I spend way too much time reading science fiction. “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers” is my favorite of the incubating monster stories.

I first saw the movie when I was 14. I had a tumor on my right tibia. Not malignant, but big and it had to be removed. Even a non-malignant tumor can do considerable damage if it keep growing and this one was growing like mad.

The movie was surprising quiet, a movie that sneaks into your brain

So there I was in Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York. I had a private room. I think most of the rooms were private and it was in that hospital that I very briefly met Eleanor Roosevelt who was not long for the world at that time. It was an elevator meeting, two wheelchairs and a brief “You are the woman I most admire in this world” and a “Thank you, dear.”

I was probably the only kid on the floor and the nurses tended to congregate in my room in the evening. I was watching TV at night. During the day, I read. One night, there was a movie on the tube — “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”

I was terrified. I was convinced there was one of those pods under my bed and I made the nurses check there and in all the closets. Those Body Snatchers were sneaky and I wasn’t going to let them turn me into on of those emotionless neo-robots!

And if the movie isn’t enough, I just got the audiobook. Woo hoo!

Although I’ve seen many other science fiction movies — and read thousands of books in the genre — I think that was the single story that scared me the most. Not because of its strange appearance. No tentacles and nothing bug-like, but because it looked like me. Or you. It was the alien clone that removed our humanity.

I think I’m still afraid of that. Maybe that’s the one thing left to fear!

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.


          1. I can’t. I think it desensitizes the viewer so that it becomes second nature, immaterial. You watch enough horror, it either destroys you or you become numb to it. Cops are a prime example having witnessed daily man’s inhumanity to man. They either live with it and become brutal themselves or off themselves through drugs alcohol or suicide. I don’t think the public enmasse is any less susceptible to that kind of situation.


            1. I think you are probably right. This also applies to doctors, reporters, all first responders, many psychologist and psychiatrists — anyone who has to see the awfulness the world has to offer.


  1. Now I remember the film, and there was a remake. There was a bit of a story in our family as my uncle Harry told us all about this film he saw once and none of us believed him – until there was a repeat on TV. He spoke of people being turned into beans, which was his idea of pods and replicate people appearing.


    1. I thought she was the best of the best. Meeting her was a very big deal, even though the entire event took maybe a minute, and that including coming and going in and out of the elevator. She was dying, I was having my leg fixed.


  2. Those old SciFi movies can scare you and have lasting impact. I recall several scenes from Invaders from Mars and The Incredible Shrinking Man that have stayed with me even to this day. There’s a very thin line between Horror and some SciFi.


  3. My father and I were huge science fiction fans. We watched Lost In Space, Star Trek, Tarzan (ok, so not science fiction, but it was still way cool until Jane came along and ruined everything by screaming for Tarzan every 5 minutes getting on my last nerve), Dracula, the Wolfman, the Mummy, any Vincent Price movie we could find, Frankenstein, Marvin the Martian, etc. Do you remember the movie where the little boy’s parents were sucked under the sand along with almost everybody else in town and horribly changed? That scared me to death as did the Body Snatchers for the same reasons it did you. And like you, I’ve been reading sci-fi and horror since I was old enough to have a library card. My mother imparted her love of reading to me, and I bless her for the gift. Like her, I read to my children and they all grew up readers.


    1. I got into science fiction relatively late, but once I discovered it, it became my favorite. My favorite FAVORITE is anything time-travel related. These days, I spend a lot of time looking for something that isn’t a copy of something I’ve already read a dozen times. Which is why I went back to reading the originals again.

      The thing that makes sci fi so great is that it isn’t the people in it, but the concept behind it that makes it work. No amount of romance or personal interaction can replace a really good concept.

      That’s why there have been so many Star Trek’s … because it wasn’t just a TV show. It was a concept.


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