John Scalzi returns with Head On, a 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.
Scalzi takes his work to an entirely new level (Cory Doctorow)
Very clever, wonderfully satisfying fun (Kirkus)
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)
Scalzi expands his complex future with master strokes, balancing buddy-cop wryness with thought-provoking social and political commentary. 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)