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0.4 by Mike Lancaster
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0.4: 03/04/12

cover art

0.4 (or Human.4 in the United States) by Mike Lancaster, is a middle grade science fiction horror in the tradition of John Wyndam and John Christopher. This is a debut novel that I hope is taught in schools in the near future.

Through transcripts of audio tapes with commentary from some future perspective, Kyle Straker outlines how his life and the lives of three other villagers were forever changed. They were volunteers for a talent show hypnotism trick. When they came out of their trance, everyone else had changed.

The how and the why of the change is the rest of the book. It's frightening and eye opening. Though a short book, Lancaster uses his words efficiently and effectively.

Often it seems that books like this where people are taken over or there's an invasion or a mass disappearance, the reason behind the change is never revealed. 0.4 breaks with that tradition. Kyle and the others do learn the reason behind the change.

The book is a short, it's a compelling read. Though 0.4 lacks anything in the way of violence or crude language, it does share some thematic ties with the much longer and adult oriented Robopacalypse (review coming). If you enjoyed Wilson's novel and are looking for a light but similar read, give 0.4 a go.

Five stars

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