cover image The Human Son

The Human Son

Adrian J. Walker. Solaris, $11.99 trade paper (380p) ISBN 978-1-78108-788-6

This frank, deeply philosophical work of science fiction expertly tackles the idea that the solution to the climate crisis is to remove humans from the equation altogether. Five hundred years after the final human’s death, humanity’s replacements—logical, unflappable humanoids called erta, who were artificially bred to save the planet by one of the last human scientists—are almost done stabilizing Earth’s environment. Ima, an erta atmosphere engineer, is chosen to foster one human child as a test case for the possible restoration of the species as a whole, but the experiment is not without critics and saboteurs who seek to complicate Ima’s “simple” task of becoming a parent. Walker (The End of the World Survivor’s Club) depicts the tasks of child rearing (and the attendant sleep deprivation) with understated comedic glee as Ima morphs from dispassionate clinician to caring mother, learning to love her son and, through him, to understand the beauty in humanity. Walker’s argument is decidedly stacked in favor of human nature, but the novel does not shy away from depicting the greed, cruelty, and lack of forethought that led to the devastated Earth. This impressive, surprisingly hopeful take is as rigorous as a thought experiment as it is delightful as pure entertainment. Agent: Sam Copeland, Rogers, Coleridge & White Ltd. Literary (UK).(May)