The Humans (Matt Haig)

Alien mathematician takes over the body of human mathematician with the intent of destroying evidence of a mathematical theory. Alien-as-human finds humans disgusting and baffling, but grows to like Newton the dog.

The Humans by Matt Haig is a hilariously critical satire of a social commentary, because thinking about it, society really makes no sense at all! The alien that takes over mathematical genius Andrew is baffled by everything from clothes to greetings – maybe the hosts should have given him a crash course in Human before beaming him to Earth. He wanders around naked for a bit, gets more and more confused. Understandable really. Andrew had a wife and son, in a family teetering on collapse and the alien that takes over his body hasn’t a clue about anything. It is hilarious, and heart-warming, and thought provoking all wrapped up in a sci-fi.

to me, this book is about understanding love, and humanity, and family – it’s about things that don’t make sense and things that do. It was highly entertaining, and incredibly satirical, narrated by an alien who has been on Earth a while, but is talking about when he first arrived in a human body on Earth and the confusion. I liked how it involved lines like ‘I know now this is a road’ but it explains seemingly ordinary things in fascinating detail, which just seems to highlight how bizarre it actually is! This book reminded me a little of Douglas Adams A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: It’s kind of an inverse of that – in Hitchhikers, a human ends up in space where nothing makes sense. In The Humans, and alien ends up on Earth and nothing makes sense in an entertaining way. There were slow sections, and there were some jokes that felt a little flat, but in general, kudos.

Although the premise is sci-fi, and really it’s about alien abduction so Sci-Fi it is, The Humans is sci-fi/fantasy/romance/comedy and I recommend it even if you aren’t usually a fan of sci fi. I picked this up off the share shelf at work because I had heard it was a good read. I am looking forward to putting it back on the shelf so someone else can enjoy the commentary inside! And while I’m not going to go out and buy up all the Matt Haig books, if another one passes me by in the library or through the share shelf, I am looking forward to seeing what else he has to offer.

Bea

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