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The Ninth Configuration

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  373 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Hidden away in a brooding Gothic manor in the deep woods is Center Eighteen, a secret military “rest camp” currently housing twenty-seven inmates, all officers who have succumbed to a sudden outbreak of mental illness. Have the men truly lost their minds, are they only pretending to be insane to avoid combat, or is some more sinister conspiracy at work?

Desperate for answer
...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published April 29th 2014 by Tor Books (first published January 1st 1966)
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Viji Sarath (Bookish endeavors)
My second reading of the author. His first book is something I still adore,so I had high expectations of this book. And it wasn't out of place. This book presents an interesting journey into the human mind,and so at places we get much confused. At times,I even felt irritated. But patience always present good results. And it did in this case too. The second twist was something that came out of blue. Never did I imagine that Kane would act in such a way. As a story,this looks better to me than 'th ...more
Richard Kelly
Twinkle Twinkle Killer Kane, later re-titled The Ninth Configuration tells the headache inducing story of a military psychologist who is sent to a military nut house to deal with some military psychos who were supposed to go into space, but suddenly became crazy.

This is a tough book to rate because it is riddled with good and bad. The overall story is painfully predictable with a couple unexpected twists. But, at the same time the author does a great job of explaining the thought process of the
...more
Matthew Baker

I am chagrinned to admit I have never read nor seen THE EXORCIST, which is the title most people know William Peter Blatty for. I consistently see it at the top of Best Horror lists, for both book and movie form, therefore I consider that reason enough to dub the man a horror icon. As such, when the fine folks at Tor reached out to see if I was interested in reviewing another of his books, THE NINTH CONFIGURATION, I jumped at the chance. After all, what horror fan wouldn’t? I’m so glad I did; th
...more
Fiction State Of Mind
Blatty is best known for his 1971 novel The Exorcist. The ninth configuration was the basis of the classic film Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer, Kane. Blatty revisited the original work and it resulted in this novel. Despite the spectacularly dark cover this is not a Horror novel. From the opening pages the reader is drawn into the strange world of a military rest camp. This gothic mansion houses twenty-seven inmates who may or may not truly be crazy. They all form a cacophony of personalities and voic ...more
Kenneth Starcher
Before he became famous with The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty was known, primarily, for comedy and farce. This is evident with Twinkle, Twinkle, "Killer" Kane. In a classic horror actor's old house, the military has gathered some of its craziest individuals, turning the house into a strange sort of asylum, where the inmates are encouraged to act out their delusions by their new psychologist, Hudson Kane. As the story unfolds, though, we, the reader, are not necessarily supposed to believe anyt ...more
Brian
TTKK is a truly remarkable book, albeit one with very little intrinsic value. It's about Colonel Hudson Kane, who comes to the Bela Slovik mansion as a famous psychologist tasked with "curing" its nutty Air Force inmates, among whom is the astronaut who flaked out prior to America's first mission to the moon. Kane, however, doesn't much act like a psychologist and Cutshaw, the astronaut, doesn't appear to be entirely batty. Things aren't exactly what they seem.

Before he wrote The Exorcist, Willi
...more
Jason
It's such a wonderfully rare feeling to pick up a book and from the very first page you are instantly hooked. William Peter Blatty's "The Ninth Configuration" is one of these books for me where I just could not put it down and ended up finishing it in one sitting. I've always been a fan of brevity, and Blatty does not disappoint. He delivers a well-written and devastating story with such vividly memorable characters, focusing on mental illness wrapped around religious discourse and anti-war sent ...more
Printable Tire
I read this book in one sitting last night, which makes sense since it is written like the outline of a movie script, with just a little helpful description and all of the story told in dialogue.

I thought it was going to be a horror novel going by the cover of the copy I had, but instead it plays out sort of like a mix between Catch 22 and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and I think one of those Animal House-style posters, with all the different crazy characters doing crazy hijinks (which is ap
...more
Lukas Evan
weird book that was made into a weird movie with Stacy Keach and directed by none other than W.P. Blatty, the author of "The Exorcist." The jacket calls it "Catch-22" meets "Spellbound," but it's more "Catch-22" meets Fuller's "Shock Corridor" meets a not very good book. Also, A.P. tells you to "fasten your set-belt" for this book, but I don't think reading and driving is very safe.
Martin
Dec 08, 2009 Martin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adventurous readers
The first couple of chapters had my head spinning- Childish Generals; Priggish Senators; Paranoid Computers... to say the least. And then I under stood: Everyone in this book, a book about a military airmen's sanatorium, is crazy!

Blatty's writing is engaging, once this initial challenge become clear, and as the reader, you choose to enter the madness and accept the reality that Colonel Kane enters. Chosen to get the airmen back into active service, the question Kane has to answer is who is craz
...more
Arleen Radner
This is nothing like "the Exorcist", but is so much better. At once sharply witty and poignant, it is the story of war veterans in an asylum who are suffering from varying degrees of PTSD. This is a short read and very well written.
Bill
This was a very quick read from the man who gave us The Exorcist.
It was pretty good, although I feel it could have been more fleshed out
as far as characterization was concerned.
There were several characters that flitted in an out of the story that
I would have liked to have known better. Psychologically damaged
characters are invariably the best on paper.

