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Invasion of the Body Snatchers

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  19,278 ratings  ·  917 reviews
On a quiet fall evening in the small, peaceful town of Mill Valley, California, Dr. Miles Bennell discovered an insidious, horrifying plot. Silently, subtly, almost imperceptibly, alien life-forms were taking over the bodies and minds of his neighbors, his friends, his family, the woman he loved—the world as he knew it. First published in 1955, this classic thriller of the ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published April 6th 1998 by Atria Books (first published 1955)
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 ·  19,278 ratings  ·  917 reviews


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Glenn Russell


The Body Snatchers - What a extraordinary reading experience. Much of the fascination in turning the pages derives from the reader knowing this is a novel of science fiction - watching as the men and women eventually discover the body snatchers are aliens from outer space, hardly a giveaway as even the movie and more recent publications of the book carry the title Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

The eerie atmosphere is established within the very first pages when the narrator, Dr. Miles Bennell,
...more
Jason Koivu
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi
Wow, this was waaay better than I expected it to be! Hurray for pleasant surprises!

I expected pure pulp. I figured this was a toss-off, dime-store sci-fi novel that benefited from the success of two film versions. I haven't actually sat down and watched either the 1956 or '78 movies (though I have seen The World's End, the Wright/Pegg loose take on it), so the plot hadn't been fully spoiled and reading the book would provide some surprises and a bit of entertainment. I got that and more!

If Invas
...more
Ken
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This 1950’s Sci-Fi Classic certainly evokes the time period of small town America from whence this novel was originally written, but the chilling paranoia of infiltration still resonates today.

The reader is instantly thrust into the story as Becky Driscoll explains to Doctor Miles Bennell that her cousin Wilma’s uncle Ira has been acting strangely.
He appears to be himself, but it’s he’s characteristic traits are different...
Human emotions is very central to the story.

I love that the invasion had
...more
Jon Nakapalau
One of the most original SF novels I have ever read - the undercurrent commentary on socialization and identification of 'otherness' should put this book on the shelf of anyone studying social science.
Stephen
2.5 stars. Now before you think I am about to go all RANTBO on this SF classic, let me say almost mostly partially unequivocally, that I did not DISLIKE this book. I mean I don't recall ever having a meltdown moment like this while reading it:
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It’s just that.........WAIT.........back up, I have mispoken as the above is not exactly true. There was one point in the story where DoctorDanny Kauffman, amateur physicist and apparent moron, tells our narrator that the sunlight...SUNLIGHT...shining
...more
Tim


Ah, 1950s science fiction mixed with a touch of horror... you know what that means don't you? Cold war paranoia of course! For a genre that is now established as fairly progressive, 1950s science fiction was practically a source of propaganda for the cinemas. The "keep watching the stars" and the "observe your neighbors because they might be pod people" mentality... because of course the stars were Russia and the pod people were those commies. Every proper American knew it... right? Hell, the o
...more
Carol
When my son called last night and asked what I was doing, I told him I had just finished reading Invasion of the Body Snatchers and was thinking of going down the basement to look for seed pods......(he cracked up)

I think everyone pretty much knows this story, and oh what a blast it was reading this sci-fi novel from the past. This super fast-paced work was so much better than I thought it would be and had a far different ending from the movie version I remember. If I was not already familiar wi

...more
emma
If there are any aliens reading this who are looking for a body to take over, hmu. Living is hard and I am ready to hand over that responsibility to some other life form. I will not (repeat: NOT) attempt to save the world through any self-destructive means necessary like these buffoons.

Just let me know.

Anyway this book was mildly entertaining but had a really awful boring female character (read: love interest) who almost never did anything except to cling to Our Hero's elbow and, like, make him
...more
Char
4.5 stars!

