It’s funny, although John Scalzi’s Lock In is primarily a crime procedural thriller it features a very detailed future, with a complexity of worldbuilding that is normally reserved for high fantasy and hard sci-fi. You find out more than just how the tech works. You see how it has impacted our culture legally, socially, and financially. And most importantly you see how it would alter the mundane details of our day to day lives. This sense of the future is an extremely important aspect of Lock In. After all, you need to know what the future is like for there to be any stakes to the story. What dramatic use is there to saving something the reader doesn’t understand?
In essence, Lock In needs to make you care about the maintenance and existence of robots and the humans who require them. Scalzi bridges this gap by subtly evoking another technological leap that has shaped our lives in the present day: the internet.