Echo Boy from award winning author Matt Haig is a fast paced, science fiction styled novel delving into a much discussed / feared scenario. What happens when robots become … almost too much like humans? Where are the boundaries?
Audrey’s father Leo is still coming to grips with this new world. Intelligent, cynical and cautious he has his doubts and holds firmly to his strong ethics. This is despite, or maybe even because, his own brother is so heavily involved in the production of the much applauded Echos (Enhanced Computerised Humanoid Organisms).
Her mother is not so reticent, hence their ill-fated decision to go ahead and purchase one of their own. It malfunctions. Badly. Turning 15 year old Audrey’s world upside down, and forcing her to question everything around her.
Haig describes his fictional, futuristic world with a wily humorous nod to the present times;
‘They still thought cardiovascular exercise was good for them. They used to waste their lives in gyms.’
… however there is a more serious side to Haig’s writing as he delves into this Dystopian world. Once the character of Audrey has been established, Haig effortlessly intertwines that of Daniel – the Echo boy. One of a kind. He feels things. The narrative of Daniel enables Haig to delve much deeper into his main theme – what makes us human?
‘Was he bad or was he good – or was he like most of humanity, hovering somewhere in between?’
Despite an almost overwhelming bleakness permeating this world, Haig’s novel is not with hope and positivity. A lingering belief that there is something deep within mankind that pull us all through, floats within the prose.
In a novel that will entertain adults too, Haig exhibits a talent for balancing fast paced action with suspenseful, well executed prose as he probes key questions about humanity with depth and intelligence.
‘Perfection is the blandest thing imaginable.’