Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Puppet Masters” as Want to Read:
The Puppet Masters
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Puppet Masters

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  20,407 ratings  ·  332 reviews
First came the news that a flying saucer had landed in Iowa. Then came the announcement that the whole thing was a hoax. End of story. Case closed.

Except that two agents of the most secret intelligence agency in the U.S. government were on the scene and disappeared without reporting back. Then four more follow up agents also disappeared. So the head of the agency and his t
ebook, Complete and Uncut Version
Published 2009 by Baen Books (first published January 1st 1951)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Puppet Masters, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Puppet Masters

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Evil, slug-like aliens land on Earth. They attach themselves to people and take over their minds. After a while, everyone has to walk around completely naked, so that you can spot the ones who have a slug attached.

I just can't understand why Paul Verhoeven didn't film this. He could have combined Starship Troopers and Showgirls into one movie, and both he and the rest of the world would have been happier. My guess is that he discovered the book too late, and has been kicking himself ever since.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I have no problem with dated things. I do not hold against a past time its inability to miraculously speak to my present. I enjoy trying to crawl into the context of a different reader who may have lived decades or centuries ago and to imagine their responses to what I am reading...or to imagine what rules the author tried to follow or break, as the case may be. I seek this kind of exercise in books, art, film,'s one of the many reasons why I dig old stuff.

So, regarding The Puppet Ma
Mike (the Paladin)
This and Glory Road are maybe my favorite Heinlein novels. The movie of this one tried to be true to the story but failed to capture the spark present in this book. One of the better and also most original invasion novels out there.

Update: My attention brought back to this one, so I thought I'd include a "by the way".

If you noted my "shelves" you might have noted I included the "Spy-Fi" shelf for this one. The story is told from the point of view of "Sam" a character who puts me much in mind of
Últimamente en mis reseñas describo lo que me ha parecido la obra con una frase o más bien una palabra; en éste caso sería: una obra IMPRESCINDIBLE para cualquier lector en general, y para los amantes del género en particular.
El porqué, pues por ser un gran libro con una excelente historia, bien narrado y construido, con un ritmo envidiable y un excelente desarrollo, interesante en todas sus partes y a lo largo de la obra sin desfallecer en ningún momento, con unos buenos personajes, eso en gen
Alien invasion? Fifties paranoia? Mind control?
After a visit to the British Library’s Out of this World Exhibition in London, I was suddenly reminded that I hadn’t read this Heinlein for a long while.

And indeed I haven’t read it in its ‘uncensored’ version, which was published in 1990 with the tale increased from about 60 000 words to 96 000.

So: it was time to revisit!

Puppet Masters is Heinlein’s version of an alien invasion tale, written at a time when such tales were popular in film and in pr
The audio reading was pretty good, but I didn't care for the story as much as I recall. There was so much dated about it, both the technology & the sexism.

Heinlein's never been great at characterization - some have said he only has one main one & I think they have a good point. In this one, we saw that character as a 30 year old & an older version, plus a sort of female one. Mary was tough, but too much the demur 50's gal from the ads. The technology was kind of fun in a pulp way. P
Kat  Hooper
Unfriendly aliens from Titan have arrived on Earth and are planning to conquer us. To do this, the slug-like beings latch onto the backs of their human hosts and take over their bodies and minds. The aliens are rapidly spreading in the Midwest and they’ve managed to infiltrate the Treasury Department. To make world domination go even faster and easier, they’re planning to get the President of the United States. That’s why Sam Cavanaugh, secret agent, has been called in from his vacation. He’s te ...more
Mary E
I read this book as a teen, and so did Dad. It's fun to read a book written in 1951 that tries to predict the future year 2007. Back then, the 2000s seemed impossibly far away. In this book we now have flying cars that can also run on the ground, colonies on the moon and Mars, and watches on our fingers. But only three communication satellites! (I guess three seemed enough to cover the whole world. One of them would always be above the horizon.) World War III has happened, but the Soviets are st ...more
An invasion of Earth via means of 'slugs' which attach themselves to people and control their actions. The story is told from the viewpoint of an elite government agent looking back on the situation as it was discovered.

