My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Another Scalzi winner that has "Future Hugo Nominee" written all over it. I was turning pages late into the night in this futuristic police procedural.
FBI agent Chris Shane has Haden's Syndrome, a disease where he's "locked in" to his body, unable to move or respond but fully aware. Modern technology has provided Haden's survivors with the ability to transfer their consciousness into "threepios", metal shells that can move and act like humans, but resemble a beloved robotic film character.
Chris and his non-Haden's partner are racing to figure out what's happening in a series of murders and terrorist attacks linked to the Haden's community. The writing is vibrant and the dialogue snappy as they uncover clues leading to a conspiracy larger than anyone could have suspected. The only reason I didn't give the book five stars was the number of pieces that fell into place a touch too conveniently, such as Chris' new roommate happening to have the skills necessary to figure out a key issue.
However, one of the things that struck me the most, and I didn't realize it until late in the novel, is that the Haden's community is a post-racial community. Most people don't know the racial background of the people in the threepios. They're not black, or Hispanic, or Asian, they're all Hadens. It was an interesting twist as a new class of people emerge in society subject to slurs ("clanks" rather than Hadens) and hate crimes.
This is a solid SF novel combined with a good suspense tale, and I hope it's the start of a series because I'd love to read more about Chris, his partner Vann and the Haden's community.
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