Brian Jewell from Edge Boston (and Bay Windows):
Until the most recent movie version, each iteration of Invasion of the Body Snatchers has been tailored to the up-to-the-minute fears of its generation. This eerie novel goes where the Nicole Kidman vehicle should have, drawing on conspiracy theories, urban anomie, identity theft and consumerism to create a subtle horror tale about erosion of the self. The nameless lead character is a shallow twink, over stimulated but isolated, who has acquaintances and tricks instead of friends, and products and catalogs instead of values. After a street crazy puts the idea of pod people in his head, our hero starts noticing strange things. People are referring to conversations he doesn’t remember and events he didn’t witness. Does he have a double? Is this doppelganger trying to steal his life from him? And does this interloper come from outer space, a secret government cloning lab, a disordered brain, or is he a thought experiment come to life? Christian keeps the reader guessing, using repetitive language and a deliberate pace to evoke our Everyman’s sense of disorientation and disconnection as he realizes that no one would notice if he were erased, while barreling towards a suitably trippy conclusion. Like a lot of good science fiction, this is as much a contemporary social satire as an unsettling fantasy.