- Hardcover: 191 pages
- Publisher: Buccaneer Books (December 1, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0899684289
- ISBN-13: 978-0899684284
- Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.7 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 127 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,487,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Body Snatchers Hardcover – December 1, 1993
Attention Science Fiction Fans
Man vs. machine, humans vs. aliens, paranormal activities – discover the best of science fiction with these collectible books. Learn More.
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About the Author
Born in 1911, the American author Jack Finney wrote numerous SF novels, thrillers and mysteries, several of which were adapted to film. He was awarded the WORLD FANTASY AWARD FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT in 1987. A long-time resident of California, he died in 1995.
Top customer reviews
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.
There are several gaps in the novel. Although Finney briefly covers the fate of Bennett’s friends Jack and Theodora Belicec, they disappear for a long time at the height of the action without any hint of their fate. More disturbingly, Miles, Becky, Jack and Theodora seem completely bereft of emotion themselves when it becomes clear that the invasion, even if thwarted, will cost them their loved ones who have already been converted by the pods.
While "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" is not a great novel, it is better than the reputation acquired by the 1956 and 1978 films. It captures the feel of an earlier time well and speaks to the fear of being lost in a crowd.
‘The Body Snatchers’ has stood the test of time, from being written in 1955, it still managed to draw me in with its creepiness. Tapping into the audiences paranoia and wonder at the unknown.
Given the different era where the novel takes place, I found I was noticing how many of the characters smoke, and how our protagonist, Miles Bennell was the hero for the love interest Becky Driscoll. While Becky did have moments of her own heroism, she was still, at most times a silent companion and willingly followed Miles’ instructions.
I loved the scientific explanations and long expository paragraphs of the state of affairs in the original manuscript – they reminded me of recordings of radio broadcasts of the 1950’s I listened to as a child in my grandparents lounge room. I could hear the accents and intonation where they sounded ‘proper’ and knowledgeable. It added an old-timey ambience to the story. A respectful gentleness that is absent from much of today’s new fiction.
There is a strong sense of the paranoia of the time (in the 1950’s) of the novel, when the country was at war against communism, ‘The Body Snatches,’ taps into that fear to build a scenario where the people you know and love are not what they seem, where your home has suddenly found itself in the grips of an invasion.
While this novel isn’t particularly scary, or alarming, it does possess an aura of the unsettling. An unassuming tension which resonates with the reader long after the book has been returned to the shelf.
I have seen all the movie and television adaptations, being the big sci-fi geek girl I am. ‘The Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ is one of my cult faves. I can’t believe it has taken me so long to read the original script that kicked off this movement. I guess I was scared I’d be underwhelmed. But thankfully not. I really enjoyed this origin that has spurned so many re-inventions. Though, I must say none of those actually mirrored the story completely, and all had different twists and endings. So, while you will already know the premise of the story, there is still an element of surprise with this debut.
For lovers of the classics, old fashioned values, cult followers, and anyone in between, I highly recommend you give the novel a go. Just to see what happens. It has stood the test of time for a reason.