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(Invasion of) The Body Snatchers: 01/13/07

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The original title when published in 1955 was The Body Snatchers but the 1956 film forever changed the name in the mind of popular culture to Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The version of I read (for a BookCrossing bookray) was retooled in the 1978 and flushed out from a novella to a full length novel and has the movie title. It also has the ugliest cover art for a science fiction cover I've seen in a long time (but Sean thought the missing noses and mouths were funny).

This updated version also brings the story forward to the mid 1970s (noted mostly in the models of cars described in the books). These little changed details are minor annoyances in an otherwise fascinating tale of domino effect style invasion that ultimately ends in total ecologic destruction. The book uses science fiction and horror elements to question broader themes of culture, immigration and xenophobia.

Best of all, the story takes place in the Bay Area (Mill Valley and Marin mostly). Often times when the Bay Area is used as a setting, geographical areas get moved around or mushed together either for plot reasons or just laziness. Thankfully Sausalito this time is on the correct side of the Golden Gate bridge. This added realism made the story all the more enjoyable (and scary).

While the movie versions are fun, the book is better. It is more coherent and the characters are more believable.

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