I've been listening to "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" from Audible and really trying to enjoy it because I love the idea of the story. I really love retro horror because it seems to be -- and I'm basing this entirely on "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "Stepford Wives" -- entirely about the fear of being quietly replaced by an almost indistinguishable copy of the self. You yourself, the part of you that is you and unique and special, will be gone, but the world won't even know the difference. It's quite harrowing.
But because the book is pretty retro, the characters make horrible decisions because they've never heard of the horror genre, I guess. They've just now fled town because the Pod People are out to get them and sleeping is dangerous (because that's when the pods grow and replace you) and they holed up in a motel outside of town that probably isn't infected. And what do they do the next morning? If you guessed "go back into town, separate, and then walk into several obvious traps because they are too obtuse to live", give yourself 1,000 points.
Bonus points if you anticipated that the characters did not imaginatively explore the consequences of an entire town of Pod People and what that might mean in terms of a concerted hunt for them.
Here is a list of things that are keeping me from sinking as deeply in this book as I'd like:
- This book is a perfect example of Bechdel tests and why we need them. The two women characters never talk to each other (except possibly off-screen to produce dinner for the Menz) despite living in close quarters in the middle of a crisis. Each woman is owned by a man, and when more than one man is on-screen, the woman stops existing entirely. She only comes back into existence when the man is alone and needs someone to act on. Ironically, this is still one of the more female-friendly books I've read lately since at least the men sort of respect the women when they do exist. *lolsob*
- The main character thinks it's a good idea to keep the discovery of the Pod People as secret as possible because someone else might mess up the discovery in some way.
- The main character asks his military friend in Washington, D.C. to not alert anyone about the Pod People crisis because it probably wouldn't do any good.
- The main character thinks that medicating himself and his friends into heavy sleep is a good idea when Pod People who grow and replace you in your sleep are on the prowl.
- The main character thinks that visiting a professor in an infected town so as to absorb useless psychobabble about how the pods could come from space is a higher priority than escaping town.
- The main character is impressed that his friend got himself and his wife shot and captured to demonstrate the serious situation rather than abandoning the main character and legging it.
I'm on the last track of the book, and I'm pretty sure they're all going to die. It's hard for me to feel sorry for them at this point -- Earth is doomed because of their jackwagonry and they deserve their death.
UPDATE! Spoiler for ending: Nununununun. Gur znva punenpgre naq tveysevraq rfpncr orpnhfr fur pbzrf hc jvgu n cyna gung eryvrf ba uvz naq gur bgure zra orvat fghcvq naq frkvfg, naq fvapr gurl ner fghcvq naq frkvfg, gur cyna jbexf yvxr n punez. +20 gb lbh, tveysevraq. Gura fur ybfrf ure fubrf juvpu fybjf gurz qbja orpnhfr fur unf infgyl rkprrqrq gur nyybjnoyr dhbgn bs srznyr pbzcrgrapr. *fnq gebzobar*
Gura gur cbqf qrpvqr gung fvapr nccebkvzngryl 2 bhg bs 200 uhznaf ner orvat anexl nobhg gur jubyr vainfvba guvat, gurl zvtug nf jryy tvir hc naq oynfg vagb fcnpr. -20 cbvagf gb lbh, nyvraf. Zl PNGF jbhyq qb n orggre vainfvba guna lbh. Naq bar bs gurz ebhgvaryl snvyf gb whzc ba pbhagref orpnhfr fur'f ynml naq jnagf hf gb cvpx ure hc. Naq gura gur znva punenpgre dhbgrf Puhepuvyy orpnhfr fghzoyvat nebhaq va n svryq naq frggvat n srj cbqf ba sver vf RKNPGYL YVXR yvivat va Ratynaq qhevat Jbeyq Jne VV.
Gura gur znva punenpgre naq uvf tveysevraq trg zneevrq naq yvir bhg n dhvrg pbafcvenpl gb arire gryy nalbar nobhg jung unccrarq naq gura gurl purrevyl jngpu nyy gurve vasrpgrq cbq crbcyr sevraqf -- juvpu vf RIRELBAR GURL'IR RIRE XABJA -- ernpu gur fubeg yvzvg bs gurve cbq crbcyr yvirf naq qvr jvguva 5 lrnef bs vasrpgvba jvgubhg rire bapr srryvat yvxr znlor gur tbireazrag be fpvrapr! be fbzrbar zvtug fubhyq trg vaibyirq gb znlor ybbx vagb urycvat bhg be pbzvat hc jvgu n pher. Abcr. Olr, Qnq! Olr, Nhag Zvyqerq! Olr, Pbhfva Znel! Nunununun, -2,000 cbvagf gb lbh, znva punenpgre naq tveysevraq, sbe orvat ubeevoyr, ubeevoyr crbcyr.
Qrprag obbx, qrfcvgr zl tbbq-angherq evoovat. Qernqshyyl cnprq, gubhtu.
OPEN THREAD BELOW. Talk about things that frustrate the heck out of you when fictional characters do them in order to artificially heighten the tension. +100 points to the first person to bring up the "Dawn of the Dead" remake movie.