An excellent story and this narrator, Kristoffer Tabori did it justice.
Joe Valdez
Nov 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Invasion of the Body Snatchers landed in the bi-weekly fiction magazine Collier's, which published Jack Finney's story as a three-part serial over consecutive issues beginning in November 1954. Finney had already seen thirty of his short stories run in Good Housekeeping or Collier's, but the response to what was at that time titled The Body Snatchers was huge. At no point since has the "pod person" not been a part of our vernacular, with four feature films and countless spoofs and homages to rem ...more
Jim
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1audio, 2fiction, scifi, horror
2020 Review: Reading with the Evolution of SF group here:
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Again, I really liked this. Finney painted the mood & feelings wonderfully without ever bogging down which is difficult to do. I was a little disappointed by the explanation of the lack of life on other planets. It not only dated it, but also didn't make much sense. The ending was great, better than the first few movies. It was wonderfully narrated & made me think a lot about conformity. Highly recom
...more
Apatt
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pre-80s-sf, horror
“Grey-haired Miss Wyandotte, who twenty years ago had loaned me the first copy of Huckleberry Finn I ever read, looked at me, her face going wooden and blank, with an utterly cold and pitiless alienness. There was nothing there now, in that gaze, nothing in common with me; a fish in the sea had more kinship with me than this staring thing before me.”

*Shivers* Just the thing for Halloween! For my month of spooky reading, it is nice to be able to include a sci-fi horror title among the supernatura
...more
ALLEN
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
THE BODY SNATCHERS (the longer title came later) first appeared as a serial in the general-interest magazine COLLIER'S in 1954, then was published as a novel a year later. In 1956 the movie version appeared, the first of several. As a book, BODY SNATCHERS is more influential than outstanding in its prose and composition. When it first appeared, the mysterious "invading force" was seen as a metaphor for the depersonalization of Soviet Communism; two decades later for gentrification, as in the 197 ...more
P.E.
Some trove from the 50s and its brooding obsessions!
First-rate immersion thanks to the dialogue which feels like one in some good ol' corny Hollywood script! :)
Annelies
A terrifying story about alien life that takes over human beings but with always a little sprankle of hope and perseverance that humankind can be saved. Suspenseful read.
Dirk Grobbelaar
A pretty sinister book, this, containing some really creepy moments. It also happens to be written quite well, so, it goes without saying that I enjoyed it. Another forerunner of modern horror, The Body Snatchers, along with I Am Legend, pretty much set the stage for modern paranormal horror a la King, Koontz and co. Both of these books happen to be in the Science Fiction Masterworks series, as well.

There is some oddball science in here, but come on! It was written in the fifties, and still carr
...more
Marianna Neal
4.5 out of 5 stars

Well, this was an unexpected gem of a sci-fi horror novel that actually aged pretty damn well! How come nobody ever talks about this one? Creepy, thought-provoking, and well-paced, not to mention realistic and compelling characters (I particularly loved Becky). Clearly, I need to look further into this "SF Masterworks" series because it's been working out for me.
Leslie
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"We have met the enemy and he is us" Pogo (Walt Kelly)

I have seen the original version of the movie and the 1977 version of the movie and let me tell you the book is actually scarier. This is a book about fear and apathy. The kind of fear where you are paralyzed with indecision, where you recognize your own insignificance in the world and where you recognize danger of some sort but are powerless to stop it.

Apathy is in the actions of the main character. He is among the first to hear that people
...more
Ben Winch
Apr 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anglo, american, pulp
I love this story. In neither film nor book version is it perfect, but there's the kernel of something here that seems to me a modern archetype - something like Camus's The Plague but with the added intrigue that the plague in question is - or almost is - invisible. Add to this the nostalgic 50s Northern Californian small-town setting and the sense of a vanishing culture and you have something truly haunting. As to the book itself, it's workmanlike, well-crafted, warm-hearted and, though it empl ...more
The Behrg
Sep 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
“If we believe that we are just animals, without immortal souls, we are already but one step removed from pod people.”
― Jack Finney, Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Invasion of the Body Snatchers was one of the first "scary" films I can remember seeing in my youth. It's always been one of my favorites, from concept to story arc to not knowing 'who's good' or 'who's bad,' there's so much to enjoy here. As such, I'm surprised it's taken me this long to read the actual novel.

