Research - Book review - Fiction - 'The Humans' / by Ally McGinn

The novel ‘The Humans’ by Matt Haig can be seen as a fictional version of De Duve’s alien anthropologist from ‘Kant After Duchamp’. In ‘The Humans’ an alien from an advanced species is sent to earth with only a biological and analytical impression of humanity - he takes the form of a human and takes a few of that human's memories (the ones they thought would be useful) and yet he finds himself in a world he doesn't understand. His journey through life as a human, including the plot involving a mathematician and knowledge humans aren't ready to know, is a beautiful perspective on humans and our view of the universe around us. The authors articulation of the human condition, and it's frankly insane assumptions is simply brilliant.

The Humans’ can also be described as a modern novelisation of Ambrose Biers ‘Devils Dictionary’ (also witty and insightful). I cannot recommend this book enough, it is poignant, well written, clever and, most impressively, it’s funny.

It is an entertaining and eye-opening read, and while fictional it is a brilliant example of the theories I have been exploring in a novel.

Read it and I dare you not to laugh and think.


Haig, M (2013) The Humans. UK: Canongate Books.