What if I told you that even though the famous film and book version of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which is either about Communism or Fascism depending on who you’re asking, was predated by this Robert Heinlein book? I mean it’s obvious common knowledge, but especially for those of us who really really wanted to watch the obviously terrible 90s version of the film with Donald Sutherand and who weren’t allowed to.
But also, the novel is….weird as hell, as happens. For one, it’s aliens giving human leeches that control them. And rather than a kind of paranoaic Night of the Living Dead situation, we get a book that is expressly about alien invasion and the separate colonial spaces that form as a consequence. The version of events that Robert Heinlein narrates ends up making lots of these strange kinds of choices. For one, the idea of individualism, not control is what’s at stake. Every one eventually run around naked, so that’s a thing. And also not only is the Soviet Union still a thing in 2020 (about when it takes place) we have lots of space colonies and every one still smokes. So this book ends up more of a space aliens book with lots of weird futurism than anything much resembling a fable like warning about anything. The clarity of Jack Finney’s original book is a bit of fresh air, even if the story ends up being a little more simplistic.