Amped, by Daniel H. Wilson, is a quick, fun read. In the near-future, brain implants are used to give veterans control of prosthetics and to treat mental deficiencies, but sometimes they make treated people too smart to be “fair” to normal people. Then there are military experiments to create super soldiers. With an underlying theme that people (especially when drunk) can be inspired to fear and attack their fellow citizens, the hero must stop a brewing civil war and save his friends.
Hard science fiction makes a reader say “This could really happen.”
Amped meets that goal. The technology seems at our finger tips today, and the way the characters land in their situation makes sense. Wilson ties the threads of the story together neatly at the end. I had a couple minor complaints. The motivation of a villain is revealed towards the end of the book, and I thought it was a little weak, or maybe just not explained well enough. Also at the end of the book, a character abandons the brain implant technology with no ill effects. I thought the story told me that couldn’t happen, so I wish it had been explained. Maybe stopping to explain would have slowed the pace, but – hey! This is hard science fiction. The “science” matters to me.
You should know
Violence, mostly people beating each other severely, including an attack on a child and a teen suicide.
Adult language, including much use of the f-bomb.
No sex; a little kissing.
Wilson has a background in robotics and I think I will look for some of his non-fiction books.