The Happy Chip

The Happy Chip Book Cover The Happy Chip
Dennis Meredith
Sci-fi
Glyphus
March 10, 2017
Paperback
283

You feel ecstatic! Until you kill yourself.

The Happy Chip is the latest nanoengineering wonder from the high-flying tech company, NeoHappy, Inc.

Hundreds of millions of people have had the revolutionary chip injected into their bodies to monitor their hormonal happiness and guide them to life choices, from foods to sex partners.

Given the nanochip's stunning success, struggling science writer Brad Davis is thrilled when he is hired to co-author the biography of its inventor, billionaire tech genius Marty Fallon.

That is, until Davis learns that rogue company scientists are secretly testing horrifying new control chips with “side effects”—suicidal depression, uncontrollable lust, murderous rage, remote-controlled death, and ultimately, global subjugation.

His discovery threatens not only his life, but that of his wife Annie and their children. Only with the help of Russian master hacker Gregor Kalinsky and his gang can they hope to survive the perilous adventure that takes them from Boston to Beijing.

The Happy Chip, an edge-of-your-seat thriller, spins a cautionary tale of unchecked nanotechnology spawning insidious devices that could enslave us. It dramatically portrays how we must control our “nanofuture” before it’s too late.

 

The Happy Chip was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

The premise of The Happy Chip is a not uncommon type of sci-fi story. New technology is introduced into society, seems great, then something goes horribly wrong. This is one of those sci-fi stories that seems like it could actually happen sometime in the near future. It is just enough of a stretch to be purely fictional, but still believable. Think more along the lines of Jurassic Park than Star Wars when viewing this book as sci-fi. That being said, it was a pretty good read.

First off we have the technology that fuels the story, the Happy Chips. These are injected into people’s bodies and, through a phone app, allow you to monitor your hormone levels. This lets you essentially measure your happiness to find more interesting hobbies, try foods you will probably like better, etc. And that is where it starts to go horribly wrong. With the 2.0 chips, the villain of our story plans not only to monitor hormones but to control them. While this premise is not too crazy, it shows how much power a person with leverage can wield over others.

So next we have our characters, starting with protagonist Brad Davis. He is a freelance writer hired to write the biography of the Happy Chips’ inventor, Marty Fallon. As he begins his research, he discovers the evil plot and his family is put in danger. Brad was almost too much of a good guy, as was his wife. At first they are fighting to protect themselves and their children but once we are past that they keep going. They do this because it is the right thing to do, but it feels like normal people in their situation would have said, “Ok, we’ve done enough,” by that point.

Then we have the villain of the story, who I will not expressly reveal for spoiler reasons. When first introduced, this character just seems like a jerk. Not necessarily a bad person but not a very nice one. That completely flips around once the threat is revealed and this person goes from “scumbag” to “irredeemably evil”. Politician-level evil, if you will. And then there is the “sidekick” Gregor Kalinsky. It almost felt like Gregor could have been the main character. Brad got the ball rolling on this adventure but Gregor was largely the person who got things done by the end of it.

Overall, The Happy Chip was a fun read. While the rating system only gives me whole numbers, I really think of this book as 3.5-stars. It is a good little summer read for folks who like a quick but entertaining sci-fi story.

August 20, 2017

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