The Humans is about a race of aliens who find out that a human mathematician has made a breakthrough with a mathematical problem that will lead to a vast jump in technology. This species of aliens has already solved this problem and live a life of utopia. There is no death or pain, there are no wars or illness.
However, they do not trust the human species to follow the same course. So, they abduct the mathematician, clone and kill him. They then send the narrator of this story down to earth to delete all traces of his breakthrough from the scientists computer, which is going to be difficult because although these aliens can clone our bodies and brains, they cannot clone what is stored in our brains, memories, and knowledge. So essentially our narrator is going in blind knowing nothing about us, our quirks and eccentricities, or even what a computer looks like.
We then find out that our narrator does not even want this job, and to be honest is not really qualified for it. It is in fact a punishment for blasphemous talk against mathematical purity. Anyway, instead of being teleported into the mathematician’s office he is teleported into the middle of the highway where he is subsequently hit by a car, and with this accident we are led into a wonderful narrative which will make you stop and think what it is to be, and what makes us, human.
At first the alien shares the views of his fellow Vonnadorians. That is that we are a race that is continually at war with itself, a race consumed with greed, hatred and violence. A race that is trapped in a never-ending circle of these emotions and acts. However, then he meets the wife and son of the mathematician and he discovers our greatest strength, love.
He starts to see what this human species is capable of within it’s fleeting, blink of an eye life span. He realises that what his species has attained may not be the utopia they believe it to be. They have no illness, no death, no violence. But it is precisely this lack of mortality, illness, violence, that leads to them not being able to appreciate life, art, nature, love, the way humans do.
At its heart this is a novel about love. As the novel progresses the alien slowly learns what it is to love, to be in love, the power of love. A force so powerful that he is willing to give up immortality and godlike powers to become a human. A life full of pain, hurt, sadness, loss, but also a life, though incredibly short, full of beauty, excitement, kindness, hope and love.
Make sure you read the author’s acknowledgement page at the end. Wonderful. 4.5 Stars!
Matt Haig was born in Sheffield, England in1975. He writes books for both adults and children, often blending the worlds of domestic reality and outright fantasy, with a quirky twist. His bestselling novels are translated into 28 languages. The Guardian has described his writing as 'delightfully weird' and the New York Times has called him 'a novelist of great talent' whose writing is 'funny, riveting and heartbreaking'. His novels for adults are The Last Family in England, narrated by a labrador and optioned for film by Brad Pitt; The Dead Fathers Club (2006), an update of Hamlet featuring an 11-year-old boy; The Possession of Mr Cave (2008), about a man obsessed with his daughter's safety, and The Radleys (2010) which won Channel 4's TV Book Club public vote and was shortlisted for a Galaxy National Book Award (UK). The film rights to all his adult novels have been sold.
There is a great little interview with Matt Haig here - https://more2read.com/review/interview-with-matt-haig/