Skip to:Bottom
Cover image for The humans
The humans
Haig, Matt, 1975-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [2013]
Physical Description:
[xiii], 282 pages ; 24 cm
Regarding humans unfavorably upon arriving on Earth, a reluctant extraterrestrial assumes the identity of a Cambridge mathematician before realizing that there's more to the human race than he suspected.
General Note:
"A novel"--Jacket.

"Originally published in Great Britain in 2013 by Canongate Books"--Title page verso.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Kenmore Library FICTION Adult Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy
Central Library FICTION Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Science Fiction/Fantasy
Central Library FICTION Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Science Fiction/Fantasy
Clarence Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Eggertsville-Snyder Library FICTION Adult Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy
Lancaster Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Marilla Free Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Audubon Library FICTION Adult Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy
Crane Branch Library FICTION Adult Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy
Kenilworth Library FICTION Adult Fiction New Materials
North Park Branch Library FICTION Adult Fiction New Materials
Niagara Branch Library FICTION Adult Fiction New Materials
Orchard Park Library FICTION Adult Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy

On Order



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.

"I know that some of you reading this are convinced humans are a myth, but I am here to state that they do actually exist. For those that don't know, a human is a real bipedal life form of midrange intelligence, living a largely deluded existence on a small waterlogged planet in a very lonely corner of the universe."

The bestselling, award-winning author of The Radleys is back with what may be his best, funniest, and most devastating dark comedy yet. 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 prominent mathematician at Cambridge University, the visitor is eager to complete the gruesome task assigned him and hurry back home to the utopian world of his own planet, where everyone enjoys immortality and infinite knowledge.

He is disgusted by the way humans look, what they eat, their capacity for murder and war, and is equally baffled by the 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. Disguised as Martin, he drinks wine, reads poetry, develops an ear for rock music and a taste for peanut butter. Slowly, unexpectedly, he forges bonds with Martin's family, and in picking up the pieces of the professor's shattered personal life, he begins to see hope and beauty in the humans' imperfections and begins to question the mission that brought him there.

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 messiness of life on Earth. The Humans is a funny, compulsively readable tale that playfully and movingly explores the ultimate subject--ourselves.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The alien comes to Earth from Vonnadoria, an almost incomprehensibly advanced world; he comes with a sinister purpose, both to destroy and to collect information, hoping to rob human beings of their future. Assuming the person of Professor Andrew Martin, a celebrated mathematician who has made a dangerous discovery, he sets coldly and calculatedly to work. But there is a problem: though disgusted at first by humans, whom he regards as motivated only by violence and greed, he gradually comes to understand that humans are more complex than that, and, most dangerous to his mission, he discovers music, poetry, and . . . love. Becoming increasingly sympathetic to humans, he will ultimately do the unthinkable. The ever-imaginative Haig The Dead Fathers Club (2007), The Radleys (2010) has created an extraordinary alien sensibility and, though writing with a serious purpose (the future is at stake), has great good fun with the being's various eyebrow-raising blunders as he struggles to emulate human behavior. Haig strikes exactly the right tone of bemusement, discovery, and wonder in creating what is ultimately a sweet-spirited celebration of humanity and the trials and triumphs of being human. The result is a thought-provoking, compulsively readable delight.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 1859, German mathematician Bernard Riemann put forth a hypothesis that prime numbers have a pattern. In 2012, an unnamed alien is sent to Earth to ensure the hypothesis is never proven. The Vonnadorians wish to prevent humans from gaining knowledge before they are psychologically prepared for the advancements that would ensue. The invader inhabits the body of Andrew Martin, the arrogant and selfish mathematician who discovered the proof to Riemann's hypothesis; at first disgusted and confused by his human shell, the alien is eventually transformed, and the more time he spends with Andrew's wife and son, the more he comes to doubt his mission. Haig (The Radleys) creates a delightful sense of displacement in "Andrew" and draws the reader into the experiences that make us human, ugly, wonderful, and mundane by turns. While at times the novel is sentimental, the wonder and humor with which the protagonist approaches life, and the many emotions and discoveries he experiences, are worth getting a bit weepy over. Agent: Andrea Joyce, Canongate. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Britain's Haig (The Radleys) makes his living at the intersection of speculative fiction, humor, and literary fiction. This time he brings readers the tale of an alien visitor from a collective society (think Star Trek's Borg) sent to Earth in the guise of Cambridge mathematician Andrew Martin, who has just made a breakthrough. His mission is to maintain the greater good by preventing the discovery from spreading and giving power to the violent and illogical human race, even if it means killing the mathematician's family. From the moment he arrives, naked and barely able to pass as human, the alien makes a funny fish out of water.and a better husband and father than the self-absorbed man he has replaced. What's he to do if he decides he can't kill them? VERDICT The protagonist's genuine joy in discovering the good things the unstable human race has produced-peanut butter, Emily Dickinson, Australian wine, the Beach Boys, dogs, and love, to name a few-is contagious. Readers of all stripes will find the results quick-paced, touching, and hilarious. [See Prepub Alert, 1/25/13.]-Neil Hollands, Williamsburg Regional Lib., VA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Google Preview

Go to:Top of Page