Thursday, January 24, 2013
Amped by Daniel H. Wilson
If you like: H+ The Digital Series * The Bourne Identity * technology
In Amped, humans have been supplementing themselves with technology. It began as a way to overcome maladies, both physical and mental. The implants could cure epilepsy, ADHD, or missing limbs. Before long, people installed elective implants to experience more of the world than they could naturally. Over time, the unimplanted began to fear those with the superior abilities. The regular people gained enough momentum that they stripped the amps of all their rights. Add in a little bit of conspiracy and you have a riveting story about what it means to evolve, and what makes a person human.
The treatment of the amps is appalling, yet it is entirely in line with human history. The long seated fear of difference continuously leads to the marginalization of the minority subset. Though each of us believes that we wouldn’t consider someone non-human for having a medical implant, it is also easy to understand the fear of the unknown. Wilson portrays this fine line deftly, and never makes the brutality of violence seem misplaced. Though modern technology is ubiquitous, it is nothing compared with the aptitudes the amps enable. People are so inherently afraid of change, especially of this magnitude, that the natural response is hate. At heart, every person with an amp or without, just wants to live a full life. Adding a piece of technology doesn’t strip away humanity, unless outsiders force it to.
The exclusion practiced by the regular people in Amped is analogous to the way most fervent issues are treated. Each side focuses so closely on what makes the other side different -- and wrong -- that they are unable to see how much they are the same. Rather than embracing the potential of combining different viewpoints to see a greater panorama of the world, niche groups believe they have the best view, and nothing else could compare. The limits this places on societies growth are astounding, no matter which issue is at hand. How many issues could be resolved if each side stepped back and thought about the human beings on the other side? Amped gladly illustrates this important lesson. It never backs away from the fear, fueled by hatred and rage, that is all too often misplaced by the uninformed. Before you judge another group remember that at heart you have more similarities than dissimilarities with them. Above all remember that you will never see the full picture until you have seen the view from the other side.
If you consent to the technology in your mind, read Amped.
Wilson, Daniel H. Amped. Doubleday, 2012. Kindle Edition.