I suspect that I'm just not using quite the right keywords, but somewhere in the 2010s (probably the early part), I read a science fiction novel about brain implants. They were a relatively new innovation, starting off as a therapeutic thing with them being used to control seizures and deal with other brain issues, but it's been discovered that it's fairly elementary to use them to increase processing speed, access databases, etc, and it's resulting in a social backlash where people with implants are being considered ineligible to compete with the non-augmented in contests, jobs, etc, and eventually legislation is passed that makes them considered less than fully human, and they start being relegated to what are essentially reservations (trailer parks that they can't leave) with bands of "upright citizens" in pickup trucks terrorizing them. The main character is a boy (mid-teenage, I think) whose father was one of the scientists who worked on the implants. He has an implant, but solely to control his seizures, with no additional ability, and finds himself lumped in with the rest of the world with implants.

Except, of course, it turns out that this is not the case, that he actually has a special sort of implant, courtesy of his father, that was intended as a secret government program to create super-soldiers. Once this gets unlocked, he finds himself unwillingly pulled into the role of leading a revolution as the implanted rise up to fight back, alongside others with special implants. Other than this, I have several scattered memories from the book:

  • The implants have a visible metallic bit on the skull, and I think before people started turning against the implants, there was a brief trend of teenagers wearing fake implant contacts glued to their head.
  • At one point, he gets pinned down by a guy who tries to pry the implant from his head (I believe it's while he's in the trailer park reservation) and I think it's in the course of a doctor trying to repair the damage (some wires get pulled out) that he unlocks the full capability of his implant.
  • Another kid isn't as lucky, and when their implant is forcibly removed, they suffer cerebral trauma, and I think eventually die of a brain bleed.
  • The member of the Resistance that recruits him has been working as a soldier for many years, and I think a point is made of how his years of experience, and increased familiarity with the implant, gives him an edge over the protagonist when they eventually come to blows.
  • One of the other members of the Resistance is a massive enhanced fighter on the underground circuits. I believe they're introduced fighting someone with blade prosthetics, who cuts them during the fight. They're considered an ultimate fighting machine, but I think that eventually, the protagonist has to take him out, and does so in an embarrassingly easy fashion.
  • At one point, the protagonist is meeting up with one of the other Resistance members in an abandoned house, and I remember a lot of dialogue about what his implant is telling him about the structure and how he might exploit it.
  • Eventually, the protagonist rebels against the Resistance, I think because he feels that they're just looking to take power after rising up. I don't remember how the book ends, whether the implanted gain their rights again.

I remember the cover being black with a symbol in white on the front, which may have looked like the Power Symbol, and the title being one word.

1 Answer 1


In the course of writing up the question, I did a few more searches, and came up with Amped by Daniel H. Wilson.

Front cover of Amped

In a near-future where the Neural-Autofocus and other neural implants made formerly mentally challenged individuals into equals or superiors to those with normal brain functionality, Owen is a high school teacher whose surgeon father helped develop the implants to control his epilepsy. When the United States Supreme Court rules that implanted individuals are no longer a protected class, Owen's life is changed forever, as he discovers that his implant has a very dangerous secret.

It seems I was wrong about the age of the protagonist and the color of the power symbol.

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