Dennis Meredith: The Happy Chip

Cover: Happy Chip

Cover: Happy Chip

THE HAPPY CHIP
Dennis Meredith
Glyphus LLC, April 25, 2017, print: $16.95, ebook: $2.99
ISBN-10: 1939118220; ISBN-13: 978-1939118226
Ebook: 9781939118202

Meredith reports:

The idea for The Happy Chip sneaked up on me. I realized that companies were becoming ever more sophisticated — and intrusive — at monitoring my every decision, my every whim. Google knew my web searches; Amazon knew my shopping interests; Facebook knew who my friends were.

So, I wondered, what if a company, NeoHappy, Inc., took such data-grabbing to an extreme? What if it created a nanochip that people could have implanted in their body that would tell them — by measuring their hormones and physiological responses — exactly how much they were enjoying a particular product, experience, or person?

The Happy Chip would guide them to the best products, the best life choices, even the best significant others. And the chip would feed that data to a Happy Ratings database — a sort of super-Yelp — that would offer subscribers ratings of every product and service.

Dennis Meredith

Dennis Meredith

From that initial idea, The Happy Chip evolved into a high-tech thriller, in which a nefarious company executive and his engineer henchman develop a chip that not only monitors people, but controls them. The new chips can produce absolute elation, but also suicidal depression, uncontrollable lust, murderous rage, and remote-controlled death.

Battling the rogue executive is the intrepid science-writer hero (an NASW member, of course!), his indomitable wife, and a slightly disreputable Russian white-hat hacker and his gang. Their quest takes them from Boston to Beijing, as they try to stop the villains and the Chinese government from developing and spreading the chip technology to subjugate whole populations. How does it end? I’ll just say that the climax is a grabber!

We’re self-publishing and marketing our novels — so far a labor of love, not money. The typical road to critical and financial success in the crowded fiction publishing market is to keep producing good books, promote like crazy, and build a fan base. The process can take many years and many books, and is basically a crap shoot. Fortunately, my wife Joni has become a social-media-marketing maven — joining Goodreads book clubs, compiling blog contacts, soliciting reviews, and tweeting as @scifinov.

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