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Amped (Vintage Contemporaries) Paperback – February 12, 2013

3.5 out of 5 stars 204 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

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”
—BoingBoing.net
 
“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.”
BookPage

“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.”
I09.com

“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 (204 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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 before...it'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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Some of the very best science fiction explores the unintended consequences of breakthroughs in technology, and not those that are merely fanciful but advances that can be seen years ahead by observers of contemporary science. Amped is such a book.

Amped ventures into the near future -- sometime around 2030, it seems -- to depict American society in upheaval over the brain implants installed in half a million of its least fortunate citizens. The implants "amplify" the brains of the elderly and infirm, accident victims, and those with severe mental illness and mental retardation, allowing them to focus clearly and to make the most efficient use possible of their bodies. These "amps" are smarter, quicker, and stronger than the average bear -- and the vast majority of Americans don't like it one bit. They're especially upset about the few amps who began with superior intelligence and outstanding physical abilities and have been turned into superbeings. Nobody likes a smartypants, it seems.

But this novel is not speculative nonfiction thinly disguised as fiction, with lame dialogue used to "explain" and cardboard characters created for the sole purpose of illustrating different points of view. Amped is, instead, a skillfully written novel of suspense that charges ahead with breakneck speed. In fact, the book can best be described as a thriller, with enough action, suspense, and plot twists to sate the desire of any Hollywood producer.

Amped's author, Daniel H. Wilson, sports a Ph.D. in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, which some consider the epicenter of the field. This is Wilson's seventh book. His previous works include Robopocalypse and How to Survive a Robot Uprising.
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I am not always a sci-fi reader, but this was recommended and I gladly put down all my sad memoirs and nonfiction books for a well-deserved break. This book had me hooked from the beginning and kept me on the line the entire read!

Summary for people like me (No spoilers) -
Main character (Owen) is a high school teacher. He has a device to control his epilepsy. Implanting "amp" devices is common practice in the future. In fact, Owen is one of the few people who got the device purely for need. The government was practicing giving "amps" to all underprivileged children to make them smarter and competitive in schools/jobmarket/etc. Soon Owen finds out that lobbyists are trying to take away the rights of "Amps," as people with devices like this are called, and round them up, lock them up, Holocaust-era stuff. Owen also finds out that his device isn't like any others and is military grade, so he must step up and become a hero. I'm sure you can find a better synopsis elsewhere in the reviews.
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The author has created a compelling vision of a near-future U.S. complete with ghetto-isation of individuals who have received medical implants for things like seizure disorders. In this future, those people have small, nubbin like nodes on their temple. The sweeping national hysteria and growing prejudice reminded me of Nazi Germany.
The book was compelling for me as it presented a clearly not-quite impossible future for our nation. It is science fiction at its best.
Wilsons descriptive authorship makes you feel the grime he describes in ghettos and compelled me to finish the book in 2 days, then re-read it.
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