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Summary

"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 stand-alone follow-up to the New York Times best-selling 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.

©2018 John Scalzi (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What members say

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another great listen John Scalzi legend!

cannot fault any of what I have read and listened to when John writes it comes to life I stopped reading a very long time ago and he brought back a passion for listening and reading again I listen in work and pick up the book at home and continue to read

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Depressingly believable future gladiators

Well plotted, well written, with the new world order and the consequences well realised. And it made me laugh. Recommended

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Heading in Anotner Direction

Not sure what happened here. Loved the premise, I have plenty of time for Wheaton's narrating and I've enjoyed previous books by the author. But from the moment this started I struggled to listen, felt it was trying to be too clever about the fictional sport and my head just couldn't take it in. I had several goes at it but no luck. In the end having made it to a couple of hours in I realised I wasn't paying attention.

Wrong book on the wrong day? Maybe, but I simply did not get on this one's wavelength for more than a minute or two at a time and even when I did I very soon slipped back under.

Sorry Wil, John, I genuinely like you as a combination but this one's going back.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Funny, original and fantastic narration

really enjoyable, the main characters are sarcastic and funny and Wil Wheaton is brilliant as ever ❤️

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Großartig!

Man steigt in diesen SF Krimi ein und er ist spannend bis zum Ende! John Scalzi kann das hervorragend!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Don’t loose your head!

John Scalzi has almost created a recipe for the perfect book in here. FBI agents: Chris and Vann are running an investigation looking into a mysterious death that would make Holmes and Watson proud. It all takes place in the near future, with just a few sci-fi themes. The book focuses on the interrrogation of witnesses and explores your moral views through the ‘Haden’s syndrome’ concept, letting your imagination run wild. If that isn’t enough, the sarcastic humour and interactions between the agents show a character and skilful writing style of the author. Truly entertaining.

Wil Wheaton’s narration is splendid. The charisma he puts into the story is rare and makes a fantastic audiobook. Perhaps he draws his energy from his beard... and I hope he keeps on performing more books.

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Who dunnit with a defference

@Scalzi is a gifted story teller and has devilered some hard-hitting social commentary in this book. I personally didn't like the premise of the game. However this does not distract from a well spun yarn. Listening to the book and keeping track of all the small yet vital characters was a bit like extreme listening.

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Really interesting.

Love the idea with this book. Where you can hear it narratated via a male or female. I love the storyline and fully enjoyed the narrator. I chose will Wheaton but I wonder what the story would be like if I chose the female narrator.
A really good book 2.

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  • A
  • Sheffield, United Kingdom
  • 22-05-18

A good if not great follow up

I loved the first book, it was a fast paced whodunit story built on strong characters and a great premise. This book has the same characters and premise but the plot is convoluted and ultimately disappointing because the outcome is an obvious one. I hope the inevitable third book goes a little further with the premise and is not just a borderline story tacked on to a good premise.

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  • Mr Page
  • BURTON ON TRENT, United Kingdom
  • 01-06-18

Easily my favourite John Scalzi books

Along with Lock In. And Wil Wheaton brings it to life perfectly. Hope there will be more in the series.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • C. White
  • 17-04-18

THIS is why I read SciFi! Scalzi gets into your head (be it on or off)

I don't know if you can call this a non-bias review considering I pre-ordered the book, downloaded it at 12:01am on its release date, and then promptly put in a marathon listening session to complete the book. To say that I'm a John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton fanboy would be an understatement. With that said, I did fully enjoy the book. I felt it fell slightly short of "Locked In" (think the difference between an "A" and an "A-"). As with the pervious book, the supposedly intelligent individuals perpetrating the cover up/conspiracy do some awfully stupid things (not to mention how conveniently agent Shane just happens to be in the "right place at the right time") but that is not the point of "Head On". The point is the journey and the immersive everyday details that Scalzi incorporates into the fascinating alternative Haden reality. As with all of Scalzi's previous efforts, the book is filled with snarky quick witted characters that are maybe a bit too sarcastic for their own good, but add to the enjoyable atmosphere of the book. What I really found interesting was how Scalzi raised several thought provoking issues such fidelity in Haden culture, discrimination of "normals" in the Haden culture, and even why being a Haden doesn't preclude someone from being a crazy cat owner ;) The bottom line is simply this... This IS a John Scalzi book, if you have enjoyed any of his other works, then you will enjoy this further exploration into the Haden universe.

