The critically acclaimed author of The Radleys shares a clever, heartwarming, and darkly insightful novel about an alien who comes to Earth to save humans from themselves.When an extraterrestrial visitor arrives on Earth, his first impressions of the human species are less than positive. Taking the form of Professor Andrew Martin, a leading mathematician at Cambridge University, the visitor wants to complete his task and go back home, to the planet he comes from, and a utopian society of immortality and infinite knowledge.
He is disgusted by the way humans look, what they eat, the wars they witness on the news, and totally baffled by such concepts of love and family. But as time goes on, he starts to realize there may be more to this weird species than he has been led to believe. He drinks wine, reads Emily Dickinson, listens to Talking Heads, and begins to bond with the family he lives with, in disguise. In picking up the pieces of the professor's shattered personal life, the narrator sees hope and redemption in the humans' imperfections and begins to question the very mission that brought him there. A mission that involves not only thwarting human progress... but murder.
Praised by The New York Times as "a novelist of great seriousness and talent" author Matt Haig delivers an unlikely story about human nature and the joy found in the very messiness of life on Earth. The Humans is a funny, compulsively readable tale that playfully and movingly explores the ultimate subject - ourselves.
©2013 Matt Haig (P)2013 Simon & Schuster Audio
So you've seen it before: alien comes to Earth with preconceived notions of our planet only to be won over. In fact, at the beginning, even Mr. Haig's cleverness seems to be unable to pull you into the plot ("Come on," you say to yourself, "I've seen this movie a million times!")...but, ultimately, the cleverness draws you in. His observations (from the alien's point of view) are simply too funny (sometimes laugh out loud funny) -- even when they're painfully spot on. The alien is quite likable and convincing in his, well, humanness. The Humans might be nothing more than a light beach read (I actually did listen to most of it at the beach), but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am looking forward to Mr. Haig's next novel.
Mr. Meadows does an extremely good job capturing the alien's innocence and sense of wonder. A perfect choice for the narrator.
Best audiobook so far
Unusual story. I didn't want it to end.
Mark Meadows was brilliant. He nailed the characters and the tone of his voice was very pleasant. I will seek out more of his audiobooks.
It made me laugh and cry.
Please find more books like this.
Searching and discovering books in the slimmest demographic: adult males.
You may not be inspired and radically change your life after reading this one, but you won;t regret spending a credit on it.
The story is slightly above average at best, but the analytical process of a 'fish out of water' comes across as humorous and entertaining, and in the end, didn't disappoint.
My favorite so far and a far stretch from my preferred genre.
I liked the way the author makes the reader think about what type of human being he or she is, without getting bogged down in all of the things that divide us like religion, racism, sexism, act. Even an alien figured out those things should not matter.
The naiveness of the alien as he starts his new life on earth. There is something about the way it is read…these nuances would not have been as noticeable when reading the book.
The list of advice given to Oliver. I listened to it a couple of times.
Great book to listen too. I am not sure I would have finished reading the book (and I still enjoy turning pages).
Reading and listening goes straight into your medulla oblongota and you learn through thought memory. It's like being programmed into intelligence. If you read this, you just learned that the best gifts are free. Or One Credit... and that's kinda free.
Step by step talk of who we might be from the perspective of an alien who becomes..well....near human.
Great, shorter listen....stop and go chapter pace was different and odd. Albeit, in my opinion a good odd, but diary-oddness none the less.
Of What It Means to be Human: 1-100. A bit too many lessons to be learned. Funny and overall, entertaining and..... I wanted to keep going (unlike Pandora's Star!..). Missed the lesson of if you're not with the one you love, love the one you're with.
Of this new author I can say this. Talented and this was indeed creative. I see you penning a futuristic tale of survival and me.......us.........listening.
And as it turns out, being human is a preferable trait.
When I first read about this book, I was stoked, and the first part of the book didn't disappoint. It has the quirkiness of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the TV shows The Neighbors and 3rd Rock From the Sun, and similar setups. However, as the story progresses, it frankly shifts genre a little bit, and loses a lot of its appeal in the process. I finished it, and I'm overall glad I bought it, but truth be told I was waiting for it to be over at the end.
The audio books I get tend to be either 1) scifi or 2) things for my husband and me to listen to on long road trips--humor or history
Funny and scifi seldom go together, but when they do and it works, it is a wonderful thing. “The Humans” managed to make me laugh out loud, many times. The observations about the human condition were often spot-on, going beyond the trite to really make me think in a few cases. Overall, an enjoyable read that I think is particularly accessible to people who wouldn’t normally read scifi.
[I listened to this as an audio book read by Mark Meadows, who did a fantastic job. I think this is a case in which listening would be better than reading the book, because Mr. Meadows’ delivery added a lot to the droll nature of the humor.]
Too much description about someone/something coming into the human world, while at the same time incredibly knowledgeable. It didn't gel.
The narrator was saddled with a difficult story and did a great job.
I waited too long to listen to the book and couldn't return it.
Plenty of authors have used a visiting foreigner or visiting alien as a vehicle for the authors' opinions about their own societies; suggesting that a naive outsider would observe something or reach some opinion that the people in that society are too blind to notice might be more convincing than the author putting that observation in his own mouth. The Humans is basically in that vein and not the best at it. Not only is most of the "message" trite proverbs, capped by a numbered list of sayings seemingly made for pasting into Facebook e-cards, but there is a lot of overexplanation in the dialogue (even from human characters). The number of callouts of favorite poets and musicians is especially annoying. You never get a good sense of what the character knows or does not know at any given time about humans, speaking English, or the background of Andrew Martin - his awareness of these fluctuates wildly from scene to scene.
On the positive side, when it's aiming to be funny, it's usually very good, with many great jokes and asides (at the expense of the alien, the humans or both) especially early on when the narrator is most unfamiliar with Earth. The drama of the family at the center, setting aside the greeting-card fodder, really is a touching story; some of the choices aren't really believable given what we know of what the alien knows about humans, but
The voice was fine both as Andrew Martin and the other characters (the tone of The Hosts was particularly good). However, when Martin talks about the Drake equation (on the chance of discovering alien life) he reads variables like f-subscript-p (not a superscript) as "f to the power of p". Sure, this isn't a science book, but from an intergalactic math genius, impersonating one of Earth's great mathematicians and able to read his proofs, that's an embarrassing mistake.
Any of the cases which call out poets or musicians, except where that is truly important to the plot which is probably never. Since the introduction sets out that the book is written on Earth in English but for a Valmadorean audience (and this notion is reinforced by asides throughout) that name-dropping is even more grating than it is in books ostensibly written for human audiences.
author of books for teens and children
I enjoyed this imaginative, fast-paced novel in which an alien takes over the body of a British mathematician and develops feelings for and complicated relationships with the man's wife and son. It's a lot of fun as the alien learns about life on Earth, makes wry, sometimes painfully truthful observations about human beings, and starts to appreciate our world. It got a bit preachy at the end, but over all this is a really entertaining novel with depth.
Also, the narrator gave a lively, well acted performance.
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