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Head On: A Novel of the Near Future (Lock In #2) (Mass Market)

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(Science Fiction Fantasy)

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Staff Reviews

A follow-up to the novel Lock In, Head On was a book I simply couldn’t put down. The story reads like an Agatha Christie murder mystery, but with more corporate conspiracy and robots. Beyond the mystery and sci-fi, there are also elements of social commentary that had me questioning humanity’s shared beliefs on race and minority. While I enjoy the story’s alternative take on the near-future, I simply love the balance between the often-humorous banter of the main characters and the narrative’s action-packed moments. All this combined with the even pacing of the story, as the author avoids inundating the reader with too much information all at once, makes for a smooth and enjoyable read. If you’re a fan of crime dramas, sci-fi, and some humorous dialogue, you’ll love John Scalzi’s Head On as much as I did.  

— Nicholas


"As much as Scalzi has the scientific creativity of a Michael Crichton, he also has the procedural chops of a Stephen J. Cannell to craft a whodunit with buddy-cop charm and suspects aplenty—most of them in someone else's body." —USA Today

John Scalzi returns with Head On, the standalone follow-up to the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed Lock In. Chilling near-future SF with the thrills of a gritty cop procedural, Head On brings Scalzi's trademark snappy dialogue and technological speculation to the future world of sports.

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.

Is it an accident or murder? FBI Agents and Haden-related crime investigators, Chris Shane and Leslie Vann, are called in to uncover the truth—and in doing so travel to the darker side of the fast-growing sport of Hilketa, where fortunes are made or lost, and where players and owners do whatever it takes to win, on and off the field.

About the Author

John Scalzi won the 2006 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novel for Redshirts, and his debut novel Old Man’s War was a finalist for Hugo Award as well. His other books include The Ghost Brigades, The Android’s Dream, The Last Colony and The Human Division. He has won the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for science-fiction, the Seiun, The Kurd Lasswitz and the Geffen awards. His weblog, The Whatever, is one of the most widely-read web sites in modern SF. Born and raised in California, Scalzi studied at the University of Chicago. He lives in southern Ohio with his wife and daughter.

Praise For…

Praise for Head On

"New and fresh....Scalzi's smirking, impish voice is a nice touch." —NPR

"Particularly relevant....A fun, breezy thriller, one that showcases a world that carries with it some extremely astute commentary on some of the real problems that we face in our own. " —The Verge

"The Lock In universe is as fascinating as ever....Complex, expansive....Pretty damn cool." —RT Book Reviews, 4 stars

"Head On doesn’t care if you’ve read Lock In or not, but it does care if you enjoy a mystery wrapped up inside a science fiction novel....This might even be one of the best introductions to Scalzi out there." —Culturess

"[Scalzi's] prose flows like a river, smoothly carrying us through the story; his characters are beautifully crafted; and his future world is impeccably designed, at the same time wildly imaginative and wholly plausible." —Booklist, starred review

"This taut mystery, filled with memorable characters in a well-constructed world, will keep readers on the edges of their seats." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Readers will definitely show up for the witty banter and smartass takedowns….Very clever, wonderfully satisfying fun." —Kirkus

"A snappy, cannily-driven police procedural in which Scalzi highlights and skewers contemporary issues and hypocrisies." —The Seattle Review of Books

"Scalzi is in good form again here with his usual rich blend of smart, rapid-fire dialogue and well-paced bursts of hard-hitting action." —Toronto Star

Praise for Lock In

"This is the kind of thriller that Michael Crichton, Lincoln Child, and James Rollins do so well. Add John Scalzi to that list." —Douglas Preston, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Kraken Project and Impact

"As much as Scalzi has the scientific creativity of a Michael Crichton, he also has the procedural chops of a Stephen J. Canell to craft a whodunit with buddy-cop charm and suspects aplenty—most of them in someone else's body." —USA Today

“Satisfying.” —NPR

“Scalzi takes his work to an entirely new level.” —Cory Doctorow

“A smart, thoughtful near-future thriller…. This powerful novel will intrigue and entertain both fans and newcomers.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“John Scalzi may be the most entertaining writer in SF today.” —Toronto Star

Product Details
ISBN: 9780765388933
ISBN-10: 0765388936
Publisher: Tor Science Fiction
Publication Date: March 26th, 2019
Pages: 336
Language: English
Series: Lock In