Close your eyes. Imagine yourself sitting on the edge of a small playground. The bench you sit on looks out over lush green grass, a line of trees in the distance. At your back there is a swing set, jungle gym, sandbox, usually crawling with young people yelling and playing. But today, the children are all absent and all you can hear is the rush of wind in the distant trees and the gentle squeak of the swings swaying in the breeze.
One day, in the very distant future, a man decides to go outside for a walk. Never mind that the outside air is a toxic mix of very unfriendly gases, that no other human would dare volunteer for such a pastime. Never mind that this walk will be a very short, one way trip.
I introduced myself to John Scalzi’s writing earlier this year with Redshirts, a book that springs from the very important question of just why so many unfortunate space explorers wearing red uniforms die in the Star Trek universe. I was immediately impressed with Scalzi’s witty choice of story concept, his handling of larger themes, and use of unconventional plot devices. I enjoyed meeting his characters and engaging in their quick, intelligent dialogue. The world he built felt fresh, young, and bright. So, I was very eager to pick up Lock In, hoping to find more of the same, and I wasn’t disappointed.
If you can survive the opening scene of The Last Son of Ahriman, you’ll be doing good. I don’t mean that in a it-takes-a-while-to-get-into-the-story kind of way. I mean it in a do-your-best-not-to-get-eaten-by-a-horrible-monster-or-sucked-into-a-terrifying-portal-to-a-hell-dimension kind of way.