One page in particular very much moved me, and this is why I'm rating
this book 4 stars instead of 3. It is where Kane explains his belief of an a
...more
Andy
The 1980 film adaptation, also by Blatty, is a scene-for-scene, nearly line-for-line remake of the novella. It's by far the most faithful book-to-movie adaptation I've ever come across.
Jon Weidler
It may be nonsense, but at least it's well-written nonsense. But nonsense is nonsense, and 238 pages of nonsense can get tedious, no matter the talents of William Peter Blatty. In "The Ninth Configuration," a later novel that repurposes the characters and scenario found here, the author even issues a disclaimer that essentially conveys that "Twinkle, Twinkle, "Killer" Kane" was written for the money, and really isn't very good. Well...at least Blatty had the humility to admit it. "Configuration" ...more
Aaron
A short and vital examination of fragility. By keeping the narrative short we aren’t repeatedly bludgeoned with the same thesis as will often be found in other philosophical novels. The brevity causes you to concentrate on the discussion of the mechanism of faith and the need for redemption that lies at the book’s core. It is immediately understood that if you don’t pay attention you will miss out on some golden ideas that will not be repeated. There is a lot of meat for such a short read and it ...more
Ward Mallon
It was ok. Finished better than the first half. I got tired of reading about how crazy the inmates were. I got it, they were crazy, stop hitting me over the head with it.

Nice quick read, more of a novella than a novel.

I have yet to read a Blatty book that even remotely approaches The Exoricist.
Abrar AlFouzan
This is not a novel. I have no idea what I just read. Silly, weird line of words!
Owen Spencer
The Ninth Configuration is a compelling book about the nature of psychopathology and malingering. It is a very surreal and intelligent story about a psychiatrist's unorthodox method of curing the severe mental health problems of soldiers who suddenly became psychotic (or pretended to be). It's part Heart of Darkness, part One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, part Stephen King, and part Dostoevsky. It's only 130 (or so) pages long and definitely worth reading. [Note to sensitive readers: this book co ...more
Mikecarp
This is a great read. It's a reworking of Blatty's earlier novel, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane." Both novels are a discussion the horrors of war, how we protect our fragile minds and the existence of God. This one is a little less slapstick as Killer Kane, but just as effective. The Ninth Configuration was made into the movie with Stacy Keach and much of the dialogue comes right from the book. So those reviews that say it reads like a script are right. Good book and a great, thought-provoking ...more
Mariela Gomez omil
Interesting insight into insanity
Eleanore
What a fantastically, uniquely, darkly funny book. Short and not exactly sweet, but a very satisfying read all the same. Wonderful. Must hunt down a copy of Twinkle Twinkle Killer Kane to watch now.
Sally Bisbee
This is an absolutely amazing book and the movie that was made from the book is pretty amazing as well! The movie was Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane with Stacy Keach. It was actually one of the few movies that wasn't a complete abomination when it came to sticking fairly close to the theme of the book. Alas, I still preferred the book, but I usually do.

I think you should get both and draw your own conclusions. :)
Michael
Truly enjoyed this very short read. The first 75% could have been scripted by the Marx Bros. In fact had they been performing when this book was released they would have made a movie of it. The dialogue and crazy antics taking place at the "mansion" are hilarious. It is Catch 22 and MASH rolled into one.
The last quarter gets down to business with a truly satisfying ending.
Metaphysical and thought provoking.
Daniel
Based on his own novel, Twinkle, Twinkle Killer Kane, Peter Blatty wrote The Ninth Configuration screenplay - directed the film and even took a minor role in it. This screenplay is the blueprint to one of the weirdest, most original, funniest and most harrowing films ever. Great performances, far out, in fact, great dialogue, wonderful monologues - quite a unique tale from beginning to end - read it, watch it!
Chris
This is a one day read. At just under 90 pages (if I remember correctly) it still weighs in as one heavy book. Through the daily eccentricities of an assortment of mental patients, in particular Capt. Billy Cutshaw and the ward's new psychiatrist, Col. Kane, Blatly confronts the age old question of God’s existence with surprising inventiveness.
Michael
A story set in an old mansion with a group of characters who seem mad. They act in wild manner and only listen when the order is accompanied by the words "Simon Says."
The mansion is Bela Slovic's house, modeled after the home in his vampire movie.

The writing was a mix of hodge podge and the story was unreadable. Could not finish the book.
Sean
A short, almost play-like novel that examines some metaphysical and faith-based issues. The dialogue is fantastic. The story is somewhat predictable but the interactions between the characters are hilarious and thought-provoking. Although it's by the author of The Exorcist, it's not a horror novel.
Tom
Research on Blatty's less successful book/movie "John Goldfarb Please Come Home" made me revisit this. I loved this movie (aside from a certain aspect of the climactic scene, and I feel the same way about the book. It won't automatically make you a believer, but it will make you think.
John Bruni
I wasn't too thrilled with this one. Then again, I didn't have high hopes going in. It was a fairly funny story with an oddly dark and twisted ending. Under the right circumstances, this could have been another CATCH-22. Sadly, Blatty can't pull it off.
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William Peter Blatty is an American writer and filmmaker. He wrote the novel The Exorcist (1971) and the subsequent screenplay version for which he won an Academy Award.
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