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Publisher's Summary

A manhunt within a man. The hunter from space's depths chose Robert Kinncaid as his "host" and invaded his body, controlled his thoughts, and began the search. The Quarry was lurking in another human being somewhere. It was like searching for a needle in a haystack- a needle that carried death and destruction.

©1976 Hal Clement (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Needle

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Original and refreshingly different story!

The story is one of the most refreshingly original and unique ones I can remember having read in recent years. [*Mild spoiler alert*] It tells is the tale of an alien policeman that, in pursuing a criminal of his kind, winds up inhabiting the body of a boy on earth. He carries on the pursuit of the criminal while occupying this host. The setting is earth (Hawaii, or some other Pacific island perhaps), not outer space. The time is the recent past, not some distant future. The main characters are a normal boy and two parasites locked in a death struggle.

The story really works. I loved it. My son heard some of it, and decided he absolutely had to hear it too. Once he got a copy, he started listening immediately.

And the narrator was excellent.

Interestingly this book was, I was shocked to discover at the end of the book, originally published in 1949! You’d never have guessed. While reading it, and based on the style of the cover art, I assumed it was published in the 1970s, plus or minus a decade. Timelessness? Check!

I highly recommend this unique story to lovers of sci fi and perhaps lovers of biology-inspired sci fi more particularly.

PS: I found myself thinking it was likely this novel was the inspiration for the episode of Futurama in which, after eating a truck-stop egg salad sandwich, Fry’s body is infested with worms that heal his wounds and keep improving his mind and health ... until he kicks them out.

5 people found this helpful

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Interesting book that's aged well

I was quite surprised when I heard, at the end of the book, that the copyright date was 1950. I certainly noticed that some modern tech was lacking --cell phones, for one-- but the book didn't really seem too terribly dated beyond that.
Other than that, I found it a pretty good listen. Though not exactly an 'edge of your seat' page turner, it was nonetheless quite interesting. The characters were well fleshed out & the developing relationship between Bob & the Detective was well portrayed, with Bob being neither too terrified nor too easily accepting of his unexpected internal partner, The Detective was an interesting character as well, also complex enough to seem a real character --despite being considerably advanced in physics & as a symbiote, he (it?) nevertheless makes some mistakes with Bob, thus escaping the "omniscient alien" type that too often appears in SF.
I did get tired of the somewhat pompous tone that appears at times, most notably the various characters who refer to assorted antagonistic entities as "our friend the [whatever]". If the doctor had used the phrase "our friend the plasmodium" one more time I'd have had to do something dire to somebody.
The reader did a solid if unspectacular job.

3 people found this helpful

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A Very Well Read, Adolescent Level Science Fiction Story

"Needle" is a good, adolescent level science fiction story by Hal Clement. The protagonist is an adolescent male who needs to negotiate through a very unique set of problems. There is no profanity or obscenity. There is no romantic intrigue. I liked the story very much. I could easily follow the story simply by listening while commuting.

The narration was very good. The narrator spoke clearly with appropriate emphasis and emotion. Hal Clement is a notable author and I am glad that I am becoming familiar with his work. I am glad that I had the opportunity to listen to this audiobook and, as a parent, would not hesitate to allow adolescent age children to listen to this story.

Thank You...

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Hooray! A great novel!

Hooray! This is a great novel and recording. It is what science fiction should be, with a non anthropomorphic alien life form on earth.

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Classic hard science fiction

loved the book. entertaining from start to finish. The characters are real and likable. plot is intriguing

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Worth the listen

Intriguing story, pretty engaging, the dialogue is clunky at times but not overly so and is only distracting a few times. The story really survives on the premise, which is quite solid. worth the time I spent on it.

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Profile Image for Alun Seymour
  • Alun Seymour
  • 08-29-18

Classic post WWII sci fi

A little dated in places but thoroughly enjoyable non the less.
I shall be buying the sequel.