Suzanne's Reviews > Human.4

Human.4 by Mike A. Lancaster
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's review
Dec 18, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: peach-consideration
Read from December 10 to 12, 2011

Wanted to like it more. Wanted it to be "chilling" as its jacket flap advertises, but no such chills or thrills materialized.

Premise: what if we, like computers, can be auto-updated? What if a small percentage of people missed out on crucial system reboots and became a lower form of life all at once, in the blink of an eye? What if you got left behind while really you were still there all along?

That's what happens to Kyle and his crush and friend's girl Lilly when they and two adults from their small English village are hypnotized when everyone else gets zapped with bizarre changes. It's like everyone is a pod person, some kind of alien version of themselves; and the four have to cope with a world gone hostile and strange in an instant.

I like and dislike the narrative structure, which is in the format of transcripts and commentary on audio tapes Kyle left behind a few months after the switch, with footnotes about interpretations and analysis about what he says including explanation of pop culture references, indicating that the world has moved on and studies artifacts such as these with the scrutiny of historical curiosity . Kinda cool, right? But here's what I don't like about it: if the people who changes while Kyle and Lilly were in a hypnotic trance couldn't be bothered to even notice them beyond neutralizing them as a threat, why would they or their descendents care so much as to canonize the tapes of the experience, to regard them as important and fascinating? Some bits in the novel equate the differences in the more advanced humans as opposed to the earlier version as our interest in apes or neanderthals, so I can almost get that, but it just doesn't ring true to the vision Kyle paints of the people so altered.

Much better dystopias or techie-thrillers out there.
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