I wasn't too sure about this book at first... I'd seen bits and pieces of the movie and thought if it was anything like that I probably wouldn't like it. But I took a chance and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The book hooks you from the very first sentence and wraps you in a blanket of mystery. It was very hard to put this one down and I recommend it to any and everyone.
This was a deal of the day and one of the best values I've come across to date. Excellently written, excellently performed, and totally unnoticeable production (that's the best thing you can say about production values).
Get it. Hear it. Love it.
. . .today is the first day of . . .
This was the first time I listened to the original story --and so glad I did.
The horror and suspense builds so slowly- so deliciously - it was a straight through listen with no breaks- what a great production!
The small town of Mill Valley California is about to be invaded. It isn't clear if these invaders are evil and threatening, or possibly some other type of creature - maybe coming to earth to save us from ourselves? The anxiety is there either way. The movie version differs in some ways- the movie was great in it's own way- but I still like listening better.
Dr. Miles Bennell is confronted with bizarre stories from some of his patients that people they know, or are related to, are somehow not themselves. They are convinced that family members are absolutely identical to the real people, but aren't them. He discounts this as a type of mass hysteria or something else- but certainly not to be believed. He is in for a wild ride.
The narration is a big part of the pure enjoyment of this book. An interesting twist --Kristoffer Tabori is the son of Don Siegel, who directed the 1956 film. Mr. Tabori is an amazing narrator.
Another spooky listen for October.
Live on edge of National Forest with lake, birds & wild animals. No more perfect place to indulge life-long love of reading.
There is a mini-prologue at the beginning of chapter 1. I made a mental note to relisten to this again after finishing the book. I did, and came darn close to listening to the whole book all over again ... such is the magic of Kristoffer Tabori's narration. I also strongly recommend listening to the epilogue. Tabori is the son of the director who made the first film version of this book. Much is explained during that interview.
Many have surmised that this book was a philosophical exposition on McCarthyism and/or Commies Under Every Bed scares in the 50's. That interested me and I looked for that theme while listening. I couldn't find that connection and thought that was too much of a stretch to explain what some of the characters called mass hysteria. Tabori confirms that his father wasn't focused on our troubled history.
Back to my fascination with the narration, which I believe to be more than fully justified. Tabori's enactment of this book made me feel that an older, wiser man has wandered into my library (or den or family room, you get my point) late on a stormy night; as he sits down in front of my hearth with roaring fire, beverage in hand, he leans forward and rather thoughtfully starts to tell me the story of what happened to him when he was a much younger town doctor in Mill Valley, Ca. He maintains this ambience throughout the book.
The story isn't exactly neat and wrapped up at the end, which may be exactly the right note. It seems that the author's intent is to leave his audience wondering ... could it really have happened ... could it really come again?
If you decide to listen, set aside some time. This one is hard to stop once you get started.
"Do not start this audiobook unless you have 6hrs free to sit and listen!" Excellent novel, superb reading by Mr. Tabori. Really cannot praise this audiobook highly enough.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers / B002VACTHE
I bought this audiobook on the recommendation of a friend and I'm still uncertain how to rate it, especially as I haven't rated the book text itself elsewhere. I'll try to address both here, the book content and the quality of the audio book.
The audiobook itself is quite good. The narration is strong and does a lot to flesh out the narration voice -- indeed, I think the narrator manages to make an otherwise forgettable or even unlikeable character very sympathetic. The wry humor and deep weariness of the narrative voice comes through loud and clear, and it does a lot towards creating the atmosphere that this book is trying to evoke: when a major plot point is that the weary heroes cannot sleep or all will be lost, it's a plus to have a weary-sounding narrator. And it works very well as a whole.
The book itself I'm less enthused over. I recognize that this is a book from the 1950s and was revolutionary in its own way, but sometimes it doesn't feel like it has aged well. There's some casual misogyny here that may be distracting to the reader, and the heroes don't always face their apocalypse very sensibly. Readers will figure out major plot points long before the characters do, which makes them sometimes seem willfully obtuse. (This is one of the unfortunate side-effects of modern readers being genre-savvy to this form of literature, I suppose.)
Early in the stages of the apocalypse, the reasons given for why the heroes can't go to the authorities for help seem sort of flimsy, culminating at a point where they manage to call someone in Washington in order to register concern only to be talked out of it because, meh, it all seems kind of silly so nevermind. I get that this is supposed to be a commentary on the inefficient authorities against internal threats, but you'd think once you got through the phone lines, you'd at least TRY to register that stuff is about to go very, very badly.
Overall, if you already know you enjoy this book, I think you'll be pleased with the audiobook version. If you've heard of the book because it was groundbreaking for its time, and if you don't mind some of the usual flaws of 1950s science fiction -- genre-ignorant characters and sometimes very slow pacing -- then you may well enjoy this book. I give it 3 stars for the text and 5 stars for the narration itself.
~ Ana Mardoll
Kristoffer played all the characters very well but I liked the main character the best. You can tell he envisioned the scene and channeled the character's emotions through the tone of his voice.
I never saw the movie but Im glad I heard this audio instead.
I've always loved this story, and the narrator does a fabulous job - he's just perfect for it. The interview at the end is interesting too :)
I've always loved the old black-and-white movie and thought it would be fun to read the book. I was not disappointed. A bonus interview at the end of this audio recording proved very interesting, too, as it speaks to both the book and that original movie.