The Humans by Matt Haig

Cover of The Humans by Matt HaigIn this edition of Book Talk we’re discussing The Humans by adult and young adult novelist Matt Haig. When Professor Andrew Martin solves the Riemann hypothesis, one of the world’s greatest mathematical problems, the inhabitants of planet Vonnadoria panic.

Fearing what warmongering, greedy humans will do with this mathematical knowledge, the Vonnadorians kidnap Martin and replace him with their very own man who fell to earth - an assassin masked in the Professor’s body. He's tasked with destroying all evidence of the discovery, including Martin's wife Isobel, son Gulliver and dog Newton. However, the alien assassin strays from his original mission and attempts to better understand humans.

Host Danny Scott is joined by fellow Earthlings Lynsey Rogers of the Scottish Book Trust and Leith librarian Colm Linnane to discuss the novel. Is Haig able to make the tried-and-tested sci-fi trope of an alien coming to Earth work and make it readable for sci-fi refusers? Can a book that has been as well reviewed as The Humans ever meet the expectations of readers? And what does the book say about what it is to be human in the 21st century?

The Humans was one of the books given away on this year’s World Book Night – if you were lucky enough to receive a copy, let us know! How well do you think the novel worked? Join the discussion by leaving a comment below, tweeting us @scottishbktrust or commenting on Facebook!


Discover more

Visit Matt Haig's website and follow him on Twitter

Advice for a Human from The Humans, as performed by readers of the book 

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BookTalk is produced by Colin Fraser of Culture Laser Productions.

Filed In: Book Talk Tags: fiction