The Humans
Matt Haig

One dark, cold and windy night in Cambridge (England, not Massachusetts) the eminent mathematician Professor Andrew Martin (having been hit by a car and escaped from the ambulance) is found wandering the streets, naked as a new-born babe – but much larger. What happened? What was he doing out on the road like that? Where were his clothes? Why was he acting so oddly?

The short answer to all those questions was that although the man eventually picked up by the police looked like Professor Andrew Martin, and identified as Professor Andrew Martin, and was accepted by his unhappy wife and son as Professor Andrew Martin, he wasn’t that gentleman. He was an alien from an advanced civilization, sent on a difficult, dangerous and important mission. Sent to the planet Earth to prevent its dominant species - the primitive humans – from having proof of the Riemann Hypothesis. The Riemann Hypothesis in the hands of such an arrogant, greedy and violent species was like putting the nuclear button in the hands of an unstable three-year-old.

At first the alien from Vonnodoria finds everything strange and, well, alien – especially humans. They are all the things they’re said to be. They’re repulsive. Their food is repulsive. Their intellect is limited and their extrasensory powers non-existent. But here he is in Cambridge, with a wife, a son and a dog – wearing clothes and eating sandwiches. The longer he stays there, the more he learns about humans and their planet. And, slowly, the Voonodorian’s attitude begins to change.

Both funny and poignant, The Humans explores what it means to be human ­ and why, despite all the drawbacks, it can be a pretty good thing to be.

The Humans



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