Lacking the sensawunda of his juveniles, or any particularly interesting speculative idea, this is a fairly rote alien invasion. There is some frustration at the idiocy on display at times - they recover alive a person with a slug attached, detach the slug, then have a big moral
Oct 16, 2010 Bill rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes a good story
Robert Heinlein writes an excellent sci fi story, but also just a darn good page turner. The movie wasn't a classic, but my daughter and I still enjoy watching. The book is great, with gritty secret agent battling invading aliens and protecting his family. Great.
Another Heinlein masterpiece. It's always funny when there is a date specified for the action in the book - which in this case was over 50 years in the future, but currently 5 years in my past!
Gilbert M.
When I was in the ninth grade I joined the Science Fiction Book Club and got my first five books for a dollar. One of those books was called “A Heinlein Trio” and the first of the stories was “The Puppet Masters” by Robert Heinlein. It was the second Heinlein book I read (the first was “Between Planets” which was serialized as a comic book in “Boy’s Life” magazine) and it’s a great example of Heinlein writing exciting stories built on themes he cared strongly about—the importance of the individu ...more
Slug-like alien invaders who land and take over Des Moines, Iowa, 50s-style cold war paranoia, wise-cracking secret super agents, and a totally hot red-headed babe with deadly weapons concealed on a voluptuous body who is strong-willed but still totally subservient to our intrepid, tough-talking hero Sam. Yes, that would be a Robert Heinlein book, this one first published back in 1951. Apparently this was the extended version, and I guess they just stuffed back all the embarrassingly-bad, sexy r ...more
I can't remember the last time I blew through a book this fast. It's no wonder this is considered a sci-fi masterpiece. The human race is being invaded by parasitic slug-like creatures from Saturn's moon, Titan - clearly a thinly veiled analogy for mind control and overreaching government power. Sam is a government agent recruited to help eradicate the infestation. The Old Man is his superior (in more ways than one) and Mary is his partner (again, in more ways than one). The style is simple, str ...more
I don't like spies, I hate secret agencies. I never enjoyed OO7 or Mission Impossible. Accordingly, all the parodies like Ostin Powers or MiB were absolutely not funny for me.

So when I started few days ago Puppet Masters (my first Heinlein book, at the age of 32 :)))) I thought I won't be able to finish.

But at some point I got sucked into it. The metaphore is rather clear: slug green aliens, climbing on the backs of normal people and controling their minds are commies (hundereds of hints about t
Nancy Oakes
Predating Invasion of the Body Snatchers by about 5 years, Puppet Masters tells the story of the discovery of an alien life form taking control of people on Earth, invading their bodies then their minds. Life goes on, it seems, once this happens, but of course, no one wants to be possessed by a blob of gray matter leaving them with a hump on their backs!

I love sci-fi written in the 50s and 60s; it illuminates the climate of paranoia that became SOP at the beginnings of the Cold War. The story is
Mike (the Paladin)
I reviewed and rated the print version of this book earlier. I first "read" it when I was 14 or 15 and I've read it several times since. Recently I got this "Playaway" version from the library and I am doing a separate review as....the reader really pulls the rating down. I considered going all the way to 3, but it is still a pretty good book. So, okay good novel...poor reader. The reader of this book for some reason felt it was necessary to pause often. He paused almost between each sentence an ...more
Sep 19, 2010 Peter rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: science fiction fans
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tim Jin
Even over 60 years after Robert A. Heinlein published "The Puppet Master", I don't feel it is dated. I feel like it is something from a 1930's comic strip, but with science fiction. The story has this decor art feel to it. It's hard to explain, but I just imagine most of the characters wearing trench coats, fearing the slugs would get them, invading their brains. This book is a blast in the past and it shows Mr. Heinlein's imagination. At the time, he was born at the turn of the 20th century. Th ...more
Not too dated for 60+ years old, in fact some of the personal telephone business seems just this side of psychic. The rockets never came to pass, as such, but it isn’t hard to sub them for planes and call it a day. The only other thing I can see some folks would have trouble with is the use of real dates, that have since come and gone without the stated things happening.

The Puppet Masters is the Body Snatchers, with more imagination, fewer inconsistencies, oh, and 4 years earlier on the release.
This is the origin of the parasitic aliens take control of human actions trope adapted by such fine works of literature as Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I generally like seeing where this kind of trope originates, but this is hard to read because of the sexism.

