First, my science fiction book club selected Amped as the book to read this week. Dan Wilson also wrote Robopocalypse, which made the New York Times Best seller list. He’ll be coming out with sequel, RoboGenesis, in 2014.
He’s a young writer with a promising future and came to talk personally to our group…old school marketing style. His credentials are strong as he has a Phd in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University and consulted with several professors on how such a device would work. He said that Random House is his publisher and really got behind him with a strong marketing campaign to get his book out there.
I would say, it worked. Color me green.
The book is about a device implanted in the brain that increases intelligence, motor function and overall performance. In Amped, the device is implanted into the handicapped and lower class person, setting up discrimination against those “Amped.”
Already, we have many devices implanted in the brain to augment deficits…cochlear implants being one, Parkinson aids, pacemakers, and others. I actually know people who have each of these right now. So, the idea is not too far future.
There is the flavor of Flowers for Algernon and a bit of Slan, except technology is used instead of chemicals or genetics to elevate performance.
Needless to say, a class war ensues and Wilson brings in some weighty questions as to who should be augmented and how the ordinary Joe will react to those chosen to be augmented into superior beings.
A lot of politics and back room maneuvering for power develops. Events turn nasty…and he starts with a suicide.
However, what I found interesting was that to get the book, I went online to my local library, and downloaded the story. Thrifty person that I am, it cost nothing, and I didn’t even leave my chair. I used an app called Overdrive that made it easy.
Even for a techno idiot like me.
Then, last week I went to a seminar put on by Kobo, which is an ebook seller worldwide in over 150 countries. They are partnering with independent bookstores to put in QRcards for ebooks.
Jan’s Paperbacks, an independent local bookstore, hosted the event and over eighteen area authors came to greet their readers and swirl carousels to distribute cards with their cover and a QR code on the back. The cards took you to Kobo where you could download the book for free. The idea is to offer a free book in order to get your name out there and entice readers into other books you have written.
However, some books cost…and I bought a card for DIY Publishing for $9.99 and went online to Dropcards.com to download it through an access code found on the back of the card. Worked quite well.
So we have both libraries and brick and mortar bookstores offering Ebooks, some free and some at a good price.
A final note to the awesome Peter at Powell’s Bookstore in Cedar Hills Crossing, Beaverton. The reading group just celebrated their tenth year, and Peter has worked with the group offering sample books, helping us pick out available authors and generally existing as a font of science fiction knowledge. Thanks for all your help. Ten years for a reading group to stay together is amazing.
Leah Day and John Bunnell are part of the reason why.
Leah has over 27,000 books in her home and contains an incredible knowledge of science fiction. John remembers esoteric details of all things science fiction and is also amazing.
Thanks to everyone for all your hard work in keeping this group going.