How to Pass as Human

Written by Nic Kelman, How to Pass as Human is a unique story that revolves around a character named Zach. Unlike other people, Android Zero aka Zach is not a human being. He is the world’s first android who has been activated by a Technician in a laboratory and has been instructed to hide his identity. His inner power is finishing with each passing day and by the end of one month he will die. To save himself, he has to pass as human so that he can meet his creator and be saved.

How to Pass as Human

4.5 out of 5


Zach has been manufactured in an attempt to figure out the eclectic, unpredictable, and irrational creates known as human beings. During this journey as a human being, Zach writes a manual guide for the future androids which will help them pass undetected as human beings. Written in the form of a field guide, this manual consists of graphs, flowcharts, sketches and other reference materials as well. Along the way, Zach joins a law firm and becomes friends with a girl called Andrea. He attempts to solve the mystery of his creation with the help of this girl. The twist in the story is that Andrea is a human who develops an interest in Zach which may be more than friendly.

Book Details

Print length 240 pages
Language English
Publisher Dark Horse Books
Publication date October 20, 2015

About the Author

Nic Kelman

Born in Manhattan, Nic Kelman is a famous author who has written novels, screenplays, non-fiction, essays and short stories. At an early age, Nic moved to the United Kingdom but later on he returned to the United States to study at MIT. He majored in Brain and Cognitive Science and picked Film and Media Studies to be his minor. He performed extremely well in arts and sciences which led him to receive the Burchard Scholarship in his final year. After completing his undergraduate, he took the Creative Writing MFA program at Brown University. Kelman started working on his first novel, girls, as his thesis project and his work was given the James Assatly Award for graduate fiction. Girls got published and gained a lot of recognition which brought Kelman a lot of popularity. It was named one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle. His second book, Video Game Art, got published in 2006 and it revolved around design and art of video games in the context of art history. He published his third book in 2008. Along with being an amazing writer, Kelmen has also been a notable photographer. His work has been featured in Glamour, Elle, The Village Voice, The Kenyon Review, BlackBook and The New York Tyrant.

Nic is a versatile human being. He wrote a screenplay, Genneris, which was purchased by Steven Spielberg at DreamWorks Studios. Since then he started writing screenplays as well. His most recent works include How to Pass as Human. View Amazon Profile

Our Take

Nic Kelman’s How to Pass as Human is written as a beautiful combination of an instruction manual and diary of Zach’s first month as a human. Being the first android, Zach has the responsibility to figure out humans so that it would be easier for the future androids to live among humans without being detected. We found the instructional manual portion of the book to be a little sly and funny. In this guide, Zach mentions all the intricate details that, he thinks, would help his future fellows.

We believe that this idea is completely new which makes this novel one of its kind. It was extremely interesting to read about humans from the perspective of a true outsider. Along with the important details about human beings, Zach has also documented what he sees around him which includes fashion, humor, religion, reproductive behaviour and issues with work and wages. Along with the manual, the novel also consists of an amazing sci-fi narration.

This book is also taking a closer look at the relationships that humans share with each other. Most of its description is humorous; however, some parts of the manual has gender stereotyping. People who love to read about human behaviour would love to read this novel as they will thoroughly enjoy Zach’s perception of the world.
Another interesting part of the novel is Zach’s connection with Andrea and how both of them search for the Technician who activated Zach.
Most of the readers loved the concept of the novel. They were of the opinion that it is an extremely interesting read with a new outlook. It is a story that is filled with numerous emotions, a unique connection and unexpected twists and turns. This action-packed, sci-fi narrative captures the technicalities of being an android and the quirks of sociology and human cognition.

While many users loved this novel, some were of the opinion that this story was intriguing in the beginning but later on it failed to capture the reader’s interest. The charts and graphs present in the book made it look interesting but as the story progressed they became random facts. While some readers did not like random facts, others found the human analysis to be not good enough.
Since every person has different likes and dislikes, there are some who loved the novel while others did not like it that much. We suggest you read the novel and then decide if you like it or not.

What we Liked

Unlike various other sci-fi novels, How to Pass as Human has a completely unique and different story line. We believe that the idea of this novel is what sets it apart from the rest. The journey of Android Zero is extremely interesting yet humorous. The book presents itself in two different ways: the first one is a strong sci-fi narrative and the second one is a field guide for androids which consists of complexities and intricacies of human nature. Another thing that we found to be interesting was the love angle given to the story. This is hands down one of the most amazing and thought-provoking books.