If you’re a newly-manufactured or rebooted android, you’ll want to pick up a copy of the latest book from Nic Kelman ’94, How to Pass as Human: A Guide to Assimilation for Future Androids.
The book, however, proves just as entertaining and informative for human readers. In his fourth novel, Kelman gives a delightful glimpse of the human world through an android’s eyes. Listen to an interview with Kelman in this episode of the MIT Alumni Books Podcast.
“The Android revolution is coming,” says Kelman, who set his rather simple love story of an android discovering his true identity in Las Vegas. “It seemed like the perfect setting. It’s the most hyperbolic city in the world. You see the greatest extremes of human behavior there, so it was an interesting setting for him to learn about human beings. It’s the city of the id, so it’s the best place to look at human behavior.”
At times playful and whimsical, How to Pass as Human arrives at some serious reflections as the android, named Zach, learns the limits to which humans will go to get what they desire. Behind much of the messaging is Kelman himself, who took the opportunity to reflect on his Frankensteinish creation and the act of creating itself.
“I’m definitely a cynic,” Kelman says. “I’m constantly having that conversation about whether you can be successful in business and still be a nice person.”