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Invasion of the Body Snatchers: A Novel Kindle Edition
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On a quiet fall evening in the peaceful town of Mill Valley, California, Dr. Miles Bennell discovers an insidious, horrifying plot. Subtly, almost imperceptibly, alien life-forms are taking over the bodies and minds of his neighbors, friends, family, the woman he loves, and the entire world as he knows it.
First published in 1955, this classic science fiction thriller about the ultimate alien invasion and the triumph of the human spirit over an invisible enemy has inspired multiple film adaptations and entertained readers for decades. This repackaged edition features a new cover by Hugo award–winning illustrator, John Picacio and a foreword by New York Times bestselling author, Dean Koontz.
About the Author
"Finney's classic tale of alien invasion is recreated anew with more terror than the book or the film. Tabori delivers a performance that will chill listeners with his intensity and sense of urgency...By the end of this production, listeners will believe they are listening to Miles himself and not just some narrator."-- "Publishers Weekly (starred review)"
"Reader Tabori delivers a chillingly intense performance creating mounting terror with the carefully controlled volume of his voice. This classic SF/horror story has gone through several incarnations on the screen, but none compare to Finney's original story; and with Tabori's brilliantly strong reading, it remains an icon in its genre."-- "Kliatt (starred review)"
"This science fiction classic is expertly narrated by Kristoffer Tabori, who reads the first-person narrative with gritty intensity that will remind listeners of a noir detective novel...Tabori's narration captures the earthiness of the main character, Miles, who is ever smart and practical no matter how strange things get."-- "AudioFile" --This text refers to the audioCD edition.
- ASIN : B00FNVSFIA
- Publisher : Atria Books; Reissue edition (January 28, 2014)
- Publication date : January 28, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 5641 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 228 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #234,253 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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“I’d grown up here, from boyhood I’d known every street, house and path, most of the backyards, and every hill, field and road for miles around. And now I didn’t know it anymore. Unchanged to the eye, what I was seeing out there—in my eye, and beyond that in my mind—was something alien…”
For Miles Bennell, local town physician, Mill Valley is being turned upside down. It begins with a rather unusual call from a resident, a woman who says her uncle isn’t really her uncle. Something seems to be taking over the humans…
To me, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is one of the definitive science fiction novels. It has an expertly crafted atmosphere and elements that are staples of the genre. There’s a level of genius by Finney in so expertly playing the chaos and bizarre events directly in a quiet town and creating immediately a strange phenomenon that propels the plot. In my opinion, this is as expertly plotted as to increase the suspense and anticipation of what is to follow as we progress. We see this in the arrival of the pods and there is fear and wonder trying to unearth who is human and who isn’t.
A paranoid, frantic mood consumes and pervades throughout, as told through the perspective of Miles, as they try to escape the unknown entity or understand its plan.
My version has a wonderful introduction by author Dean Koontz where he sheds some insight into his feelings about what makes this novel a great sci fi experience. I can only echo those thoughts.
There are two distinctive films that are based on Finney’s novel, one more closely. One in 1956 that more closely resembles the plot and feel of the book and then one in 1978 that is not as stellar.
A great book for sci-fi enthusiasts, especially who love the classic feel to the genre. This is what sci-fi should feel like, and it is perfect reading on a clear summer night. Before you do, though, be sure to check the garage for any pods
Even still, it is easy to read into this work a tale that strives to spotlights the virtue of individuality in the face of conformity. Whether the mashing conglomeration of society is brought about by political ideology, mob mentality or consumerism, doesn’t really matter.
The writing is easy to read and the plot plods along at a nice pace, without speeding up too much or slowing down too little. The story pauses enough times at well-crafted scenes of horror to create a lasting impression of the core storyline. The dialog felt somewhat stilted, if not dated or formal (sort of like an old 1950’s TV show).
The book has been criticized for its lack of scientific plausibility or credible character developments. However, this story isn’t really meant to be hard Scifi or an in-depth character study. The book is built around a high concept and contains a decent suspense plot that is tempered with Scifi elements. In that sense it largely succeeds. There is also a dogged relentlessness pervading the story that keeps pace throughout and helps to keep the horror aspect in play.
The story centers around a medical doctor operating in a rural town as a general practitioner. He’s divorced and an old flame/fellow divorcee is back in town for him to get excited about. His love interest draws him into the main plot when she asks him to look in on a relative that has a peculiar medical concern that cannot be explained. From there things slowly develop based on the increasing incidences of people acting strangely and the stakes are periodically raised a level along the way. The author does delve into the science behind the story a bit when he uses the doctor and a psychologist to both unravel as well as confuse the mystery.
There are some interesting passages about the different faces people wear in society and what it means to be a person, along with some loose social commentary that gets flipped on its head when it comes from an alien perspective.
The ending has also been criticized for this book and the film versions did not feel the need to follow it. It’s an ending, it works, but that’s about it. Reminds me a bit of an H. G. Wells ending, but less original given the publication date.
The very idea of “pod people” comes from this book. Without having even read this book or watched any of the films, most people will have a general idea of what this means. That, in itself, demonstrates how strong the concept is and how well it was developed by the author.
Podcast: If you enjoy my review (or this topic) this book and the movie based on it were further discussed/debated in a lively discussion on my podcast: "No Deodorant In Outer Space". The podcast is available on iTunes, Tune-In Radio, Stitcher, Google Play Music, YouTube or our website.
