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The Puppet Masters

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  22,236 ratings  ·  387 reviews
Earth was being invaded by aliens and the top security agencies were helpless: the aliens were controlling the mind of every person they encountered. So it was up to Sam Cavanaugh, secret agent for a powerful and deadly spy network, to find a way to stop them--which meant he had to be invaded himself!
Paperback, Signet 451 E8538, 175 pages
Published December 5th 1978 by Roc (first published January 1st 1951)
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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.
Tadiana ✩ Night Owl☽
Buddy read with Anne, coming up in August 2015.

I loved this old pulpy SF novel when I was a teenager. I'm a little nervous about how it will hold up on reread. But how bad can it be with a cool concept like "evil alien slugs take over your brain"???

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
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
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
The Puppet Masters: Early Heinlein at his most embarrassing
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
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 th
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
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!
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
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
A very different beast compared to Starship Troopers, more relationship based characters. Love how he manages to give his stories an epic worldwide feel and his concept of future technology is frightening at times.
Like many people of a certain age, my first experience with The Puppet Masters was not the 1951 novel by Robert Heinlein, but was the 1994 movie starring Donald Sutherland. So I had expectations when I started reading the novel. I have written in the past about how difficult I find it to read novels I have seen the movie of. I really hate it. It colors my perception of what to expect from the book and I don’t like someone else’s vision of characters to disrupt my own vision of them. Fortunately ...more
Michael Nash
I'm not sure what I expected from The Puppet Masters , but mostly I expected it to be dumber than it was. On one level, it was a fun action-adventure story, really one of the best Heinlein narratives I've ever read (in the sense that the plot never gets bogged down in whatever the hell Heinlein wants to talk about). It's also groundbreaking. I read The Animorphs as a kid, so I have a deep appreciation for the "parasite aliens who are taking over the country by invisibly controlling people" sci ...more
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.
It took me a little while to get into this book, but by the end I was glad I read it and had some appreciation for it. Not bad for 1951, and the knowing the culture and world events at that time make the book very appropriate for the age.
Acho que é hora de pausar no Heinlein. Foi uma luta terminar este livro, mas acho que tal aconteceu principalmente por minha culpa e não do livro. A história é boa e embora eu tenha mantido a curiosidade até ao fim, não passou disso. Foi um sacrificio terminar de o ler agora. Quando descobri que à versão portuguesa faltavam imensas coisas então foi para esquecer, saltei de um para o outro e ás tantas já não sabia onde andava. Parecem dois livros diferentes. fica para reler daqui a uns tempos, ta ...more
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
Fantasy Literature
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
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
Jeff Yoak
In addition to all of the traits I love in so many of Heinlein novels, the avatar, the characters, the active plot, the great characters, etc., there is a stand-out feature that impresses me. We have ET parasites who attach themselves to humans and take them over completely, dominating their will biologically. Having read other similar works and seen movies with similar mechanisms you just know that eventually the hero or heroes will be taken over and the plot will be resolved by those heroes ha ...more
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
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.
Cristián Morales
>Este libro es rarísimo. Es como Alien (1979) antes de la primer "chestburster scene". Se maneja el suspenso de una forma única, en la que en vez de aumentar el susto conforme avanza la historia, lo que aumenta es lo extraterrestre.

>Es impresionante que esto haya sido escrito en 1951.

>Heinlein tiene que haber influenciado a Ridley Scott en Alien y todo el arte de H.R. Giger.

>El inicio de la relación entre Sam y Mary me recordó un montón, pero un montón Los Expedientes Secretos X. Es
Keith Bell
A classic and I can't imagine that I will be able to say anything more relevant than what has already been said about it. I will comment though, that the Kindle edition does have a pretty boring afterword by Sarah A. Hoyt. Not saying that it is erroneous or anything but it reaches in many ways to draw inferences and conclusions beyond the story itself.
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
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Sci Fi Aficionados: * Puppet Masters - Mike the Paladin's Pick 18 26 Aug 26, 2015 03:10PM  
Classic Trash: * The Puppet Masters: Finished (Spoilers) 3 3 Nov 10, 2012 06:00AM  
Classic Trash: * The Puppet Masters: In Progress (No Spoilers) 13 10 Nov 03, 2012 04:40PM  
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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...
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