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Invasion of the Body Snatchers Paperback – April 6, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. While Miles's patients start remarking about loved ones not seeming to be themselves, he merely chalks it up to paranoia. However, when he becomes witness to a distinct but subtle change in the personality of some townspeople, he and his friends realize something is afoot. Their fears are realized as they stumble upon faceless corpses and strange pods. But the pod people are spreading fast, and Miles is running out of places to hide and people to help him. 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. His lightly raspy and mature voice works perfectly through the first-person perspective of Miles. He captures the mood and adjusts his pitch, speed and tone accordingly. By the end of this production, listeners will believe they are listening to Miles himself and not just some narrator. A brief interview with Tabori at the end reveals that he's the son of Don Siegel, who directed the original 1957 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers. A Touchstone paperback. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Jack Finney was the author of the much-loved and critically acclaimed novel Time and Again, and its sequel, From Time to Time. Best known for his thrillers and science fiction, a number of his books were made into movies. Mr. Finney died in 1995.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner Paperback Fiction (April 6, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684852586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684852584
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #641,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By paul mason on February 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
Miles is beckoned to his friend's house after several cases of people reporting their friends' family and loved ones are not themselves. As it turns out what was originally thought to be a possible case of mass hysteria turns out to be an invasion of a sleepy town by pod-like aliens who then take over the populace's appearances and identities.

Admittedly other reviewers summed this book up better than I, which I attribute partly to my not wanting to give any plot away (for those Amazonians that have not had the pleasure of reading this book yet), and partly because as one reviewer pointed out the alien invasion plot was hardly original even at the time of this title's publication. Writers of Finney's era seemed to thrive on metaphorically writing about the "red" threat of communism.

Finney may not have been the first or last to write on the theme but he did an exceptional job re-visiting other author's alien plots and using his unique style and imagination to write perhaps the seminal novel on the subject. From the opening pages I was scared. Reading each paragraph with a mounting sense of dread as Finney did an excellent job pacing his novel.

Certain scenes jumped out in this relatively thin tome(compared to some horror novels Body Snatchers is almost a novella with an economy of words to do the job of scaring readers) placed within the story for maximum effect. When Miles, and Jack discovered the "blank" slate of a body in Jack's basement I thought "oh sh*t" presumably as Finney intended I should.

As stated this isn't longest horror novel ever and there was no need for it to have been. Finney uses the perfect amount of words to tell his open ended tale of alien takeover elegently and with such an influx of paranoia in the text I reflected upone completion "they sure don't write them like that anymore but I wish they did."

In summation a classic in the genre in the purest sense of the phrase.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Xavier on January 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
I had quite a good time with this novel. Even though there are now thousands of books about alien invasion, the plot of this one still remains original. Due to the nature of the aliens, which are indeed transmissible vegetable parasites (but I won't tell you more about them ;) ), the story does not contain the slightest violence: no serious fight, no bloody killing, no catastrophe. However, suspense, anxiety, mystery are at the rendezvous. Just imagine indeed what psychosis it would generate if there was a mortal epidemic of some sort in your immediate surrounding, epidemic that would pervert the mind. Think about the people you cross everyday, including your own family. Are they really safe? Can you trust them? Don't they plan to contaminate you? On the other hand, you can't eternally confine yourself at home. So, what can you do? It's exactly what the inhabitants of Mill Valley are confronted to, except that a very few of them will hazily suspect the nature of the epidemic; for the others, it will be too late. There are a lot of notable passages in this book. For instance, when Jack reads to Miles (the hero) and their wives his collection of newspaper clippings, all related to irrational events, it gives you the creeps, especially if you are still vividly aware of the context. It's crazy to see how this sequence adds to the malaise, even if the articles have nothing to do with their situation. Ahh, and the final face to face encounter in chapter 17 between Miles and the psychiatrist Mannie, then contaminated and no longer the same we knew at the beginning of the novel.Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Beachie on June 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
An epidemic of a specific neurosis: all around you, people are claiming that their closest friends and relatives have been replaced by perfect impostors. They question their sanity. Then they recover. But you start to wonder, for a friend/family member seems a bit odd to you now... not like himself. You try to get help, but the roads out of the city are inexplicably worsening and your phone won't call out of the area. And then it hits you: THEY HAVE CONTROL...
This story has been retold many times (the 50's serial, book, and movie; the retellings of both in the 70's; and that God-awful 1992 movie). The pure HORROR of its concept is so universal that the term "body snatcher" is used worldwide. Beware the pods: there are places in YOUR house they might hide.
This novel is one of the best I've read. It combines decent (though sometimes stereotypical) characters with unbelievably tense action and story twists (not plot twists, though you might not be able to predict this one). The characters are believably human and the important loose ends are explained; Mr. Finney himself tells you that not all of them will be, which makes for an even better story.
If you haven't seen the 1978 movie with Donald Sutherland:
1. You MUST see it. Don't drink much beforehand.
2. Don't expect the same story as the book; in fact, they're two opposed tellings of a wonderful horror concept.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Everyone knows about the movie adaptation of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" -- pod people, creepy takeover, lots of suspense. While the movie was good, the original novel is perhaps a more enjoyable story -- a creepy, tense novel that raises some intriguing questions about human nature.

Dr. Miles Bennell receives an odd patient from his old ex-girlfriend Becky: Her cousin Wilma is making bizarre claims about her relatives. She claims that while they look, talk, dress and act just like Uncle Ira and Aunt Aleda, they are fakes. Miles talks with Wilma, but she doesn't show any typical signs of insanity. What's more, other people are insisting similar things about their friends and family -- that they seem just the same, but that they aren't themselves.

Then things get more complicated. Miles's pal Jack and his wife Theodora have an "unfinished" person in their basement, a never-been-alive-and-not-living-now human being that is slowly turning into a duplicate of the real person. Growing out of alien pods that have migrated to our planet, the pod people are slowly and seductively working over the town -- and they will soon have the entire world.

This now-classic SF book was published in the 1950s, before the advent of space opera and Star Wars. (It also has a noteworthy resemblance to Robert Heinlein's "Puppet Masters," a similar book published four years before) Finney's book can be a bit dated in places -- for example the female characters are kind of wimpy -- they tend to get hysterical and follow the level-headed manly men. Fortunately these flaws are few and far between.

The writing and dialogue are solid, not outstanding, but pretty good.
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