“Unlocked” Now at Tor.com

Those of you who were waiting for “Unlocked” to show up on Tor.com and thereby depriving my darling child of shoes and a college education* — your wait is over, because it’s now up for the reading over there.** Enjoy.

* Not really. She has several pairs of shoes. Aaaaaand probably she’ll get a college education.

** Mind you, if you want the exclusive chapter-long preview of Lock In, the upcoming novel (and oh, my, you do), you’ll need to get the eBook version of the novella, available at fine e-retail establishments everywhere (links to retailers here).

41 Comments on ““Unlocked” Now at Tor.com”

  1. Damn, I just bought Unlocked yesterday from B&N! I was so hoping to deprive Athena of shoes and a college education. If I had just held out one more day…

  2. I read it last week, but I passed the link on to my Mom, whose e-readers are having issues. She’s already preordered copies of the hardcover for both of us.

  3. I preordered the print version of Unlocked, and I’m reading it for free on Tor.com. Does that put me in a quantum superposition wherein I simultaneously am and am not depriving your child? Because that would be cool! And simultaneously dickish and not-dickish.

  4. Just curious … with respect to the ‘Lock In’ chapter, is it more or less what you read to the lucky roomful at LoneStarCon last year?

  5. I bought it the first day you brought it up. Not that I am a cutting edge type guy anymore, but I had to get it into my reading queue before something else comes. It’s number 4 in the queue right now with two other books after that. I read them as I buy them. No cutting ahead in line.
    That and the fact that I don’t read online in bed or the bathroom.

  6. Richard:

    It’s not. That was a version of the book I didn’t use, although major chunks of it were repurposed for the book that exists now.

  7. Interesting. Looking forward to reading the real thing, then.

    PS. The cell phone incident in that room was one of the funniest things I’ve ever encountered at a con.

  8. I bought it yesterday, because I just couldn’t bear the thought of Athena without shoes… or an education. Plus I lost track of the date.

  9. Not that you asked, but I want to offer myself as one more data point in the “giving away stuff results in future sales” model. I found a used copy of Old Man’s War almost literally lying on the sidewalk, and have since proceeded to buy probably half your books (and get most of the rest from the library). So, re: “Unlocked”–thank you, don’t mind if I do. I’ll see you again on Lock In release day.

  10. Well, l previously stated that I wasn’t going to read Lock In because I have personal trauma issues at the concept and all that. But reading this for free convinced me to buy it when it comes out. Does that help any?

  11. Thank you for distracting me from a slow day at work! I already have Locked In on preorder and can’t wait to read it.

  12. Already Nooked it. I had a Post-it note on my Nook to remind me the next time I opened it. And I pre-ordered Locked In on my Nook while I was at it.

  13. I hope the fact that I recommended this to my CERT team and the epidemiology faculty will make up for my having read it for free. Amazing work, sir. I’m looking forward to Lock In.

  14. Well, having read that, I guess I can see why you might (gently) curse the name Max Brooks…

  15. This may seem weird, but this reminds me more of “Agent to the Stars” than of anything else of yours that I’ve read. The atmosphere and ethos of how people react to something totally new; and there’s one scene in particular that’s strikingly comparable to its equivalent in the other story …

    Anyway, great story. Especially clever in the way it drops hints to the reader on things that the people in the story already know, and then explains them in a sideways manner.

  16. Back when I worked at Hampshire, students would yell at me that they paid my salary ( their parents were somehow never mentioned). So it amuses me that I’ve contributed a few cents to Athena’s college fund.

  17. Oh dear, I tend to patronize DC’s public library system. How about I send you some cash in a sack? Or shoes? And I can keep an eye out for a teeny weeny college. (Would Bard fit in an envelope?)

  18. Read it, it was awesome as expected. The politics was disturbingly realistic.

    Can’t wait for the novel!

  19. Congratulations, John. If the novel is even half as good as this you’ve just won your next Hugo.

  20. If she wants to go to college she can enlist in the Marines and get GI Bill. And they’ll give her shoes, too.

  21. Bought it yesterday, finished it yesterday. Made myself wait until today to read the preview (also finished). Now I want the book.

    Now I know YOU have the book, and I have dollars, can we make a deal here? Look I’ll throw in cat pictures…er, well I don’t have a cat but I have two cat sized dogs, and they could be in pictures. Pictures that may or may not also have bacon. Deal?

