The Body Snatchers

Jack Finney
The Body Snatchers Cover

The Invasion of the Body Snatchers - 1978


Started this last night, finished the last few chapters this morning. A very quick read, the story keeps driving forward. A caveat - I haven't seen any of the movies. Scenes and sections only.

The Body Snatchers was originally published in three parts in Collier's magazine. The main character is Dr Miles Bennell, and the novel is told entirely from his perspective. While not the first to encounter the pods, he is in the right spot to put pieces of the story together. In the process of doing this, he vacillates in a very human way about the best way to deal with this - he strongly considers giving up more than once. In the end, though, it is his resistance that saves the day.

The version I read was the author's 1978 edit of the novel, with a few minor changes (Santa Mira became Mill Valley, the year moved to 1976, the title, etc.). Jack Finney even drops a reference to his 1970 novel Time and Again, which gave me a smile.

Not changed, unfortunately, are some of the flaws. Becky Driscoll, the love interest, is barely more than paper thin. The biology (science?) of the pods contains much hand waving, and the deterioration of the town seems to have been an afterthought.

In summary, this is a solid 5 star book with some flaws, a fast read and well recommended. I now plan to check out one or two of the films - though I will probably avoid the most recent version.