The Humans: An Extract


The book isn’t out till May, but I thought it only fair to give you a short taster too. I never know which bit of a book to choose. I am always pretty sure, when doing a reading, I choose the wrong bit.  In this case I have plumped for the very first page of the book. Which may well be the wrong bit, but at least there is a logic to it.

(Hope you like it. Don’t throw things.) If you like it you have four options. You can either write your own version of what happens next, or buy the book when it comes out or pre-order it now or not do any of those things.

Okay, deep breath, nervous reading voice….

An illogical hope in the face of overwhelming adversity

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 lifeform of mid-range intelligence, living a largely deluded existence on a small waterlogged planet in a very lonely corner of the universe.

For the rest of you, and those who sent me, humans are in many respects exactly as strange as you would expect them to be. Certainly it is true that on a first sighting you would be appalled by their physical appearance.

Their faces alone contain all manner of hideous curiosities. A protuberant central nose, thin-skinned lips, primitive external auditory organs known as ‘ears’, tiny eyes and unfathomably pointless eyebrows. All of which take a long time to mentally absorb and accept.

The manners and social customs too are a baffling enigma at first. Their conversation topics are very rarely the things they want to be talking about, and I could write ninety-seven books on body shame and clothing etiquette before you would get even close to understanding them.

Oh, and let’s not forget The Things They Do To Make Them Happy Which Actually Make Them Miserable. This is an infinite list. It includes – shopping, watching TV, taking the better job, getting the bigger house, writing a semi-autobiographical novel, educating their young, making their skin look mildly less old, and a vague desire to believe there might be a meaning to it all.

Yes, it is all very amusing, in a painful kind of way. But I have discovered human poetry, while on Earth. One of these poets, the very best one (her name was Emily Dickinson), said this: ‘I dwell in possibility.’ So let us humour ourselves and do the same. Let us open our minds entirely, for what you are about to read will need every prejudice you may have to stand aside in the name of understanding.

And let us consider this: what if there actually is a meaning to human life? And what if  – humour me – life on earth is something not just to fear and ridicule but also cherish? What then?

Some of you may know what I have done by now, but none of you know the reason. This document, this guide, this account – call it what you will – will make everything clear. I plead with you to read this book without prejudice, and to work out for yourself the true value of human life.

Let there be peace.