Page 10 - Jupiter Spotlight - July '18
P. 10

Page 10, Jupiter Spotlight
      Book Review

      The Humans                                         that such advanced knowledge in                                      first problem is to overcome his
                                                         the hands of a society as backward                                   repulsion at the sight of the human
      By Nils A. Shapiro                                 and uncivilized as that on Earth                                     form, which he must then take
        This past February I                             is a danger  to itself  and  to the                                  on himself, and use his superior
      read, and reviewed in this                         rest of the solar system. So they                                    powers to gain Martin’s memory,
      column, a book,  How to                            send one messenger to Earth                                          learn the slow, technologically
      Stop Time,  that I  enjoyed                        with a single mission: to destroy                                    limited human ways and, most
      enormously and considered                          Andrew Martin and anyone else                                        important of all, discover for
      one of the most imaginative                        who may know of the discovery,                                       himself  –  often  in  contradiction
      and enthralling novels I                           and eliminate any proof of it. For a                                 to what his home planet believes
      had read in a very long                            Vonnadorian, that trip across such                                   about Earth and its species – what
      time. It told the story of a                       vast space takes but an instant.                                     it means to be a human.
      450-year-old man, a history                          The book,  The Humans, is                                            And that is the very heart of
      teacher in London, who –                           narrated entirely as a report in the                                 this book: Matt Haig has written a
      as one of a group of individuals around the world with a   first person by the Vonnadorian                              paean to humankind, a novel that
      rare condition whose bodies aged at only one-fifteenth   messenger sent on that mission,                                is intended to show, by a discovery
      the rate of normal people – was forced to change his   who must first kill Professor                                    as seen through alien eyes, the
      name and identity and move to another part of the world   Andrew Martin, then, disguised                                beauty and worthiness that is
      every seven years, because by then those around him   in human form, take his place,                                    in our world and in ourselves if
      would begin to notice the strange fact that his appearance   including entering his family                              we know how to see. And, in the
      wasn’t changing. Such people belonged to a secret society   with wife and 16-year-old son,                              final analysis, once he has been
      that protected them by destroying anyone who aroused   and complete that mission.                                       among humans, the Vonnadarian
      suspicion or threatened to expose them. The only rule   Between chapters there is often                                 messenger must make a critical
      that guided their lives was that such people must never   a communication between                                       decision about his own mission.
      fall in love, for that would lead to their destruction. A   the messenger and his home                                    For you, the decision is an easy
      history teacher was his ideal profession, for he had lived   planet,  reporting on the progress of his mission; such   one: Get this book now. You will want to share it with
      through many of the events he discussed, having actually   communications are printed in a different type font to   others, but when you do be sure that it is returned to you
      worked in Shakespeare’s theater, for example.      distinguish them from the rest of the text.       because that chapter, “Advice for a Human” is a “feel
        So when the reviewers who highly praised that book     After explaining the mathematical, emotionless   good” one you will treasure and want to refer to many
      noted that its author, Matt Haig, had earlier written what   perfection of life on his home planet, the messenger’s   times in the future.
      they referred to as “an even better novel,” I made it a
      point to put that one on my must-read list. And I have
      just turned the final page of Matt Haig’s The Humans.                      pickupS FOR AuTiSM ...
        Whether The Humans is better than, or just as good as,
      How to Stop Time, is not important. What does matter is                                                        ... and Related Disabilities
      that The Humans is another impressively original concept,
      even more ambitious in purpose, and as thoroughly
      absorbing a read as the first book I enjoyed by this
      author ... and that is saying a great deal. Despite my very
      busy schedule, I finished reading the 280 pages of the         GOT cluTTeR?                                            DOnATe YOuR
      paperback edition of The Humans in three sittings!
        I have to credit the author’s writing style for the fact                                                               GenTlY uSeD
      that I simply could not put the book down each time I
      started reading. There are a total of 81 chapters in these                                                                             iTeMS
      280 pages, which means that each chapter averages only
      3 1/2 pages, with such wide-ranging titles as “The Man                                                                     Call us now
      I Was Not,” “Dead Cows,” “A Few Seconds of Silence                                                                 for a free piCkup
      Over Breakfast,” “The Dog and the Music,” “Crunchy
      Wholenut Peanut Butter,” “Heaven Is a Place Where                                                                   561-361-0032
      Nothing Ever Happens,” and “Advice for a Human.” Matt
      Haig writes in a style that is so fast-paced, so interesting,                                             
      that when one brief chapter ends you simply cannot help
      but want to find out what happens next … and so you                                                                     1.888.9.pickup
      keep turning the pages.
        To me, the seven-page chapter devoted to a list of
      97 points of “Advice for a Human” are alone worth the
      price of this book. To understand the significance of that
      chapter, you have to know what the book is about.
        Professor  Andrew Martin, a mathematician at
      Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University in England,
      has solved the Riemann Hypothesis, until now the most
      important unsolved problem in the history of mathematics.                                                                     All Donations are Tax Deductible
      This revolutionizes applications of mathematical analysis                                                                    Certificates of Insurance Available
      in ways that would transform our lives and those of future
        But news of this has reached Vonnadoria, a planet many   Clothing • Linens • Furniture • Jewelry • Art • Toys • Household Goods
      galaxies away from Earth’s. And the Vonnadorians realize
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