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Human.4 Hardcover – March 8, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mike A. Lancaster lives in Cambridge, England with his wife and children.  Human.4 is his first novel for children.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA (March 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606840991
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606840993
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #675,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By SciFiChick VINE VOICE on March 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Fourteen-year-old Kyle Straker's story is told via outdated cassette tapes found in the distant future. At a local talent show, Kyle and three others are hypnotized. When they awaken, everyone else around them has changed. Telephones and computers don't work. Kyle missed humanity's upgrade, and now he's obsolete.

Told in a first person narrative through a recorded message, the story unfolds in an eerie and suspenseful way. Kyle is a sympathetic boy, willing to risk unknown danger to help others. As the truth of what really happened to everyone slowly unravels, we learn along with Kyle. With a zombie-like population, intense suspense continues to build throughout to a fun and satisfying conclusion. Fast-paced and a short read, my only complaint was that it was over so quickly. Geared towards young adults, the story has a definite feel of Invasion of the Body Snatchers that adult science fiction fans will enjoy as well. This thrilling debut was pure, creepy enjoyment from beginning to end.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Lisa P. Benwitz on March 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While I am an avid reader in most genres, I must admit that science fiction/dystopian fiction is rarely to my liking. Yet every now and again, a book comes along that intrigues and surprises me. Sometimes it's the cover, sometimes (as in this case) the synopsis. I read the few reviews here and was sufficiently intrigued to buy the Kindle vision, despite no warning for the spoilers. Surely people must realize that on this particular site, most people read the reviews *before* actually reading the book??? (Sorry, it's one of my pet peeves, as is reviewers summarizing the plot over and over and over...) Human.4 has turned out to be one of "those" books ~ the kind that stays with me long after I've finished it.

Human.4 was suspenseful from beginning to end, both surprising and heartbreaking in so many ways (I had more than a few lumps in my throat, and actually shed tears at the end). The author chose a unique way of telling the story-within-a-story (as a transcription of antiquated cassette tapes) that allowed him to leave many questions unanswered, yet not leave me frustrated about it. Somehow, it all seems to fit, and every reader will feel that he/she knows what decision Kyle and Lilly made in the end.

One POV is the transcriber from the Earth's future, who leaves several parenthetical notes at the ends of chapters and even during chapters, to explain things that a person from his time would not understand ~ a clever way of showing, rather than telling, how the future played out even past the events of Kyle's story. The other is Kyle himself, telling the story of the day he got hypnotized by his friend Danny at the village talent show, and woke up to a completely different world.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kate on March 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
HUMAN.4, by Mike A. Lancaster, is a thrilling documentary-style story about a teen and three others in his village whose lives are turned upside down after being under hypnosis. Lancaster created a story will linger in your mind long after Kyle's tapes have stopped.

I was absolutely blown away by this book and I clung to each word. I loved the structure of the book. It was a transcription of the tapes that Kyle recorded in the hopes of those listening would remember the few 0.4's left. I liked the little notes that the transcriber made in regards to phrases and words that were no longer relevant in the current world.

Lancaster's hypnotized characters were very special to me by the end. I felt like I was one of them in the fight to understand what the heck happened when they were hypnotized. The world they woke up to was definitely scary, which strengthened my connection with them. And even though it was such a small part, I am still a girl and I wanted Kyle and Lilly to kiss and make up. Their relationship was rocky from a previous indiscretion and what better time to make up for it when it seems you are the only two normal teens left!

I won't ruin the plot but for those who love science fiction, this book is definitely for you. Lancaster kept me in suspense until the very end and I was anxious to know what would happen to his characters who were left behind and seemingly unnoticed.

*Cover Note* Loved the cover. Definitely a significance in the book which steps up the creepy factor.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By I. Bryan on July 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'll be honest, I bought this book out of whim. I'd seen the cover (thought it was pretty cool), and read the sample on my kindle. After reading just the beginning, I knew I had to read the rest. Sometimes things hook you in, and this was the case here.

As we start out in this novel, we're implied that reading is an out-dated thing, no one does it anymore. We're also told that this story is told from tape-recordings by a boy named Kyle.

And these recordings start off with a festival... Where Kyle and three other villagers are hypnotized by his friend Danny.
When they wake up, they see something is terribly, terribly off.

Most of this story is spooky and suspenseful, the mood of the book drew me right in. Since the hypnosis event, I was forming answers in my head as to what had happened - I couldn't help it, it was a great mystery and the answers ended up being something entirely different from what I'd expected.

And like other reviewers have mentioned, this is definitely one of those books that leaves you wondering. What if this really happened? What would YOU do? I felt a bit of an eerie perspective settle on me after finishing.

Definitely a recommended read, even if you're like me who rarely delves into sci-fi. Only possible qualms were the size of the book, but the author wrapped things up neatly enough that it ended just fine anyhow.
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