When Kyle Straker volunteers to be hypnotized at the annual Millgrove talent show, he expected the usual amateur act – perhaps slight embarrassment from being made to act like a chicken, but nothing more than that. What he wakes up to, though, is a nightmare. Cars and televisions no longer work, townspeople communicate in a strange language, but worst of all, people simply pass by Kyle as if he does not exist.
In an attempt to discover what caused this monumental shift, Kyle teams up with the three other hapless volunteers in order to survive the strange new world they have found themselves in. However, the more they investigate, the more danger they find themselves in as they eventually realize that there is more than just their lives at stake, but also their way of life.
The novel is told through a series of cassette tapes that have subsequently become a historical artifact called the Straker Tapes. Mike Lancaster assumes the position of the historian with editor’s notes to explain parts of the story that would not make sense to the evolved human, which adds both humor and horror to the story. For example, he goes into great detail describing mouths, which, though amusing to the reader, inevitably implies that the future humans depicted in the novel do not have any and are therefore superior, emphasizing the oddness of the new world Kyle and his friends find themselves in.
Overall, I enjoyed Human.4 by Mike Lancaster because it was a unique premise I had never read or considered before. While it is not a conventional dystopian novel, I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys them for a new take on the genre.
– Mahak M.