Book #14 of the 2015 Reading Challenge – The Puppet Masters by Robert Heinlein

Read a book set in the future.

Read a book by an author with your same initials.

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To say that I would never have read this book if it weren’t for this reading challenge is a gross understatement. Science fiction novels just isn’t “my thing”, although I don’t mind this particular genre when it comes to movies.

Finding an author who shares my initials was quite a task, and I just realize now that he has a middle initial – A (darn!).

Oh, well…close enough!

So, I’m in Denmark for the summer and spending time at my old childhood home that happens to be filled with books. My dad is as much a book lover as I am (if not more), and every time I come here, I love to pick out a few of his books to read. All of his books are in Danish (even if they’re by international authors), so I’ve made it a tradition to always read in Danish when I’m in Denmark. You know, when in Rome…

The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein is a book set in the future, although written in 1951. In Danish the title of the novel is translated into “Universets Parasitter” – “Parasites of the Universe”, which is much more descriptive of what the story is about.

The earth has been invaded by nasty parasites from outer space!

Slimy creatures that attack humans and animals by attaching themselves onto their backs and controlling their minds. The parasites have the ability to split themselves in half and thereby multiplying, and soon they’ll take over the world.

Soon, everyone is forced to walk around naked or face the possibility of being shot out of fear that they should be inhabited by a parasite. The story takes place in the US, where a unit of secret special agents is fighting a race against time to figure out where these parasites have come from and (more importantly) how to get rid of them.

Actually, the plot is quite entertaining. The language is a bit rigid and old-fashioned, but I guess that’s pretty obvious as it was written more than 60 years ago and language as we know it has evolved quite a bit. It’s a lot like watching an old science fiction movie today. The times were different back then, so naturally the language must also be different.

Would I recommend this novel? Sure. If you like reading this particular genre, if you like reading old/classic literature or if your initials happen to be RH or RAH and you’re doing this reading challenge…then I’d say GO FOR IT.

The Danish version is quite short, and I think a part of the original novel might have been lost in translation, so to speak. I was looking at the novel on www.amazon.com where the page count is 416 pages. My version is only 150 pages. Reading just the first page on the amazon.com preview, I see that there are parts that aren’t included in the Danish translation.  At least now I know why I felt that the story kept jumping in certain places and that something was missing. It was because some things WERE missing.

It just goes to show that you’re always better off reading books in their original language!

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