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Amped (Vintage Contemporaries) Paperback – February 12, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Daniel H. Wilson's Amped

“A fast-paced narrative, not too far away at all from everyday experience, that treats an unsettling question: How long will tolerance last once you can buy a better brain?”
The Wall Street Journal
“With Amped, Wilson has taken another step to claiming the late Michael Crichton's crown as the public's sci-fi thriller writer of choice. . . . Wilson hits all the notes in the right order, and the book’s pace is relentless. And perhaps best of all, he leavens his cautionary message with good-sized dollops of fistfights and gunfire. Amped might have a commendable message about tolerance and civil rights, but Wilson doesn’t let the message get in the way of our fun.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch 
“A wild ride. . . . Wilson taps into something primal with Amped. . . . Wilson is a roboticist by trade, and he combines his background in science and engineering with a knack for fast-paced narrative. . . . [Amped taps into] some of the deep questions about medical ethics, the social effects of technology, and the way that class and politics make technological questions much harder to resolve”
“A fast-paced, futuristic thriller that’ll make you think, especially about the dangers of us-versus-them demagoguery.”
Fredericksburg Free Lance Star

“Absorbing . . . Wilson is no stranger to exploring the intersection of technology and humankind. In Amped, certain individuals have technology embedded under their skin. These humans are smarter and faster than norm—and because most of the federally funded upgrades went to the needy, the formerly dumb and afflicted ‘amps’ are scaring the ‘pure’ humans. The not-so-distant future is a hotbed of class war and civil unrest.”
Portland Mercury

“A fast-paced narrative, not too far away at all from everyday experience, that treats an unsettling question: How long will tolerance last once you can buy a better brain? Mr. Wilson recognizes that, in the modern world, the battlegrounds would be legal and political, not just physical.”
The Wall Street Journal

“Fast-paced . . . fascinating . . . for hardcore sci-fi readers, Amped offers plenty of juicy details to savor. As he showed in his bestselling thriller Robopocalypse, Daniel H. Wilson can write. The Carnegie Mellon-trained roboticist has a voice and style very much like Stephen King. But unlike King, Wilson also has the chops to base the weird beings in his stories on hard science.”
Wired’s Geek Dad

“Entertaining . . . propulsive . . . Amped [is] a gripping story of a community of Amps trying to make it in the middle of a prejudiced Oklahoma, where regular humans strike back at anyone with a telltale port on their temple. A piece of trenchant political science fiction about how we mistreat those who are different.”
The Onion A.V. Club

Amped beckons back to the Civil Rights era, when the definition and rights of American citizens were called into question.”

“Wilson keeps the action and fear-based prejudice ever-present without sacrificing depth. The story’s heart is the moral quandary Owen faces once he knows his implant only responds to his deepest thoughts, keeping the reader wondering how far he will go and how much he is willing to sacrifice.”
Publishers Weekly

“Provocative . . . A thoughtful, well-written novel which deals with the often tense interplay between machines and humans. Wilson, whose prose is always a step above the norm, is at his strongest creating amp augmented action sequences and in conjuring situations which explore the boundaries between humankind and its technological creations.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Thrilling . . . First he gave us helpful advice for the robot uprising, then he wrote the robot war novel Robopocalypse. Now Daniel H. Wilson is turning his attention to the plight of cyborgs and posthumans with his dystopian new novel Amped.”

“Wilson’s newest novel, Amped, shares with its predecessor [Robopocalypse] a solid basis in current scientific technology—in this case, neural implants that treat a variety of conditions. Amped imagines a not-too-distant world, when these ‘superabled’ people—made stronger, smarter, faster by the devices in their heads—are perceived as a threat to unaltered or ‘pure’ humans.”
Tulsa World

“This is a terrific book on any number of levels, doing what sf has always been able to do best: showing us a possible future so that we can not only attempt to avoid it, but we can also look at its echoes as they already exist in our own time.” —The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

About the Author

Daniel H. Wilson is the author of the New York Times bestseller Robopocalypse and the nonfiction titles How to Survive a Robot Uprising, Where’s My Jetpack?, How to Build a Robot Army, The Mad Scientist Hall of Fame, and Bro-Jitsu: The Martial Art of Sibling Smackdown. He lives in Portland, Oregon.


