Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Passing for Human (Benaroya Chronicles) (Volume 1) Paperback – September 9, 2015
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
"A riproaringly magnificent time. Passing For Human is quite unlike anything anyone else has ever done." -Neil Gaiman
"The pace of the story never lets up, yet it finds room for serious contemplation of humanity's woes. The style is easy, with an edge of noir. The central character is a bit of a tough girl which, mixed with her naivety about humans, makes for an intriguing and likeable character. ..... The humour, pace, and wry observation make this a rare and wonderful beast - a serious science fiction novel that doesn't take itself seriously."
This satire was first published in 1977, but its biting commentary still registers strongly today. Aliens trained in Western pop culture disguise themselves as well-known figures and embark on two intersecting tasks: judging humankind's readiness to join the interstellar community, and searching for a ruthless criminal. Scott carries on the tradition of Mark Twain, using outside observers to remark on society. While the treatment of women is the primary focus, other targets include consumer culture and the general human willingness to be led by the nose by a charismatic figure. The narrative drags at times, but the speculative elements are well written and give a good sense of physical and cultural differences. A light touch keeps the moralizing from getting too ham-fisted, and this cautionary tale calling for a better world is a message needed now more than ever. (Mar.)
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
ByA customeron June 14, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the most original, brilliantly written novels I've ever read. I, Vampire, along with its prequel, Passing for Human, deserve to be discovered by readers everywhere. Jody Scott may be one of the wittiest writers of our century, and I am dying for her to write more.
To begin, I emphasize that while I attempted to categorize this piece, that's just to give you an idea of how it leans—to categorize this book is, in truth, no easy task. There's not another work quite like it. It's what I would call light reading, nothing terribly realistic or "hard" in the nature of its science, as is evident from the get-go, what with the fact that the narrator is an alien dolphin that can disguise itself in any number of human forms (specifically pop culture icons) to decide whether its race should embrace or annihilate the human species to best benefit the greater galactic community.
Alright, I know, genocide doesn't sound terribly funny, but bear in mind this is undertaken through the guises of Brenda Starr, Virginia Woolf, Emma Peel, and too many Richard Nixons for my liking. No one within the book questions this fact. It's ridiculous. There's also a criminal hunt underway, because at the same time there is naturally another sort of alien looking to use mankind for the forces of EVIL.
What I'm trying to say is this: the story's light—not displeasing, but light. It tap-tap-taps at the patronizing treatment of women and undulates with commercialist values, and I think if I had to choose a most haunting quality to Passing for Human it would be the fact of how prevalent those truths still are today, but the novel does stumble over itself at times.
Comedy is used to evade any soap box sense of moralizing, but it also overwrites some of the novel's potential as well. Plot isn't so much a driving force as an incidental, and absurdist jumps propel the book from one scene to the next with little exploration or elaboration on the what, why or how such works are often based upon. Likewise, there's no great character depth here—not that sort of novel—and suspension of belief is necessary, but its commentary on the human condition still has bite, and the light nature of the work at large should appeal to younger audiences and make an entertaining change from the dystopia driven lusts of modern fiction. There's nothing like convention here. There's no worry about being remotely grounded.
And that can be refreshing for the right audience. An escape.