The Humans

The Humans - Matt Haig Professor Andrew Martin has just solved the Riemann Hypothesis; the equation that mathematicians deemed impossible to solve. Because having the answer to this hypothesis would alter human life as we know it alarms were set off throughout the universe and the Vonnadorians quickly sent a “hit-alien” to eliminate not only Professor Martin but also any human with whom he may have shared his discovery. Our unnamed visitor arrives in the form of Professor Martin (who the reader learns has been eliminated) and begins his quest. Not as easy as it seems, especially when our unnamed visitor begins to understand more about lowly humans … things he didn’t understand from swallowing a few travelogue capsules of information back home.

When a book starts off with “I know that some of you reading this are convinced humans are a myth, but I am here to state that they do actually exist. For those that don’t know, a human is a real bipedal life form of mid-range intelligence … for the rest of you, and those who sent me, humans are in many respects exactly as strange as you would expect them to be. Certainly it is true that on first sighting you would be appalled by their physical appearance”, as a reader you know you are going to be in for an interesting journey.

When I picked this book up I expected it to be cute. It was. But it was also so much more; an interesting commentary on relationships of all kinds, humorous insights on the “human race”, some poignant moments of family life and a look at what it means to have friends and to love. I love it when a little book can surprise and enthrall in this way.

Some tempting tidbits from our unnamed alien friend …

“A cow is an Earth-dwelling animal...which humans treat as a one-stop shop for food, liquid refreshment, fertilizer and designer footwear”

“Love is what humans are all about but they don’t understand it. All I know is that it’s a frightening thing. And humans are very frightened of it, which is why they have quiz shows. To take their mind off it and think of something else”

“Peanut butter sandwiches go perfectly well with a glass of white wine. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise”

“Don’t bother going into space until you can leave the solar system. Then go to Zabii”

“Alcohol in the evening is very enjoyable. Hangovers in the morning are very unpleasant. At some point you have to choose; evenings or mornings”

“Start fires. But only metaphorically. Unless you are cold and it’s a safe setting. In which case; start fires”

“Leonardo da Vinci was not one of you. He was one of us”

I would not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone. Although two totally different types of books in many ways my reaction to this book reminded me of “Ella Minnow Pea” by Mark Dunn. Another big surprise in a little package.