Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Review - Human.4 by Mike A Lancaster

By: Mike A. Lancaster
ISBN: 978-1-60684-099-3
Published by: Egmont USA
Released in March 2011
232 pages


Think about your surroundings, where you live and everyone you know and love. Now picture them without you. They have no memory of you and it's as if you don't exist. How would you react or feel? 

That's how things appeared to Kyle in the little village of Millgrove. Everyone he knows is at the talent show, the one that the village holds annually, and he volunteers to be hypnotized by his friend Danny. Once he and three other people get hypnotized, everyone freezes. The four people walk around trying to figure out what happen. They turn on the computers, try to make calls but all of their technology isn't working. They leave and decide to check back on the frozen townspeople when suddenly everyone is moving again! Kyle meets back up with his parents, and suddenly everything is back to normal, or is it?

The Editor's Note and the Afterword will keep you guessing. Mike Lancaster weaves an intricate tale about Kyle Straker's recording of his experiences. I love how the book was written as if someone was actually transcribing a tape. The tape would cut off parts, and leave out certain words when switching sides! It added a whole other aspect to the book. Even after you finish the book, you'll catch yourself looking out of the corner of your eye, wondering if this book contains any truth.  I enjoyed this story. I finished it within three hours after picking it up. It's interesting that if you search for Human.4 in images, you'll come up with interesting t-shirts and phrases like "Less than Human". I find it fascinating how it relates to this book. 

Another aspect I really enjoyed, was how the author tied the book to things we read and watch everyday. A quote from the book, "It was like the old question that the film The Matrix was based upon: how can you tell if you're just a brain in a jar, experiencing a sophisticated virtual reality program that is flawless in its execution?"

Even though I don't believe in any of this stuff, it's fascinating to think about. Things like The Matrix and The Body Snatchers; thinking about life on other planets and such. The human mind could just wonder and theorize about these topics for hours.   Good science fiction are books that make you think about the world around you, and the world outside of your own.

It was a fairly short book, so I can't say much more without giving major plot points away, but just let me say that if this book was a reality....I don't know which side I would be on. The ignorant or the informed? When you read this book, let me know which side you'd be on!

(Just a side note, this book came out in the UK originally and the book title is 0.4 and I personally think the cover is cooler. The author also eludes to there being subtle differences in the books! I want to get my hand on a UK copy! :D)

About the Author (taken from the author's website):
Name:          Mike
Last Name:  Lancaster
Occupation: Author
Birth Place:  Huntingdon, Cambs 
Residence: Cambridge UK

The key to being a good writer is the ability to shift reality in whatever direction best serves the characters and the story. 

So . . . 

Mike Lancaster was born in a fold in time that allows past and present to mix like paints on a pallette. 

He was schooled by Plato, H P Lovecraft and Groucho Marx and dictated three of Shakespeare's plays to Kit Marlowe, but cannot remember which ones.

His parents were dead ringers for  Enid Blyton and Bela Lugosi, and they were strict vegetarian cannibals who made a living selling computers in Renaissance Italy. 

When he was nine-years-old, he discovered writing as a means of sealing shut dangerous holes in the space/time continuum. He still has no idea whether he is successful in this goal - or if he is only making things worse - but suspects the latter since a recently discovered photograph of Aristotle showed him wearing an iPod.

Contrary to popular belief he was not educated at Miskatonic University, he only taught there, briefly, before the whole shoggoth fiasco saw him fleeing to his ancestral pile in the Scottish highlands.

He is married, with three children, and does not keep winged monkeys in his cellar.

That's some other guy.

0.4 was dictated to him via timeskype by Kit Marlowe. Or it might have been Cleopatra. They sound very similar. 

Book Description from Amazon:
Kyle Straker volunteered to be hypnotized at the annual community talent show, expecting the same old lame amateur acts. But when he wakes up, his world will never be the same. Televisions and computers no longer work, but a strange language streams across their screens. Everyone’s behaving oddly. It’s as if Kyle doesn’t exit.

Is this nightmare a result of the hypnosis? Will Kyle wake up with a snap of fingers to roars of laughter? Or is this something much more sinister?

Narrated on a set of found cassette tapes at an unspecified point in the future, Human.4 is an absolutely chilling look at technology gone too far. 

1 comment:

  1. in comment to the title about how i will feel is obvious to most of us! i would be feel horrified, cheers for the nightmares though!


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