The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein

 

Science Fiction

Puppet Masters Puppet MastersRobert A. Heinlein; Del Rey 1986WorldCat

Sam Nivens is a secret agent in a United States government agency that officially does not exist. The head of the agency, The Old Man, calls him in from leave. Sam, The Old Man, and an agent named Mary head to Iowa regarding a crashed UFO. After meeting the head of the local television (stereocast) station, they wish the crash had been a hoax.

Instead they discover a slug-type creature that attaches itself to the human body and takes over. The human is aware, but has no control over his actions, body, or thoughts. In order to kill the creature, the human usually dies as well. These aliens completely take over. Their intent is to take over the human race to support them. When Sam is captured by one of the slugs, he learns their plans. He also is completely unable to oppose the Titans.

The Old Man and the Agency try to contain the Titans. Meanwhile they need to find some way to exterminate them. They want to reclaim Sam and capture a Titan. The Old Man and the Agency know they will gain invaluable knowledge from such a capture. It is further in their studies they discover how beneficial Mary and her talents and knowledge are.

This is another classic science fiction novel by one of the earlier masters in the genre. It is still chilling. Heinlein’s vision of the future is often technologically close. His historical prevision was based on the 1950’s to 1960’s Cold War, and reflects that. The novel, about 50 years old, takes place in the early part of the 21st century. He captured the horror of having your soul stolen. I could easily feel the revulsion when the Titans were riding people.

Between reading this novel and 1984 within a month of each other, predictions of the future look rather grim. Yet this is another one that shouldn’t be missed. Also, the narrative is easy going and fun. You’ll like Sam, Mary, and The Old Man.

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