Heinlein posits a need to defend against aliens that can take over humans by touch that, surprise surprise, involves compulsory nudity. He makes no exploration of what it would mean for women to find themselves in a situation where any
Miguel Angel Alonso Pulido
La ciencia ficción de los años 40 y 50 tiene un encanto especial y no es casualidad que los tres grandes de la ciencia ficción (Asimov, Clarke y Heinlein) hayan publicado buena parte de su producción en ese periodo. Esta novela no es de las más importantes o conocidas de Heinlein; Forastero en tierra extraña, Tropas del espacio o La Luna es una cruel amante son mejores y más famosas. Pero para mí guarda un encanto especial, ya que es de las primeras novelas de ciencia ficción que recuerdo haber ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Книга представляет собой типичный экшн, этакую поделку под литературу, готовый сценарий для зрелищного фильма, но весьма посредственное чтиво. Характеры весьма условны, сюжет предсказуем и пара твистов не делают его интереснее. Инопланетяне прилетели, стали захватывать землян, крутой мэн из ЦРУ подключил своего героического сынка и красивую девицу, хранящую страшную тайну. Девица и сынок полюбили друг друга и стали сражаться бок о бок и в конце – вот неожиданность! – победили. Типичная жвачка дл ...more
SciFi Kindle
Before reading this, I didn't realize I hadn’t read a NON-juvenile Heinlein novel- I was beginning to think they all had spunky pre-teen protagonists thrown into gee-whiz scenarios where they nonetheless manage to outshine the adults. My previous two RAH novels, “Time for the Stars” and “Have Space Suit, Will Travel”, share all the same 1950’s cultural colorations seen here, but are restrained in their violence, profanity, and sexual content due to his audience. Reading Heinlein less restrained ...more
Libro un pochino deludente questo di Heinlein, poichè si colloca un po' banalmente nel campo degli invasori extraterrestri difficilmente indentificabili. Questa volta tocca a delle masse informi provenienti da Titano che si attaccano alla colonna vertebrale degli uomini per prenderne il totale controllo. In tutto questo mettiamoci, il classico eroe di turno a cui va' sempre tutto bene e che riesce a trovare di botto il modo per eliminarli senza uccidere gli umani controllati. Heinlein adotta uno ...more
This book has a great premise and interesting setting, in the then distant future 2007, but the characters and some of the dwelling on the details bogged down this sci-fi, alien invasion novel (maybe I would have liked the originally published, shorter version better). Alien parasites invade the Earth and immediately cover up their own invasion, a secret spy organization uncovers the plot, struggles to convince the powers that be in the government that it is real, fight the invaders, face a setb ...more
The puppet masters are alien race who came from the Saturn’s moon Titan to Earth to avert humans. Their ships carrying the slugs, small creatures sticking themselves to man’s back and spinal cord to control him, landed mostly in the USA.

A special agent Sam with his agent-partner and future wife Mary is sent to where one of the ships is landed. They learn the slugs can have the power of host. The slugs can think and act the same way as humans do. The purpose of the parasites is to disrupt humans
I was entertained and really enjoyed the fact that it was written over half a century ago but set in today's future. The predictions of future society were interesting, sometimes cute, sometimes eerily true. It got slow in some parts but made up for it in the ending. What bothered me the most was the character of Mary and her submissiveness. The fact that the book was written during a time period that wasn't nearly as progressive as the one we live in today doesn't excuse it's sexism. However, I ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Classic Trash: * The Puppet Masters: Finished (Spoilers) 3 3 Nov 10, 2012 06:00AM  
Classic Trash: * The Puppet Masters: In Progress (No Spoilers) 13 9 Nov 03, 2012 04:40PM  
  • Mindbridge (Collector's Edition)
  • Gray Lensman (Lensman, #4)
  • One Lonely Night
  • A Mirror for Observers
  • Earth Is Room Enough
  • Protector (Known Space)
  • Islands in the Sky
  • Mission of Gravity (Mesklin, #1)
  • The Space Merchants (The Space Merchants #1)
  • The Weapon Shops of Isher
  • A Case of Conscience (After Such Knowledge, #4)
  • Way Station
Robert Anson Heinlein was an American novelist and science fiction writer. Often called "the dean of science fiction writers", he is one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of "hard science fiction".

He set a high standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality. He was the first SF writer to break into mainstre
More about Robert A. Heinlein...
Stranger in a Strange Land Starship Troopers The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress Time Enough for Love (The World As Myth) Friday

Share This Book

“Horace was a nice little guy who looked like one of his own baboons; he turned me over to a Doctor Vargas who was a specialist in exotic biologies--the same Vargas who was on the Second Venus Expedition. He told me what had happened and I looked at the gibbons, meantime rearranging my prejudices.” 5 likes
“Time was when I was immune to emotional shocks. But as I get older, I don't get tougher; I get softer.” 2 likes
More quotes…