Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Scifi The Happy Chip by Dennis Meredith @explainresearch

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The Happy Chip by Dennis Meredith


THE HAPPY CHIP by Dennis Meredith

3.5 stars

Freelance writer Brad Davis has been employed at no small cost by scientific genius Marty Fallon to write his autobiography.  Fallon is the inventor of ‘the Happy Chip’, a device injected into the body that works alongside an app to determine which products, sensations, sights and just about everything else give the individual the most pleasure; it’s the ultimate in the pursuit of happiness.  In order to qualify for his big pay day, Brad must have the chip inserted himself.  However, Brad is unaware that he has been given a new prototype that contains a GPS tracker, with more control afforded to NeoHappy, the company that produces the chip.

The idea of this story is most original, and also feasible; I imagine that if the Happy Chip hasn’t already been invented, it soon will be – and yes, I should think that if/when it is, millions will flock to use it, never suspecting that such a development can be used to control the mindset of the population.  It is so very sinister because it is plausible.

Brad is 50% a-bit-naïve-ordinary-guy and 50% sceptical investigative journalist.  After only a couple of days, he suspects he is not being given the full story, which bothers him not least of all because he is anxious to produce a credible biography.  He discovers that (surprise, surprise), the pleasure ratings of some products are tampered with to favour large corporations.

I was up and down about this book all the way through.  It’s a great premise, the plot is fairly well thought out, the pace is good, and the science/techno side is interesting and clearly well-researched, though I did feel it could do with a tighter edit.  There were a bit too many happy coincidences (like Brad just happening to have interviewed a magician who showed him how to escape when one’s adversary has bound one’s wrists with plastic zip ties).  Most characters talk in much the same way (for instance, every character prefaces sentences with ‘Jesus’ to denote emphasis or shock), aside from Lundgren, who is such a text book villian he practically twirls his moustache and laughs in a sinister fashion before delivering his body blows, and the cartoon-like Russian, Gregor Kalinsky.  But… Brad is likable and much of it is highly readable.  And I kept coming back to one thing ~ the basic story is right up my street, so I wanted to carry on reading to see what happened.

I think this would work well as a 24-type thriller series or a film, for which the viewer knows there will need to be a certain amount of belief-suspension; it didn’t quite tick my personal reading boxes, but I am sure it will be enjoyed by those who love plot-centred thrillers of this type.

Book description

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.

About the author

Dennis Meredith brings to his novels an expertise in science from his career as a science communicator at some of the country’s leading research universities, including MIT, Caltech, Cornell, Duke and the University of Wisconsin. He has worked with science journalists at all the nation’s major newspapers, magazines, and radio and TV networks and has written well over a thousand news releases and magazine articles on science and engineering over his career.

Dennis Meredith

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