Reviews

Invasion of the Body Snatchers, by Jack Finney

familyguy026's review against another edition

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4.0

I liked that! Short novel with a little creep factor. The end was only okay.
The metaphors alone. I'm not sure if it was about the death of small town America, or the false Utopia of communism, or the spread of a radical idea, or passive allowance of evil ("All you need to do is sleep, but we can't force you to sleep."). Or what.
But it's a fun little book.

captainjaq's review against another edition

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4.0

Another in my continuing quest to catch up on the classics, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a short, quick book. The story is fairly straight forward – pods come down to Earth and replicate the humans of a small city near San Francisco. Miles Bennell is our hero, the guy who sees what’s going down and does his level best to a) figure it out and b) prevent it from happening to him. Additionally, there’s major secondary character called “Jack” who is a writer (a bit of self-insertion maybe?).

As the book progresses, and the pods continue their relentless destruction, Finney makes some assertions about what it means to be human, what the cost of the assimilation really is and how fighting it at all costs is the only reasonable option. What it’s not is the obvious “communist” metaphor the first film is accused of being. In fact, there’s a coda on the book, an interview with the son of the original film’s adaptor/director, about how he never purposefully created that metaphor, but that it was read into the finished film because of the time period. Later adaptations replaced the communist metaphor with others about the book’s dangers of blind assimilation message (there’s actually a really good essay about it by Kelley Crowley in The Fantastic Made Visible).

The only things which really bothered me was the ultimate defeat of the pods (not really a spoiler – a 1955 novel is going to have at least an upbeat ending if not absolutely positive). Not the way it was done in general, that was fine, but what happens with their final disposition and the way they were finally eliminated from Earth just didn’t seem plausible given what we’d learned about them earlier.

What I will say though, is that I’m really liking Jack Finny. About 6 months ago I read Time and Again and really enjoyed it, too. There will certainly be more of Finney on my “to read” list.



Full review here: https://captainjaq.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/review-kellers-fedora-and-others/

cristi_ivan's review against another edition

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3.0

Beautiful horror sci-fi from the 50s with some deep political undertones.

As a façade, the book is about a parasitic alien life form that takes over a small US town, replacing the residents with almost identical duplicates. These duplicates have the memories of the humans they’ve replaced but are devoid of any form of feeling. Some people start to realize the things happening during the night, in houses’ basements and other hidden places, and paranoia infiltrates. You can’t trust your neighbors or even your family. Anyone could be an alien.

But, since the book was written during the Cold War Era, it’s pretty obvious that those nasty aliens are in fact commies. The Red Menace was at its height during the 50s and people believed that the communist ideology insidiously spread, like a virus, across US. Anyone could be a Communist and you had no mean to differentiate them from other people.

I liked the idea of the book, but I felt like the characters were underdeveloped and one-faced. Also, the book didn’t age quite gracefully in terms of scientific knowledge. So, 3 stars for me.

pagesforages's review against another edition

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4.0

This was good but if I never hear or read the word "presently" ever again it'll be a relief

anna_btww's review against another edition

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5.0

*4,5
Uma história curta, surpreendente e agonizante na medida certa. Caramba…

rachellemarie's review against another edition

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5.0

"The men, women and children in the street and stores below me were something else now,  every last one of them. They were each our enemies..."

Finney masterfully sets this uncomfortable sense of panic that steadily builds to the inevitable questions of.. Who is still themselves? And.. Who has already become? So unsettling and ultimately satisfying as hell!!

justthatbookishgirl's review against another edition

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4.0

What would you do if the people you've known for your whole life weren't the people you thought they were? In this sci fi novel Dr. Miles is face with this horrifying question. Finney keeps you guessing right up to the end. I listened to the audiobook of this and Kristoffer Tabori was the absolute perfect narrator to give this story a voice. I wish I would have read/listened to this book earlier in life.

twilliamson's review against another edition

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3.0

Jack Finney's novel has inspired multiple film versions, and I've seen a few of them. I'm perhaps most fond of the '56 film starring Kevin McCarthy, which I believe is closest to the novel. It is, in fact, because of my interest in the film that I finally decided to read the novel.

It's not a bad book, either. It is, of course, a product of its time, and Finney's protagonist is a bit too misogynist for my tastes, but not unreadably so. Becky is a bit too bland a figure, and Miles more than a bit reminiscent of those pulp gumshoes of the past, even if he's not a gumshoe at all.

What is remarkable is just how relevant the book still is. There is a lot to unpack in here: a contemplation of what extraterrestrial life might look like, a question of what about humankind actually makes us human, an allegorical statement about either communism or even consumer capitalism (depending on your reading), and even a grim warning of human nature's tendency to consume the planet with little regard to existing, non-human life. Indeed, what stands out to me is just how easily one could make humans out to be just as parasitic as the mysterious pods that make their appearance in the novel.

It isn't the best sci-fi I've read, but it certainly isn't the worst, and I do think the ideas in the novel are definitely worth reading. I'm still likely to prefer the film version to the novel, but I really do think that the difference between Finney's vision of the story and the '56 film aren't too different from each other to be read much the same way. Nevertheless, it's a credit to the novel that the idea is so resonant, even beyond its initial publication.

vsobaka05's review against another edition

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3.0

This was really creepy and thought-provoking at the same time, especially when comparing it to the events of the time period. If it was written today, I doubt it would have the same effect and I probably wouldn't read it either, hence the only three star rating. Still, it's a short read and an enjoyable use of time.

loonyboi's review against another edition

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4.0

I enjoyed this a lot. It's aged very, very well for the most part. The end felt like a terrible cop-out to me, but otherwise quite good.