    Come on, work with me!

  22. @Jon Meltzer: I did too, especially Lawana and Michael Dellinger’s decision — I thought it was a lovely, subtle callback to Deirdre’s assertion of autonomy in the face of Maltzer’s paternalistic gibbering (“You didn’t create my life; you only preserved it”).

  23. While I’m at it, Maltzer’s terror at the thought of being Other — he and Harris aren’t wrong about that being true in Deirdre’s case: it’s the jump to Other equals Bad that’s exasperating — ignores that people create community all over the place, which is nicely answered in our gracious host’s work by the Agora.

    (Sorry, having trouble focusing long enough to dig down into this: Old Cat is old and very cranky of late, and I’m thinking there’s going to have to be Yet Another Vet Visit this week.)

  24. I started reading it this morning (I have my Kindle on my phone which I read between waking up and getting up) and the idea of being “locked in” is REALLY REALLY SCARY. I like the approach to this prequel, even though I sometimes find it difficult to jump from voice to voice.

  25. I liked it! I enjoyed the narrative style very much. I have been a fan of seeing the same events from different perspectives since the wonderful party scene(s) in the Dorsai! books.

  26. just finished it, (I had the pre-order in via Sub Press a while ago, now can’t wait for it to arrive)
    good stuff, John, good stuff.

    I didn’t realize the C.L. Moore reference at the time of reading it (just a nagging…”where have I read something like this before” nice touch and classy as well)


  27. “Unlocked” achievement now unlocked. I knew I kept those Chapters gift cards around with the leftover bits of currency on them for a reason. ;-)

  28. A few thoughts:
    If you feel but can’t move you’ll be awfully concered with how uncomfortable you are ( try being with no movements at all and see how long it takes for you to break). I would think the first thing a “locked in” person would say would be like “scratch my nose” or something.
    I’m reminded of Joseph Heller’s “No laughing matter”. Your fictional Haden’s syndrome is a lot like the severe form of Guillan-Barre ( exept, of course, Guillain-Bare is temporary). Your medical team should go back to med school for not excluding that first.
    looking forward to reading “locked in

  29. Well, reading that for free that took part of my efficiency at work down to a whole new level. It is really good and I agree with DB that this seemed more like a relative to “Agent to the Stars” than “Redshirts”. Both are good, just totally different. I have, of course, pre-ordered it on Amazon as soon as possible but now I really can’t wait.

    Interesting touch making the president a fiscal Republican with a loving wife. Unfortunately, I knew that once you had “different” people that there would start to be ostracizing. Over twenty five years in social work and I truly believe that there is something in our human soul that likes to know where each individual is in the hierarchy. “I may be ———-, ———–, and ————; but at least I am better than him. Thanks for the freebie.

  30. Excellent story, sir. This kind of hit home for me, as I’ve cared for children with communication issues such as cranial nerve disorders that prevent talking or making facial expressions. The mind is there, but it can’t get out without some serious help.

    I’m really looking forward to “Lock In”.

  31. Deeply deeply creepy.

    You did slightly lose my suspension of disbelief with (spoiler) the Jets being in the Superbowl, but recovered from that within the first half.

    Not sure the voices were distinct enough, to be completely honest, lots of the trademark Scalzi snark from various people, but I’m definitely going to read the novel now, wasn’t too sure to begin with as the idea of lock-in is very disturbing to me.

  32. Efrat

    There are individuals with locked in syndrome; it’s vastly difficult to communicate, which means that people suffering from it do usually wish to go for something a bit more than ‘scratch my nose’ when initially provided with a means of communication, important as that itch might be.

    As for Guillain-Barré syndrome, the symptoms aren’t even remotely close; the list of differential diagnoses would have to run to at least 3 figures to get it into play, and even then it’s not actually an answer. No-one knows what causes it and no-one knows how to cure it; the best we can manage is to treat patients in the hope of damping down harmful immune response whilst giving them intensive nursing support.

    In other words, it’s one of those diagnoses which isn’t really a diagnosis; it’s a label. And clearly it’s not a correct label for John’s fictional patients because not only do their symptoms differ from it but also because around 40% of patients with Guillain-Barré have not had a preceding bout of infection, whether bacterial or viral, so confronted with a group of patients, all of whom have had a specific viral infection, John’s fictional doctors know that they are not dealing with Guillian-Barré syndrome.

    I’m really looking forward to the novel…

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