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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (February 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030774549X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307745491
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (197 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #600,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Daniel H. Wilson was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and earned a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Tulsa. After earning a Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, he moved to Portland, Oregon where he has authored seven books.

You can visit his website at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Love VINE VOICE on April 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It's a quick read, but it won't be long until you realize it's a story you've heard's sort of like eating a rice cake. No real substance. It struck me as the sort of novel written for the sole purpose of being turned into a movie. Though unlike Robopocalypse, there's nothing remotely fresh about the premise of Amped. In fact, it's like reading a book about superheroes where you don't care about any of the superheroes.

Owen thought he was an ordinary guy who had an implant to control his epilepsy. After Owen's father's research is seized by the FBI, he learns he's not just an amp, he's a ~special snowflake~ super amp. He goes on the run, and thus begins his journey. The plot is fairly predictable and so is the premise. You've seen it in X-Men and every other movie/novel that pits superhumans against normals.

As far as the writing style is concerned, I didn't care for Owen Gray's voice. It's an awkward blend of narration and description, blended in a way that doesn't quite work. Descriptive in the way an author would think so it never jives with Owen's voice. As it's told in first-person point of view, it should've invested me more in his character. Instead, the novel relies heavily on the plot so character development is almost nonexistent, one of Wilson's major shortcomings.

Given the lack of character development, it should come as no surprise that the romance feels contrived. And it makes no sense that Owen somehow is better at combat than guys who were in the special forces. Oh wait, it does -- he's the self-insert Marty Stu protagonist. That would explain why we only ever learn a few things about him.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jane Easterly on October 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Wow. Amped by Daniel H. Wilson is a great and thought-provoking book. It hits the ground running and hardly pauses for breath.

The book opens with a twenty-nine-year-old math teacher perched on the roof of his high school, pleading with one of his students not to jump. It's some time not too far in the future. Medical implants called amps are in use throughout the world. At first, they were used to control epileptic seizures and artificial limbs. Then a government program brought them to children and others suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome and low IQs. The amps can assist with medical issues, but Neural Autofocus implants can also amplify intelligence.

The young woman on the roof has an amp and has lost a case before the Supreme Court, which declared that "implanted citizens are not a protected class." The math teacher has an amp too, but only to control his epilepsy. His amp is only for medical purposes. At least that what he's been told.

A quasi-religious group called Pure Pride and led by a charismatic senator arises, protesting the use of amps. Members of Echo Squad, a secret military organization with a special class of amps, are suspected of terrorism. Offices are bombed. Medical research is seized. People with amps are herded into ghettos and stripped of their rights.

Scattered throughout the book are fictional court cases referencing real ones (like Brown v. Board of Education), news updates from the BBC, CNN, and various real newspapers, acts of Congress, a recall notice from the Food and Drug Administration, and the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. These have the effect of making the book seem like a nonfiction memoir of real events rather than a novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jtk on March 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
If you're a fan of the modern sci-fi genre and not too terribly particular, Wilson's amp is a reasonably decent escape. The premise is not a too terribly unthinkable if unoriginal one. In the future, people are obtaining small implants in their temple, complete with a maintenance port, that help them overcome disabilities, physical or mental. These modifications for some however, provide superior mental and physical ability that those without implants find unnatural if not unfair. Discrimination and physical altercations grow between the "amps" and those without any modification, the latter resembling a sort of right-wing religious hysteria. The story builds towards an apocalyptic showdown between the two classes.

The protagonist, an amp who for most of his life believes his implant is to simply to overcome a debilitating physical condition learns from his scientist father, just before his untimely death, that he has something special and a little extra. The narrator/amp then sets out in search of discovering what is inside him, with the reader fully expectant that it will eventually be activated when the time comes and of course it does.

The story ascends as an ambitious "pure pride" senator and an equally determined, if not slightly unhinged, amp face off to reorder humanity in their image. The narrator plays his part, but how will he influence the eventual showdown?

The story moves along quickly, but it felt too rushed or incomplete at times, as if the author finished it to meet a deadline or get it out the door in time for the start of a movie production. Once it gets going it seems to miss some of the luster that might have made it a more thought-provoking human modification story it.

Amped is OK, but if this is your first time coming to the author, Robopocalypse is probably the better one to start with.
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