she attempts to speak. She’s unable to do any little thing for herself. It’s a horror story — dignity becomes something you have to use all your willpower to cling to. And I can imagine that treating this subject with compassion is a real struggle for a writer.

  22. Ooooh, ahhhh, cover art eye candy :)

    Does the disease paralyze the voluntary muscles the way curare poisoning does or does it attack the motor cortex the way seizures sometimes do? Is the person with key knowledge to finding a cure locked in? Since my dad’s side of the family is prone to certain diseases of the nervous system, though not that one, I find neurological thrillers both fascinating and haunting.

  23. Ummm… I dunno. Doesn’t really seem to catch my eye or attention. To me, it’s a “meh” cover. I seem to be an exception, though.

  24. brucearthurs:

    You’re not alone, I’m not crazy about the cover either. But since I get almost all new books as ebooks these days, it won’t be much on my radar.

  25. Are the red people supposed to represent the locked-in? Because their are an order of magnitude too many, The description says 1% are locked in, but 7 out of 56 are red, or 12.5% (if I did the math right). Catchy cover though.

  26. Argg.. There* are too many, not their. I hate typos that I notice just when it’s too late.

  27. It seems like a lot of people are interpreting this title rather literally. Given the sci-fi angle, this could be something different. Consiousness transfer related, perhaps?

  28. @Oye Manuel: Perhaps it’s an imperative statement. Hell of a bioweapon if you could literally paralyze the enemy.

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