It appears that both the Galaxy Science Fiction serialization and the original novel version of Heinlein's The Puppet Masters were edited down from 96,000 words to about 60,000. According to Wikipedia, one reason for the edits was the fear that the original version was too controversial.

In 1990 after his death, an expanded edition was printed. Does anyone know which publishing company released it?

Also, are the magazine and novel edits the same?

  • 3
    The uncut version is inferior. Few of the restored cuts were noticeable; the ones I did notice were better left out. For all his greatness, RAH needed an editor (IWFNE, anyone?) Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 17:17
  • 1
    I agree. Glad I kept my copy of the old version. Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 17:37
  • @EdPlunkett - Most people do. Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 18:07
  • @rosesunhill True. Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 18:08
  • I found the restored bits quite noticeable, from the very opening (about the unnamed blonde). Most of them make the novel more overtly political; I’m glad I read them, though the Bowdlerized version is more subtle. Certainly Heinlein needed more editing for IWFNE, but at the peak of his career this was less clear. Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 1:12

3 Answers 3


Baen reprinted the complete, uncut version on August 1, 2009. You can find their listing here: http://www.baen.com/the-puppet-masters.html


It was Del Rey in 1990.

Revised/restored text, apparently first published in 1990.


As far as I know, it is no longer possible to obtain the original, shorter version of the novel except from used bookstores. All printings of all editions since 1990 have been of the longer version.

The original novel version and the original magazine version were definitely not the same - the magazine editor made unauthorized changes, and Heinlein did not like that at all. This is covered in his correspondence with his agent at the time, in Grumbles from the grave.

The uncut version of Puppet Masters did not get a new hardcover edition like Stranger did. Instead, around 1990, a new printing of the mass market paperback edition in print at the time (del rey I think?) switched from the shorter to the longer text from one printing to the next. There was no indication of this change anywhere except for a tiny notice on the copyright page and an "original uncut" blurb on the cover. The edition I remember buying around 1992 because it proclaimed it was "the original uncut novel" had this cover art:

Cover of the edition that suddenly switched from cut to uncut

Since the "original uncut" blurb soon gave way to a "now a major motion picture" blurb (and more recent printings may not say anything at all), here are two ways to tell which version you have.

  1. On the copyright page, the longer version may say that it is the "first revised edition, Jan 1990."
  2. On the first page of the first chapter, if the narrator wakes up in bed alone, it is the original cut version. If he wakes up with a nameless blonde, it's the uncut version.
  • 1
    An interesting addition to the question, this isn't really what the question is asking for. Could you complement your answer to add a few editions which published the uncut version? Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 19:38
  • 2
    Based on the comments here a big mystery in my life has been cleared up. I read Puppet Masters in the early 1970's and got it again about 2000. I was like "I don't remember that!" And "When did that happen?" I didn't realise until now that there are 2 versions. Not a helpful comment I know, sorry.
    – Danny Mc G
    Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 5:20
  • @Gallifreyan, thanks for the suggestion, I have improved my answer.
    – Glaurung
    Commented Jul 21, 2018 at 1:48

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