The Body Snatchers

Jack Finney
The Body Snatchers Cover

The Body Snatchers


What a good book! Well written, enthralling, an edge-of-your-seat story. This is where the phrase, 'the pod people' comes from, though I don't think that phrase is ever used in the book.

I've seen the movies, of course. Hasn't everyone? It's been years, though. I remember liking the 1950s original, with Kevin McCarthy, better than the 1970s remake with Donald Sutherland. The movies had different endings. Neither has the same ending as the book. The movie had left me with a couple of questions - How do the pods get into the peoples houses and what happens to the people's old bodies when the new pod bodies are fully formed. Now I know. One thing that bothered me, as a photographer, was when our protagonists were trying to convince others of the strange things they saw, why didn't they make photographs? Surely somebody had access to a Kodak Brownie. But then, I guess that might have given us a different story.

I had just finished The Puppet Masters by Robert A Heinlien. It too is about people being insidiously taken over, one by one, by an alien force. The Puppet Masters is good. The Invasion of the Body Snatchers is better.

I heard the audiobook version read by Kristoffer Tabori, the son of Don Segal, who directed the 1955 movie. Tabori did an absolutely first rate job of it. I think the version I heard must have been updated for the making of the second movie because in the beginning we learn that it is 1976. There are references to car year make and model and other subtle things that date the story as occurring later than the fifties. The movie theater is showing Time and Again, which was written by Jack Finney in 1970. That made me smile (It reminded me of the scene in Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life where the movie marquee shows The Bells of St. Mary's, another Capra film.) I think I would have been just as happy with the un-updated version.

This is an excellent novel. Read it!