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.