First off, the writing i
...more
Bill Lynas
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Over the years I think that I have seen every film version of this sci fi story and they range from the superb (1956 & 1978) to the good (1993) to the poor (2007). Finally I've read Jack Finney's original story & I am amazed at how great it turned out to be. The tension he creates is incredible & the dialogue between the characters pulls the reader into the story & makes an unbelievable situation seem very credible. What a classic. ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is amazing! It's classic sci-fi horror with a nostalgic, campfire feeling to it and it's certainly creepy. I mean, can you imagine being a doctor and seeing everyone around you possessed by a parasitic species? Disturbing! This book is great for something to read while traveling or camping, or even just on a stormy night.
Oleksandr Zholud
Jun 10, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a SF/horror novel about an alien invasion. It was published in 1955 and was made into movie 3 times already. I read is as a part of monthly reading for June 2020 at The Evolution of Science Fiction group.

The protagonist, Dr. Miles Bennell has his practice in Mill Valley, California. One evening, a person he knows well as quite rational, comes to him to tell that her uncle, who raised her up is not himself. Her belief in that is the only proof, for even she admits that he is perfectly th
...more
Jamie Stewart
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve always loved the concept of normality that is slightly wrong. It’s disturbing on a level that creeps under your skin and fester, that’s certainly what I experienced in reading this horror classic. The only reason it doesn’t achieve a 5 star for me is that the characters aren’t at the level were I was reading to learn about them or how they were reacting to the situations within this book instead I was reading for the concept and because of how close the film adaptation is to the book.
David Cordero
Sep 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Great sci-fi story. If you're looking for that 1950s pulp fiction-Dell publishing kind of story, you've got it. I wish I could write a story like this. The feel of it, the characters, the small town nostalgia. Excellent novel. Awesome read.
Tristram Shandy
”’We called you, Miles, because you’re a doctor, but also because you’re a guy who can face facts. Even when the facts aren’t what they ought to be. You’re not a man to knock yourself out trying to talk black into white, just because it’s more comfortable. Things are what they are with you, as we have reason to know.’”

Sounds like our protagonist, who is also the first-person narrator in this story, is quite an exceptional person in his readiness to face reality at all costs, even if this means s
...more
Lori
Jul 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Read 10/23/14
4 Stars - Strongly Recommended for the campy fun of it
Pages: 216
Publisher: Touchstone
Released: originally published in 1955



The other night, I was standing in front of my bookshelves looking for a quick read to curl up with. Something seasonally appropriate that wouldn't mush my brain or try my patience too much. And that's when I saw the yellow and white spine of Invasion of the Body Snatchers staring out at me. To be honest, I'd forgotten that I even had this book. But suddenly, it
...more
Simon
Jan 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, sf-masterworks, sf
Having not seen the film version though still having a vague idea what it was about, I was pleasantly surprised by this story. Thoroughly engaging and exciting right from the start, it is one of those books that draws you in, pulls you inexorably on and spits you out at the end.

This book tells of a kind of insidious horror that would leave us helpless, paranoid about our closest friends and family and questioning our own sanity. If someone you know looks the same, talks the same, remembers every
...more
Aiden (The Book Scourge)
This was definitely better than what I anticipated, since I already seen The World's End which is a funny, loose take on the Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Even though I may have seen most things a mile away due to the movie, the story remains to be very creepy even up to this day. While in real life, there's no chance friends and families bodies are taken over by aliens, it is however, really unnerving to feel that their demenor or behavior about them may feel "off" since, we are all creatures ...more
Larry Bassett
Sep 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I listen to this as an audible book which was delightfully and excellently read. It is the story from the 1950s that is far as I can remember I have never experienced. Probably because there is maybe no moral to the story other than man is able to solve any problems that he faces. Or maybe that you should never give up. I loved listening to it.
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Mr. Finney specialized in thrillers and works of science fiction. Two of his novels, The Body Snatchers and Good Neighbor Sam became the basis of popular films, but it was Time and Again (1970) that won him a devoted following. The novel, about an advertising artist who travels back to the New York of the 1880s, quickly became a cult favorite, beloved especially by New Yorkers for its rich, painst ...more

Articles featuring this book

Hollywood has a long-standing tradition of adapting horror novels into frightening films. From 1930s classics like Dracula and...
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“The human mind searches for cause and effect, always; and we all prefer the weird and thrilling to the dull and commonplace as an answer.” 9 likes
“If we believe that we are just animals, without immortal souls, we are already but one step removed from pod people.” 8 likes
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