As many Tor readers will be very aware, last weekend was San Diego Comic Con! The internet has been abuzz for days with news, trailers, posters and concept art for upcoming films and TV shows. So much to look forward to! BUT, I hear you cry, what about BOOK news?

Well, fear not faithful Tor readers - we're getting in on the act too! We're thrilled to reveal the stunning new cover art for John Scalzi's upcoming novel, HEAD ON - the follow-up to LOCK IN. On the downside, you have to wait until April 2018 to get your hands on this beauty (designed to perfection by Neil Lang) but on the plus side - we promise it will be worth the wait. A chilling near-future sci-fi tale with the thrills of a gritty police procedural and Scalzi's trademark snappy dialogue, HEAD ON will keep you gripped and thoroughly entertained. AND it can be enjoyed as a standalone. 

Here's a handy intro to the world, from Scalzi himself:

Head On takes place in the near future when a worldwide pandemic called Haden’s syndrome has locked millions of people worldwide into their minds, until technology in the form of “threeps” – android bodies – is developed to let them interact with the rest of the world. As time goes on, threeps become commonplace, and those with Haden develop their own culture – including a popular sport called “Hilketa” a cross between American Football and ancient Roman gladiatorial combat, played with specialized threeps, in which teams score points by carrying an opponent threep’s head through goal posts. 

Sounds great, doesn't it? For more info about the evolution of Haden's Syndrome, you might want to check out the companion novella, 'Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome', which you can read for free on Or you can also head over to Entertainment Weekly, where the US book cover for HEAD ON was revealed a few weeks ago, along with an exclusive extract from the novel.

But first - feast your eyes on this cover and absorb it in all its shiny glory. Then scroll down for a hint at the plot . . .


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, where fortunes are made or lost, and where players and owners do whatever it takes to win, on and off the field.

* * * 

Praise for John Scalzi

‘Gripping and surpassingly original . . .  It’s funny, it’s sad, and it’s true’
Cory Doctorow

‘John Scalzi is the most entertaining, accessible writer working in SF today’
Joe Hill

‘Scalzi is one of the slickest writers that SF has ever produced’
Wall Street Journal

‘Clever dialogue, fast-paced story and strong characters’
The Times

‘It gladdens the reader's heart  . . .  great fun’
Daily Telegraph

‘Top-notch. His combat scenes are blood roiling’
Washington Post