Speculating on SpecFic

Fantastic Literature: From epic fantasy to fairytales to myth-making

Amped - Daniel H. Wilson As soon as I started Amped I knew I was in for one hell of a ride. The world Wilson describes, with humans reacting with fear and disgust to amps – those with electronic circuits implanted in their grey matter – is strangely believable and horrifying. The book is filled with incredible ideas and the author has a keen insight into what lurks deep inside every human being – the fear of being left behind. These implants embody just that: technology that is meant to help those who need it – the physically and mentally impaired – are no longer ostracised because of what they can’t do, but what they can.The main character, Owen Gray, stands out because he is so normal (aside from the implant) – a high school Science teacher who was just doing his job, and then the world turned on him and others just like him. Once the amped are declared to have no legal rights, his existence is defined by simply trying to survive in a world he no longer belongs in, no longer understands. Jim is one of the more dimensional supporting characters in the book, who introduces Owen to the realities of being amped. Jim’s pragmatism is powerful, and it is clear that there is no peaceful solution to the growing unrest gripping America – the amps will have to fight.As a science fiction story Amped lacks the nuance and meaty scientific background I am accustomed to. Although the technology behind the implants is not fully explained, the world created around them is surprisingly realistic. I loved the scenes where Owen is learning to tap into the full extent of the powers his implant offers. The book is more accurately described as a thriller – a conspiracy movie made into a book – full of action, tortured souls and ‘slow-motion’ sequences when Owen’s amp kicks in. One of the small touches I loved about Amped is that every chapter begins with a speech, newspaper article or piece of legislature that lets readers know what is going all across America, and sometimes the world. It is interesting to note that it is only in America that the amped are persecuted by the masses – the rest of the world seems to react with mild bewilderment as the situation develops.Amped is the perfect read for the beach or on a journey. It’s a light and quick read that delivers a lot of action and explores some thought-provoking territory. Hardly the epic science fiction saga I was expecting, the book is still enjoyable, and I look forward to reading Robopocalypse soon.You can read more of my reviews at Speculating on SpecFic.