Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


THE INVADERS paperback tie-in novels.

There were a small number of paperback book tie-ins to the sixties Invaders TV show. The first book was published by Pyramid books in August 1967 and was written by Keith Laumer. The book does not follow the "origin" story of David Vincent as in the TV show. For one thing, Vincent is not an architect, but an engineer, and he doesn't see a spaceship until the end of the book. He learns about the aliens when they begin farming out pieces of a deadly weapon -- a disintegrator gun -- to various manufacturers. The aliens look alike, talk in an alien language, and have super-human strength -- none of which is from the TV show. [There is no mention of the "mutated fourth finger."] The gun takes up the first third of the book, while the second part deals with a crazy man who attends UFO meetings and tries to trap aliens-- he thinks Vincent is one of them -- in his trap-laden old mansion. The third section of the book has to do with a large meteor coming down which is actually the aliens, Vincent's attempts to get the brass to take it seriously, and a sergeant who came across a slimy alien in its original form after it dropped to Earth. The book is acceptable, not badly written, but not that memorable, and the changes from the show are a little disorienting.

The second Invaders paperback, also written by Keith Laumar, was entitled Enemies from Beyond, and was an improvement. The first story, "The Survivor," has Vincent checking into the story of a man who witnessed a huge explosion at sea, leading Vincent to investigate a possible underwater base for the aliens. "The Allies" has the invaders unleashing huge, deadly monsters that attack people, with Vincent and a young lady trying to survive their attacks in a sprawling abandoned hotel. "The Clairvoyant" has Vincent befriending an old man who can predict when the aliens will try to kill the former. "The Telescope" has Vincent discovering an alien installation on the moon. All good stories, generally well-told.

The third Invaders paperback Army of the Undead by Rafe Bernard, was a disappointment. In this David Vincent travels to Auto City where the aliens are taking over human beings in the car industry by entering their bodies at the very moment of death. [These deaths occur during auto accidents engineered by the aliens.] Bernard introduces some new concepts -- the aliens' use of telepathy, which Vincent has somehow tapped into -- and explores other aspects of their nature. But while all this is admirable, it's also a trifle confusing, and the basic plot and characters are not that interesting. The book is also talky and the pace drags. Vincent notices that the aliens take over male bodies, and sort of hypnotize women who are in a highly emotional state. The main alien force -- at least in this story -- turns out to be female.

Verdict: The Invaders **.
Enemies from Beyond **1/2.
Army of the Undead **.

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