Friday, July 6, 2012

Amped ~ Daniel H Wilson review

Doubleday Publishing Group
June 5, 2012
288 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from TBD/or Amazon

The same world that developed a chip that makes people better than human, smarter than everyone else  - more than those without it - now is afraid and hateful of the 'amped.'

A sort of technological ADD medicine, only so much more, the neural implants can not only help medically, they "make an average kid a genius and a dumb kid a genius." (pg 70)  Some have seen it as a godsend, giving disabled kids the boost they need to lead a 'normal' life.

Just like other technology, though, chips are capable of upgrades - only upgrades to these brain implants makes the 'amps' capable of seemingly superhuman feats.

Not everyone loves the chips, feeling left behind as thousands, if not millions get amped around them, see the other side.

On the day the backlash makes its way into the highest court in the US and the first law against those with chips is passed, schoolteacher Owen Gray's life changes drastically. Just as the entire country seems to be turning completely against those with implants, as laws are passed seemingly every day liming their rights, Owen finds out the implant he's had since his teens to control his seizures isn't what he thought.

Owen's discovery - and where it leads - will change not only his life but possibly the world.

Amped is by the author of last summer's Roboapocalypse Daniel Wilson. If HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey didn't worry you over where technology could possibly go, this book will. Either where technology could go and/or people's reaction to said technology that they've created which may, in fact, lead to even more trouble.

Amped is as much about Owen, his self discovery - and discovery of the 'amped' world - as it is about a world where technology has created two classes - those who are amplifed and those who are not.

The first two thirds or so of the novel are exceptionally fun to read. Not only do we discover some of the history of the implants, there are also news stories, court decisions, memos between the chapters that keep the reader up-to-date with the development in the amped/Pure battle while they follow Owen on his journey. It's a great way to learn the laws that are being passed or what's being said in the media without someone having to tell the main character or him read/watch it.

The world he gets pulled into seems so different from where he started - as a teacher - that it almost seems crazy, but the steps he took to get there make it all make sense. And it all ends up working so well that, well, it all works so well.

Amped is not usually the kind of book I read - which is why I think I liked the first two thirds better, where there was more character development and interaction (though the ending was pretty stellar) - but the author seems have drawn me into the genre and I'm anxious to see what he writes next.

Rating: 8/10

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