Wallace's Reviews > Barnabas, Quentin and the Body Snatchers

Barnabas, Quentin and the Body Snatchers by Marilyn Ross
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May 25, 2012

it was amazing
Read in February, 2012

Barnabas, Quentin and the Body Snatchers is a wonder to behold.

First things first, a translucent pink flying saucer plays a major role in this novel. There's no Scooby Doo reveal at the end where the UFO is shown to be a pie plate covered in phosphorescent paint. It's not a dream or an hallucination. There's a goddamn flying saucer parked in the swamps outside Collinwood.

I love the Marilyn Ross novels, not just because they were some of my first entry points into reading (and were my introduction to Dark Shadows) but because they often shows signs of genuinely good writing. Yes, they were cranked out at a breakneck pace by a writer who had almost no experience with the television show. The Dark Shadows novels are the definition of hack work by any measure. Ross (whose real first name was Dan) sticks to a basic Jane Eyre formula in the series, but there are lots of good character moments spread throughout. And the casual disregard for the television continuity always provides pleasant surprises. I consider the novels to be a "parallel timeline" that went unexplored by the television show.

But Barnabas, Quentin and the Body Snatchers sees Ross veering far, far afield from Charlotte Bronte. This isn't a book report so I'm going to keep the summary brief: Murdoch Gray, a college chum of Roger Collins, visits Collinwood with his daughter, Marjorie. Gray is a NASA scientist who is planing a manned U.S. spaceflight that has earned the unwelcome attention of the planet Velva.

Velva has dispatched a flying saucer and several agents to persuade Gray that it would be in our best interest to keep our rockets parked until we learn a little more maturity. They land their translucent pink flying saucer in the swamps outside Collinwood and put Plan 10 from Outer Space into motion (which involves kidnapping residents of Collinwood and replacing them with alien duplicates.)

But wait! There's more!

Gray's daughter has fallen in love with a mysterious rock star named Jim James, who has somehow launched a successful recording career without ever having had a single photograph taken of his face. James turn out to be none other than Quentin Collins, who had been run out of Collinsport after some werewolf-related business in an earlier book. And the townsfolk are none too happy to see him. Even though he's CLEARLY Quentin Collins he constantly insists that he's not, telling one person "I'm Jim James, a singer. And I've got the identification to prove it." OK, then.

This book tells the story of a vampire and a werewolf rock star who team up to fight aliens from the planet Velva. How have you lived on this planet for so long without having read this book?

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