NPR FOR THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t

invasion_custom.jpgFRESH AIR

MAUREEN CORRIGAN: Sometimes the stories that stay with us aren’t the classics or even all that polished. They’re what some critics call “good-bad” stories: The writing may be workmanlike and the characters barely developed, but something about them is so potent that they’re unforgettable — so unforgettable they can attain the status of myth. I’ve long wanted to give a nod to one of these “accidental myth-makers,” novelist and short-story writer Jack Finney. The fact that Finney would have turned 100 this month gives me an occasion. Finney started out in advertising before he became a science-fiction and suspense writer, and maybe that background accounts for the pithiness of his writing and the intensity of his images — images that bore into your brain like a parasite. Who’s Jack Finney, you may ask? The two-word answer is: “Pod People.” In 1954, Finney published a serialized novel in Collier’s Magazine called “The Body Snatchers”; later paperback editions altered the title to Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The novel was dissed for its plot inconsistencies, and the “B” movie that was made of it in 1956 was largely ignored by critics. That same movie was selected in 1994 for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. MORE

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