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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out of this World..!
Not the biggest Sci-fi fan in the world but a huge fan of good writing and Alt.Human is an exceptional book. From page one the author drops you into a future that is all too real and at once invigorating. The protagonist is believable and well-realised - unlike some other forays into the genre I've noticed - but the five-star decider for me was the story. Keith Brooke is...
Published on 26 Oct. 2012 by Pulp Pusher

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Well put together sci-fi adventure, but with some flaws
Alt.Human starts out very well, a world is described quite well to the reader. The main character lives in a ghetto with other humans in the midst of an alien controlled city. It's made clear that this wasn't always the case, at some point years before the novel humans lived unfettered on the planet, but then the aliens came and took over and have been controlling the...
Published 7 months ago by Adam Ridley


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out of this World..!, 26 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Alt.Human (Paperback)
Not the biggest Sci-fi fan in the world but a huge fan of good writing and Alt.Human is an exceptional book. From page one the author drops you into a future that is all too real and at once invigorating. The protagonist is believable and well-realised - unlike some other forays into the genre I've noticed - but the five-star decider for me was the story. Keith Brooke is a fine storyteller, he knows when to hold back and when to reveal something to his reader. This novel will grip you tight from start to finish. Just outstanding.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars !¡admiring / satisfied¡! Highly original sci fi, 10 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: alt.human (aka Harmony) (Kindle Edition)
I read this book after reading a review in the Guardian, and I have to agree with the big G that this is a very fine book indeed. To my shame I hadn't heard of Keith Brooke, but frankly I think he's up there with the best and most original sci fi writers around.

alt.human is set in a future dystopia where alien species have effectively subjugated humans. Confined to ghetto-like 'indigenous peoples preserves', the human population becomes steadily more terrorised, until a group escapes from the city and begins a journey to save humanity.

The protagonists (alien and human) are compelling and well thought through, but the real joy for me was the imagination that Brooke shows in his description and handling of the cityscape. halfway through the book, I started dreaming that I was there... that hasn't happened for a while.

Anyway, great book - I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Well put together sci-fi adventure, but with some flaws, 20 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Alt.Human (Paperback)
Alt.Human starts out very well, a world is described quite well to the reader. The main character lives in a ghetto with other humans in the midst of an alien controlled city. It's made clear that this wasn't always the case, at some point years before the novel humans lived unfettered on the planet, but then the aliens came and took over and have been controlling the world for so long that no one really questions it anymore. The aliens themselves are interestingly diverse and not initially portrayed as evil overlords, although they are all fiercely logical for some reason. The main character, Dodge, is part of a tribe in his ghetto who take part in many shady black market dealings, including smuggling goods and forging identities. Life is hard for them, but they get by, until they come across Hope, a mysterious girl who harbours a big secret. This sets a chain of events in motion that ends up with Dodge, Hope and most of the humans in the city having to find a way out of the only place they've ever called home or face extermination at the hands of a suddenly brutal regime.

It's all cliched stuff and certainly won't blow you away, but it's competently written for the most part and has some interesting mysteries peppered throughout. The problems with the story are many and varied though, Dodge is likeable enough but not terribly interesting, while Hope feels more like a walking plot device than an actual character, being pretty much devoid of emotion. The mysteries I mentioned earlier are basically never explained and the motivations for the aliens actions later in the novel are similarly opaque (at one point Dodge witnesses humans being rounded up for execution, but gets released when he is spotted for seemingly no reason other than the fact he is the main character.) Also, these are just personal gripes, but the 'click' language everyone uses started grinding on me pretty quickly and just ended up coming across as a lazy way of writing dialogue. The fact the story was narrated by Dodge got kind of annoying at parts as well, particularly during the Hope-centric sections where he felt the need to continually mention things she didn't yet know that would happen later.

