Review: Posthuman

Review: Posthuman

By: M.C. Hansen

Genre: Thriller, Supernatural, science fiction, horror

Publisher: Bowker

Pages: 261

Publication Date: August 19, 2019

Landscaper and perpetual trespasser, Kaufman Striker was raised to be detached from people and the world around him. Today, he is futilely attempting to mourn the careless death of a teenage girl who was kind to him when he worked on the family’s lawn. But, his day won’t end with a night in jail but with a note from his estranged father and a noose hanging in his kitchen. Stranger still is that the note is Kaufman’s signed death certificate, dated for today.  

Matthew Sterling is a little boy staying with his aunt and uncle while his mother undergoes cancer treatment at the local hospital. His leg braces and his condition make it difficult for him to socialize or move around but today, he’s going to take his 5 year old sister, Jessica, the distance across town to see their mother. He has a plan that’ll work so long as his guardians don’t realise he’s sneaking out. 

Dr. Hollie Cunningham has been kidnapped by some lunatic with red occult tattoos. Her abduction has to do with the scientific research she’s doing at Newlife Research Facility. Her Project Osirius is on the verge of a breakthrough but first, she has to survive her abductor’s bullet. 

Decoy, Nevada is transformed while each struggle for survival. Birds fall from the sky and animals are contorted into a twisted vision of what they were. Coyotes walk on two legs and stare at them with such hatred and hunger. Is it the religious end of days? Have aliens invaded? Whatever the cause, Kaufman, Matthew, Jessica, and Hollie must survive the end of their world long enough to discover the truth. 

Posthuman is told in third person and shifts between the trials and tribulations of Kaufman, Matthew, and Hollie as they try to figure out what has happened. The atmosphere of post event Decoy, Nevada is odd. The streets are empty, the highway is congested with abandoned vehicles.  The dead are piled in deep ditches and what survivors they find are altered. They are crazed, emaciated, and violently self-destructive. Whatever has occurred has not left the wildlife unmolested- bird dead upon the ground, jackrabbits now twisted heads, red eyes and sharp teeth and the coyotes are bipedal. Hate seethes from these creatures with their newfound sapience and transformation. 

At times, the scenes of violence are seeped in metaphor and simile while others are described in lurid detail to ensure that the reader is not left unaware of the horror that this post-apocalyptic has wrought. Unknown are whether the cause is as a result of the folly of science or if some supernatural terror from beyond the stars has descended upon mankind.

Posthuman has the feel of a science fantasy novel on the verge of something. Hansen’s debut novel is full of interesting concepts for how science has gone astray and dabbles in some more religious lore but was a slow build to the discovery. I was a little disappointed that some of his voice was drowned out in comparisons to other things rather than seizing all of the moments to make his vision clear.

I look forward to seeing what Hansen has in store in the future. I feel this concept might have been better served as a series or a much longer book. Those looking for a speculative fiction that teeters on the edge of the concept that science and religion can coexist will enjoy this. 

I was provided an ARC by the author in exchange for a review. 

3 of 5