Jim's Books

Head On

John Scalzi

Head On
Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star

ISBN: 9781509835102


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.

Reviewed on 7th July 2018

The sequel to Lock In, this novel continues the adventures of FBI agent Chris, a ‘Hayden’, who is one of many people with locked in syndrome who carry out their daily lives by controlling Android-like avatars over the Internet.

Scalzi has built-out the world in a new and interesting direction by looking to the arena of sport. This makes for a fascinating bit of world-building and suggests an author who puts a fair amount of thought into the repercussions of his storytelling choices.

One of the key elements of interest in the first novel was that Chris’ gender remains unrivalled throughout. This continues in this sequel, but unlike the first book, I aware of it in advance. I’m not sure how much difference it makes to my experience of reading - I’d hope little, but I’m not sure if that’s because my brain is just defaulting to male regardless, or if I truly am thinking of the character with no regard for gender.

It’s a really enjoyable story, and I’m glad there is a sequel. I hope that Scalzi chooses to write more of these stories and can continue to build out this world and see what other changes his fictional disease might cause in the global culture.