If you like the idea of an adventure story about humans battling against adversity in a world controlled by an alien empire then you'll probably enjoy this novel, just don't go into it expecting too much.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Alt.human, 6 July 2013
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Alt.Human (Paperback)
This is a whirlwind of a ride disguised as a book. Fantastic end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it stuff. Dodge, a young man, lives with his clan in a designed Ipp (Indigenous Peoples' Preserve), where movement between Ipps or into the larger city areas is controlled by implants, and monitored by aliens. All kinds of aliens live in this world that seems to have come of our future, and the humans live in small enclaves, subsisting or cooperating with aliens to make as much of their lives as they can hope for. But when we join the story, something is changing. The aliens, or some of them, seem to be targetting humans or human enclaves. Why? And who or what is Hope? And Harmony? In this great story, we follow some of the humans as they seek to survive, but in a way they have never considered before.

The imagery used in the book is fantastic - the images of the aliens, and the world they have constructed, the imagery of the watchers, the troopships, the grunts, the starship and the transportation methods they use from Earth. It's all very imaginatively done, yet never to the point of parody - everything has a `substance' about it that is easy to imagine in this nightmarish future world.

I did find the last third or so of the book seemed to lose its way a bit; I would have liked to see more made of the `alien' aspect of the story, and what was going on in the world around the small human group that we had access to in the book. There is clearly much more going on in this world, and universe, than these people understand or can comprehend, so it would be good to think there was perhaps a sequal which would explore more of these themes.

A great sci-fi read; and totally recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Unconventional, but solid, 20 Jun. 2013
This review is from: Alt.Human (Paperback)
With this book, writer Keith Brooke breaks two golden rules (for what little they're worth these days): One, he has far more than the recommended number of characters - at least nine or ten, with four or five of them playing fairly big roles. And two, he flits not only between characters, but perspectives too. He writes his main character in the first-person, but then - sometimes in the same chapter or even page - will follow a secondary character (in the third-person, of course) telling their background separate to his main character. This seems odd at first, as usually with first-person narratives, we (the reader) are only ever privy to what the main character does and sees. We can't know anything the protagonist doesn't.

But, and this is the key, he does it well, somehow maintaining the flow and avoiding any confusion. It's a solid story, told well, and my interest waned only occasionally, mainly through some of the more 'meandering' chapters.

The science is there to an extent, but never really explained, and while some hardcore sci-fi nuts might consider this a cop-out, it didn't bother me personally. It was enough to have these elements described to me and I never felt like I needed an explanation. They just were, and that was enough for me. In fact, it gave me great hope and encouragement, as someone who likes to write sci-fi, but knows next to nothing about science.

If I have one criticism, it is with the characterisation. They're not exactly flat, as one reviewer says, but nor are they full-bodied, either. My main problem in this area was with Dodge, the main character. Even by the end of the book I'm just not sure I liked him very much. I certainly didn't feel as though I'd ever got to know him fully.

Everything considered I'd not hesitate recommending alt.human to a friend, although I would feel obliged to warn them that the science is a little thin on the ground.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Significant and Noteworthy Science Fiction Novel, 3 April 2013
By 
Bridget McKenna (Seattle WA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Alt.Human (Paperback)
The English language is a remarkable thing, and Keith Brooke is a remarkable writer who can make it do his bidding with the best of them. In alt.human (US title: alt.human aka Harmony) he has not only created an exciting and believable world full of fascinating, realistic characters and situations using his native tongue, he has also dug down into the nature of language itself and brought back surprises (and prizes) to create layers of meaning and subtlety and emotion in a way most writers would't have thought to approach.

What's left of humanity exists surrounded by multiple alien races who decide where, how, and even if humans will live. A small population existing on Indigenous Peoples' Preserves has carved out their own way of survival by cunning, flexibility, and trickery. They keep a low profile and are happy enough to be barely getting by. Until someone starts blowing up human communities.

