There’s a mental epidemic going around Mill Valley. People are saying that their loved ones that they’ve known for years are not the genuine article. That they’re somehow fakes, copies. A frightening idea that becomes even more so when it’s discovered they’re right.
This book was fun. It was pulpy, old school science fiction. Not a perfect story by any means, as there were a couple of hitches and the writing style wasn’t spectacular and it got cheesy in spots. Yet I enjoyed it a lot. That’s simple personal preference. I happen to have a lot of affection for science fiction that can be a little loose with its science and focuses on intrigue and adventure.
Admittedly, there were some moments when it seemed that the main characters had conveniently forgotten things they’d witnessed before. Or when, and this is a sin I can’t forgive, without any evidence whatsoever, a character jumps to some insane conclusion. And they’re right. Miles, the narrator and local doctor, conjectures at one point that if he autopsied the body of an unawakened pod person, he’d find A, B, and C. He never does it. It’s never confirmed. But of course he must be right. That’s… a crock, really. No one is that damn good.
One of the saving graces was Miles himself. I know I just bashed him a little up there, but ultimately as a narrator, he was clever and witty and fun to read. I found that I liked him as a person, and it made me root for him. In a story where the odds are against the heroes ever escaping, let alone winning, that’s all it takes to keep you reading to the end. Because, yeah, I wanted to see Miles and Becky make it out of there. With all its faults, which I consider mostly minor, it did that at least.
Also, in a related note, I watched the 1956 film adapted from the book. It was pretty close to the book’s events with some exceptions, including the ending. In some cases, it was quoting the book directly, which impressed me. The plot holes in the book were dealt with smoothly, as well. It was good (and short) if you want to try out some classic science fiction. I say this as someone who doesn’t watch a lot of older movies, but I can vouch for this one.