What does it mean to be human? Is it merely to be made up of flesh and bone? Is it the structure of our DNA? Is having a soul what makes us human? Or is it more than that? Perhaps it is our actions? No matter how you answer, there is some way that one can dispute your answer. Isn’t an evil person human? Do they have the correct DNA? Aren’t they made up of flesh and bone? A stone cold killer can be classified as human, although their actions might say otherwise….
Here we have the future. A world where continents can be visited within seconds…even the moon within hours. Boundaries between places that we know now are smaller and less apparent. It is a world that is now made easier by the help of Echoes. More or less computers made of flesh and bone that are there to look like humans….perform as humans….teach humans….do the work of humans….look after the young of humans….protect the humans….but to never, ever, be human. They are highly intelligent. They excel at whatever they are programmed to do….but they will never have the emotional capacity that humans possess.
Or can they?
Here we can have a look at the path that we are currently heading down….One where we (the human race) are able to jump into a pod and be transported to our love ones in a blink of an eye. One where we communicate more by machines than by touch. One where we can learn everything we *need* to know without ever really leaving our homes. Ones that although the boundaries of the past seem nonexistent, they are in fact even greater….
You might wonder what I mean by that….but look at your grandparents. How hard would it had been for them to facetime with someone in another country? How many friends did they talk to daily from foreign countries?
Now stop and think….makes you think that we’ve come a long way, eh? But wait……those same grandparents….did they spend hours a day locked inside their houses? Glued to their phones? Worried about the latest technology? Or did they truly interact with others? Did they learn about life virtually or by reality? How are you and the younger generation learning such things today?
It really gives you something to think about, doesn’t it?
Now back to what makes us human…..
This novel will give you much to ponder here….
Some of the humans portrayed have no real value of other human life….They are not thoughtful of other humans…..some of them, really, have no idea how to even interact with other humans…..
So when we isolate ourself from other humans….at some point do we lose some of that which makes us human? At one point does this happen?
So if we have no value of other human lives, does that make us less human? Again, at what point does this happen?
Finally, is it possible for *something* not fully human….something made of flesh and bones….something with some DNA…..something supposedly *without* a soul….something made in a lab….programmed….but made with love and hope and devotion……a machine that cares about the value of human life…..a machine that does not seek to isolate itself……to become human? Again, at what point does this happen?
Matt Haig, might not have written the best literary work of all time here….but hey ho….how many people can? However, what he has done is given us much to think about……and much to be watchful of…..
This book was left with an ending that can no doubt be picked up and continued on with further novels….I hope we get at a least one more…..
I really enjoyed this novel, as I have Haig’s other works…..I’m sure you won’t be disappointed…go on then….go see what the future has in store for you and I……..buy the book…..
Until next time….
Review copy provided by Netgalley for an honest review….
Currently available to buy in the UK Echo Boy by Matt Haig