31 of 31 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew D.
  • 18-04-18

Every bit as good as Lock In

Very good futuristic detective novel. The world of Lock In was expanded in a very good way in this novel. I finished the book in a day and that never happens for me. I can’t wait for the next novel in the series.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Frida Kirkevold
  • 24-04-18

Loved it

I loved this book, and I am sad that it isn't part of a stupidly long series, because I want more and I want it yesterday!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Sara
  • 06-08-18

favorite new Scalzi series

I'm a big fan of John Scalzi's novels, and the Lock In series is becoming a favorite. Head On is the sequel to Scalzi's 2014 book Lock In, and I'd definitely recommend reading Lock In first, if you haven't already. The series takes place in the near future, following a pandemic flu that has left many people 'locked in' and suffering from Haden's syndrome -- they're mentally alert but unable to move or speak. They're freed from lock-in by android-like personal vehicles ("threeps") that connect to their brains through a neural network and allow them to move around in the world. The protagonist of the series is Chris Shane, a Haden who joins the FBI and solves crimes that involve other Hadens. The world of Hadens makes for a lot of interesting plot twists and some thought-provoking moments about what it means to be human.

One of the things I really enjoy about this series, and a tribute to Scalzi's talent as a writer, is that both Lock In and Head On are written in a gender-neutral way -- Scalzi never states whether Chris Shane is male or female. So it's really fun to listen to both narrations, one by Wil Wheaton (who's my favorite narrator for anything Scalzi related) and another version by Amber Benson. Both narrators are excellent, and if you can afford to get both versions of the book, it's worth listening to both.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ross Noir
  • 19-04-18

Great, but expected more.

I was a big fan of Scalzis first novel in this universe "Lock In" and accompanying short stories about the rise of Hadens syndrome. Those 2 together made a convincing world of characters and purpose.

Head On definitely kept expanding on the universe but I don't feel like Chris and Vann got decent character growth. We got a little bit more insight to some of the minor characters around Chris, but felt like at the end the book had more of an "all in a day's work" feel to it than having tackled a huge case that with significance. But the crime and its resolution and motives were well thought out.

Well written and of course another great read by Wil Wheaton. I would still like more of Chris and Vann! Please!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Catherine
  • 17-05-18

They pull the heads off!

This is fun and well plotted. A good continuation of the world and characters from the first book - hope we get some more. I love how the various options and quirks of the Threep based society keeps deepening. Including a game where decapitation is a key factor.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Boone
  • 15-05-18

great 2nd chapter

this was an awesome fallow up to a great book, so far i have "read" everything by John Scalzi. with the exception of the Old Man's War series. I really hope that Mr. Scalzi is planning on turning this line of story into a series. Even though I only listen to the Wil Wheaton version I love how the books were written to be unisex and therefore read by both a male and female narrator as to appeal to both men and woman, I do hope this continues if it does become a series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • John Brooks
  • 14-05-18

super good

I liked everything about it. especially agent Vans dialogue. a good story doesn't matter if you don't have characters that are interesting and enjoyable to follow. John does a good job creating those type of characters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • 14-05-18

non stop excitement

Loved the book, great story, great performance, and exciting from start to end, filled with humor and suspense.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ralph Andersen
  • 13-05-18

Another great story

Really liked the first book so I was excited to see this show up for pre order. Another great story with modern touches like crypto currency cards and just enough tech for us geeks without going overboard. Love Vann and Shane's partnership. Finely crafted mystery. I enjoy the extra dimension of the integrators and threeps. You don't just have to figure out 'who' physically did something but the person actually committing it. I'm probably biased but think Wil Wheaton did a fine job. Counting the days till book 3.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful