The Body Snatchers - Jack Finney

***** A timeless classic

It's really hard to believe that this science fiction book was written in the 50s. Often in novels of this genre that are a bit dated you notice the so-called expiration effect, which affects both the plot, rich of anachronistic elements, but also and especially the style of author (or translator, in this case, as I've read it in Italian), in which expressions that do not belong to our everyday language are evident. In a very surprising way I have not noticed anything like that in "The Body Snatchers". It is a story set in the time in which it was written and contains all its features, but it could have been written yesterday.
Finney involves us in a plot full of mystery, told from the point of view of a doctor of a small California town where people are changing in an indefinable way. Halfway between horror and science fiction this novel drags the reader through its pages, imparting a constant, growing feeling of anxiety until he makes them believe that the protagonists have not really any way to escape.
Unique recognizable aspect of this type of classic science fiction is actually the end in which the threat disappears in an almost random, fortuitous way. The protagonists are not the true markers of their victory, but get to it with amazement. This aspect is perhaps one of my favourites, because I consider it extremely realistic. Often in contemporary novels, the protagonists are heroes, people who, prior normal, take control of the situation and save the world against powerful enemies. A story in which the victory against the villains is due to a waiver of the latter or an outside fortuitous factor returns to the protagonists their normality and allows us, normal readers, to identify ourselves better in their joys and their fears.

Body Snatchers (S.F. Masterworks) on