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In 1953, in the small Californian town of Santa Mira, a strange plague of paranoia is spreading; hysteric people claiming that their relatives/friends are not the same anymore. That somebody or something has taken their place and replaced them with a cold, emotionless copy of themselves. A hysteria that all these people drop days later, claiming that they were mistaken. A situation that doctor Miles Bennell notices from his patients since a week, and from Becky Driscoll, an ex-girlfriend who has returned to Santa Mira. Like him, she is divorced and like his patients, she tells him one of her cousins claims her dad is not her dad anymore. And then comes another panic from his friends the Belicecs, a couple who find a naked body in their closet, growing into the appearance of Jack Belicec. A frightening situation Miles also finds out in Becky’s house, where she lives with her dad, as a body who looks like her is growing in her basement. Right away, Miles gets Becky out of there so that she can stay at his place. But as these two rekindle their relationship, the nightmare evolves. And as the days go by, more shocking revelations appear. Confirming that an evil force has seized Santa Mira, and may destroy other communities if nobody stops it.
In its themes, The Body Snatchers has been perceived into multiple interpretations. Some saw it as a denunciation of McCarthyism or against Communism. But it can be seen as a denunciation against the culture of conformity and emotional frigidity within suburbs. Especially in the 1950s as a certain philosophy of normality and good appearances was vehiculated back then. Most of it due by the conservative mentalities partly influenced by politicians like McCarthy. Which does explain why some readers and viewers of the movie treated it as an anti-McCarthy piece. Though I wonder if this reaction wasn’t due also to World War 2; as the fear of another international conflict terrified politicians and authorities so much they saw or imagined monsters everywhere. Therefore, they fed images of conformity and normality in the medias (movies, publicities, television, radio, and news) to educate enough the public in not thinking deviant thoughts. So in a way, the novel is a reflection of what some in the 1950s felt. That the American dream the medias and the government were selling was false and muzzled up their personalities.
But of course, Jack Finney’s novel is a great sci-fi horror story. Presenting through tense description and the exclusive point of view of Miles Bennell his perspective of the events at Santa Mira. Which is important to remember as some felt the ending did not present everything that happened outside of his perspective. For though I won’t reveal the ending, it is clear that other people were aware of what was going on and fought on their own. As to whether or not a group of people or an organization did something that we haven’t seen and caused the ending we got, this is up to readers to make up their minds. Because although the end is definitive, and different from the two movie daptations of 1956 and 1978, what happens outside of Miles’s point-of-view is worth thinking of. Another way to analyze and reread this story.
In its prose, the novel is concise. At 190 pages, the twenty chapters are easy to read and they offer a great range of dialogues and dramas. As to whether or not the scientific realism of the events is plausible or not, that depends on the perspectives of some readers. But either way, the charisma of that story makes up any possible implausibility in the story. Charisma also present in the location of Santa Mira, who is depicted as the ideal american town. And among the tragic events we see, that encounter Miles and Becky have with their local librarian (a woman I always see performed by actress Eleanor Audley) is heartbreaking and sad. A reminder that what has happened in their town has hurt those they love.
In its publication, the book has been offered in various paperback editions. Even recent ones with very modern and computer made montages. But personally, I find the original 1950 and 1960s covers much more interesting as they make us dive into the era’s mentality. So if you have the chance to find one of these 1960s editions from Dell, don’t hesitate, the printing quality is excellent.
As for the movie adaptations, though of course they differ from each other and from the novel, I see them as great interpretations of the original story Jack Finney gave us. And personally, I would not be surprised that this novel is still remembered and read worldwide thanks to the 1956 movie and its success as it motivated people to read the novel and to discover the 1978 remake.
So whether or not you are a fan of the movies or not, reading The Body Snatchers is a must as it presents a great sci-fi adventure, alongside a great time capsule of the 1950s and its culture back then of idyllic suburbs and the fear of anti-conformity.
A classic of that era and of Sci-Fi literature. A classic of the 1950s.
For example, all the Pod people were emotionless drones and the point was made that they lacked any ambition. Once taking over a body, they were able to absorb some of that victim's personality but not his motivation or ambition. In other words they existed just to exist. That's pretty much what the Western world thought about Mother Russia and the Communist back in those days.
As a Sci-fi story it contains some bad tropes that one sees in bad movies; something like where a victim barely escapes from a house of torture only to return because they forgot their hat. It was almost as bad as that in the novel; the good Doctor has figured out what was going on and realizes the Pod people are after him so he and his girlfriend manage to escape in his car and vamoose out of town. Once safely out of town, he then decides he has to go back and check out the situation. Knowing that Pod people are specifically after him, so where does he go to hide...right back to his office. And where do the Pod people catch up with him...right in his office. If that isn't a roll your eyes moment, I don't what is.
Of course the point of that scenario was the big expose of the Pod people and what their intentions were. It felt very much like the Author was running out of steam, like he had great idea but didn't know how to follow through. The Doctor, himself has to be one of the most unobservant individuals ever. He witness a Pod person transformation and he easily persuaded by his friend (a Pod person by this time) that it was all in his imagination.
There were too many conveniences like this in the novel, and don't even get me started on the ending, that's really when you knew the Author was petering out and just wanted to quickly finish his story. Like I said, great start but downhill from there. I suggest you skip this novel and watch the original 1956 movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers. That's really how the novel should have been.