Sunday, July 02, 2006

Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney

 (Book Review)

Surprise! This book is actually pretty well written. Despite its title being synonymous with B-movies, the original book demonstrates that Jack Finney has a lot of talent.

I know many of you will question my literary tastes, but I challenge you to just read the first couple pages and look at what skill the author sets up his characters with. Then, for comparisons sake, read a couple pages of something from the “Left Behind” series.

My only problem is with the plot. For one thing it moves pretty slowly. I guess most of that is intentional, but it’s always annoying when it takes the main characters a long time to realize something the reader knows from page one. The main characters realize very early on that many of their friends just don’t seem the same, but don’t realize the truth until much later in the book when the evidence is absolutely overwhelming. Which I suppose is probably how things would be in real life. Most sane people wouldn’t realize it was an alien invasion until they had exhausted all other possibilities.

I think (and I’m just thinking off the cuff here) that perhaps there has been an evolution in science fiction writing. Modern readers are so sick of the main characters taking forever to realize what they already know that modern writers short circuit a lot of the plausible disbelief, and have characters jump to conclusions a lot sooner. But again, that’s just off the cuff.

The other problem is that after all the build-up, the ending is anti-climatic, and seems a little bit deus-ex-machina. Somewhat like the “War of the Worlds” ending. Just when it looks like all is lost, all of a sudden.....(Well, I won’t give away the ending, but if you’ve read “War of the Worlds” it’s not all that dissimilar). Although, given the enormous odds against which the main characters had to fight, I was thinking that the final ending would be something like that. There was no way they could have won in a straight fight.

Useless Wikipedia Fact
Perhaps most controversial of all of Mark Twain's work was the 1879 humorous talk at the Stomach Club in Paris, entitled "Some Thoughts on the Science of Onanism", which concluded with the thought, "If you must gamble your lives sexually, don't play a lone hand too much." This talk was not published until 1943, and then only in a limited edition of fifty copies
Link of the Day
Media coverage of Iraq debate steeped in GOP talking points

Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney: Book Review (Scripted)

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