Author – Daniel H Wilson
Published – 2012
Genre – Science Fiction
This is the second fiction title by Wilson and was sent to me by the lovely folk at Simon & Schuster. As a big fan of his debut fiction title Robopocalypse I was looking forward to another sci-fi / thriller and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed.
Owen Gray has an implant. His implant is to control his epilepsy, but for others it could be to control their prosthetic limbs, help them see via retinal implants or just help those less able to concentrate, making them faster, smarter. But not everyone sees the advance of science as such a good thing, and resentment grows towards these amplified humans – or “Amps”.
The book opens at the moment when the US Supreme Court rules that Amps aren’t protected by the same laws as “Pure” humans. So they can’t have a job, own or rent a house, and “normal” people are quick to take advantage of this opportunity. The ruling creates a class of outcasts and soon groups of Amps begin to congregate together, believing there is safety in numbers, while at the same time the Pure Human Citizen’s Council rallies against the Amps.
Gray soon discovers that his is no ordinary implant and that the doctor who conducted the surgery (his father) may have used a device that can help him do a whole lot more than he ever imagined. Unfortunately an explosion prevents him finding out more and he has to make a run for it. His escape from the world he knows to the trailer park of Eden brings him into contact with Lyle Crosby, one of the few remaining elite Amped soldiers, who is being hunted by the police. Crosby, a violent and unpredictable man, seems to be the self-appointed leader of the Amp movement and Gray must to decide whether or not to become involved with Crosby and what, if anything, he should do to help Amps.
The book is certainly thought-provoking, touching on themes about the treatment of those who are different from ourselves, and brought to mind the behaviour of people post 9/11 with parallels to be drawn with the treatment of terror suspects in the US. As if that’s not enough there is also the issue of the power man may have to engineer “improvements” to the human body.
Don’t let this put you off! It is still a well-paced, engaging thriller, although there are some quite gory scenes. Unlike Robopocalype this sticks with just a single main plotline, and doesn’t suffer for it. I am a big fan of Wilson’s writing style and found this a very easy read that didn’t get bogged down in the detail of the science behind the fiction.
I’m looking forward to seeing what Wilson’s next offering will be!
Score – 4/5