The Androids (Lest Earth Be Conquered)-Frank Belknap Long (1969)

frank belknap long-the androids(lest earth be conquered)

Are the new people next door aliens? When it is this uninteresting, who cares? The book is only 144 pages so I was hoping for something tight and a good read. Hope springs eternal but it didn’t spring here.

Fourteen year old Bobby Jackson has a 150 IQ. That’s an excuse to write passages where he sounds like a well educated adult. He’s suspicious of his new neighbors, The Martins. (Not a cheap reference that they’re Martians but it might as well have been. Then again..maybe it is). He goes inside for some lemonade and all of a sudden he finds his mind in the nearby cat. Mrs.Martin brings him out of it and he leaves quietly.

His teacher John Dyson is impressed with his assigned composition describing what a flight to Mars would be like and what any voyagers would find there. Out of nowhere a fireball from lightning is over Bobby’s head. It’s just one of those things.

In the local greasy spoon Bobby sees Mr.Martin spill hot coffee on the man next to him. The man picks Martin up and tosses him into the jukebox. A sliver of glass goes through Martin’s chest. No harm done. No blood. Martin leaves. (That incident is never referred to again).

Laura Hartley is John’s girlfriend and the town librarian. She gets suspicious that Bobby is practicing some ESP on her. While she’s questioning him John comes in. The two go over what books Bobby has taken out from the library. They’re all non-fiction having to do with messages from space, UFO’s and other similar subjects. They come across some interesting notes Bobby has written in the margins.

A salesman comes to town and goes into the local luncheonette. One of the waitresses is in a panic. She says a man came out of the wall and took a woman sitting at a table back with him. Maybe it was the same guy Laura spotted in the library rearranging his face.

Bobby’s father shows him a newspaper story about a man who says he’s a cat. He was arrested for being nuts but his mother talked the sheriff into letting him go. Bobby realizes he has an ally. He’ll need him.

I don’t know if Long was trying for the paranoia of “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers” or “Invaders From Mars” but he misses by a mile….actually a lot of miles. A total waste of paper.

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About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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4 Responses to The Androids (Lest Earth Be Conquered)-Frank Belknap Long (1969)

  1. Christi says:

    This book sounds hilariously campy — nice work slogging though it!

  2. vintage45 says:

    I wish he would have tried for camp. It’s a quick course on how not to write a novel. Long wrote some classic horror stuff but when it came to SF someone should have kept him away from his typewriter.

  3. Joachim Boaz says:

    That cover… goodness me… painful. Attack of the purple sheen!

  4. vintage45 says:

    This is that rare case when you can judge a book by its cover.

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