Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"Amped" by Daniel H. Wilson

288 pages

In the not-so-distant future, the United States is on the brink of a crisis. The Supreme Court has ruled that discrimination against technologically advanced humans is legal. The logic is that the "amps" have unfair advantages over "real humans," so they aren't protected with all the rights that regular citizens are. For the millions of amps across the country, this is a disaster. Their special abilities vary, but many have the chips in their brains for purely medical reasons. Twenty-nine-year-old schoolteacher Owen is included in that group. He received his chip as a preteen to cure his epilepsy, and it serves no other purpose. That's what he thinks, anyway. But as tensions rise between amps and those who fear them, Owen learns that his father, a doctor, put a special amp in his brain. An amp that gives him powers like no one has ever seen. Problem is, Owen has no idea how to control these powers, much less use them to help others like him. And, as it turns out, there is more going on behind the scenes of the impending civil war, and both sides have their targets set on Owen. 

This is one of those science fiction stories that actually seems conceivable. There are plenty of parallels between this story and things that have already happened plenty of times throughout history. Human beings have shown that we can be incredibly paranoid. Fear makes people, even big groups of people, do terrible things. So it's not hard to imagine the events of Amped happening in real life. Although I think things wouldn't escalate as quickly as they did in the story, I was okay everything moving quickly for the purposes of the book. I got sucked in right away and the nonstop action made it hard to put down. I thought it was predictable at first, but then there were a few twists thrown in that I totally didn't see coming. My only complaint is that I wanted better, more clear descriptions of what was happening inside Owen's head when the amp was turned on. I had trouble picturing what was actually going on. Overall, though, this is an entertaining story that will appeal to all kinds of fans of speculative fiction. 

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