You won't soon forget Brooke's cast of characters or the world he created to test their resolve to be human on the brink of extinction, by whatever ways and means they can create for themselves. You won't soon read a better, more completely realized science fiction novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Harmony, 6 July 2013
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This is a whirlwind of a ride disguised as a book. Fantastic end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it stuff. Dodge, a young man, lives with his clan in a designed Ipp (Indigenous Peoples' Preserve), where movement between Ipps or into the larger city areas is controlled by implants, and monitored by aliens. All kinds of aliens live in this world that seems to have come of our future, and the humans live in small enclaves, subsisting or cooperating with aliens to make as much of their lives as they can hope for. But when we join the story, something is changing. The aliens, or some of them, seem to be targetting humans or human enclaves. Why? And who or what is Hope? And Harmony? In this great story, we follow some of the humans as they seek to survive, but in a way they have never considered before.

The imagery used in the book is fantastic - the images of the aliens, and the world they have constructed, the imagery of the watchers, the troopships, the grunts, the starship and the transportation methods they use from Earth. It's all very imaginatively done, yet never to the point of parody - everything has a `substance' about it that is easy to imagine in this nightmarish future world.

I did find the last third or so of the book seemed to lose its way a bit; I would have liked to see more made of the `alien' aspect of the story, and what was going on in the world around the small human group that we had access to in the book. There is clearly much more going on in this world, and universe, than these people understand or can comprehend, so it would be good to think there was perhaps a sequal which would explore more of these themes.

A great sci-fi read; and totally recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well-realised alternative world, 6 Aug. 2014
By 
John W (Shropshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Alt.Human (Paperback)
Good writing, with a well-realised alternative world where Earth is colonised and dominated by aliens, with humans relegated to reservations.

I enjoyed the story and characters - the quest for the legendary sanctuary where people can live better, safer lives is a sci-fi staple of course, and there isn't much original in how that turns out either - but I enjoyed reading it anyway.

The ending caught me by surprise - I had to read it a couple of times before I grasped what it meant. Having done so, I like it and thought it was a decent way to end. There's clearly room for more stories about these characters, or in this world but I found it refreshing that the book didn't signpost this in any way, it appears to be intended as a standalone which is rare these days.
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5.0 out of 5 stars very enjoyable, 17 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Alt.Human (Paperback)
i really enjoyed reading this novel. a very pleasant change from all the mediocre modern space opera which seems so abundant nowadays. I have just purchased The Accord by the same author and look very much forward to reading that also. sadly, the great majority of the author's work seems only to be available digitally and alas I do not own such a reader -call me old-fashioned.

the characters were well conceived, the plot was pacey and was very well concluded. I would have liked to have known more about the guardians (and all the other aliens) -who they were and their motivations. other than that, a great book well written and highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ¡!Disappointment | Bewilderment ¡!, 26 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Alt.Human (Paperback)
The problem with this novel is not the setting or the beginning: it's a sci-fi distopia, with an alien-occupied world where aliens are vastly superior to humans, and these eke out a living trading and peddling stuff, including identities (which, apparently, are inserted in the blood as if the blood itself didn't have something called DNA which is identitary enough). There are little fights, new and weird characters come in (robots! humanoids! Friendly and obnoxious aliens!) and you have your quest laid out for you: you have to save the world, but, barring that, you have to save yourself... and there's this place called Harmony (the alternative title of this novel) where people live, well, in Harmony and aliens leave them alone. And then what? Well, it turns out (spoiler alert) not that much.
This novel has nice ingredients. The alien language starts a bit annoying, but eventually you get used to it, but it turns out to have a very tangential effect on the plot, and even this seems to be included just for the record. Aliens are imaginative and have original features, but this does not seem to have much influence on the outcome either. Motivations, origins, and, eventually, showdowns are not there or are in a different place where they should be. There's, for instance, this love story between Dodge and Hope, but it just doesn't click. Maybe because the characters do not click either: Dodge and Hope seem absolutely lost and anhedonic, they just don't care what happens to them either way, even if their friends and family fall around them.
All in all, a disappointment. Not a complete disappointment, that's why I give it two stars. Also because there were no two-stars reviews.
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alt.human (aka Harmony)
alt.human (aka Harmony) by Keith Brooke
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