Trying to remember a book I read before 2002 about an alien invasion. I thought it was called War of the Worlds but it is NOT the H.G. Wells book. It starts with a man remembering being a child when aliens attacked. They had ships with a large red eye that would incinerate things. The family was running out of the house and I believe the parents were killed in front of the boy. The book describes them as slimy with tentacles but they are able to temporarily take over dead people's forms and use them for a while.. I think when the man is an adult they come back again. They are defeated somehow, maybe by a virus. But I don't remember how. Any ideas? I know this isn't a lot to go on


1 Answer 1


Well I don't recall the incineration ray or tentacles, but the rest is right out of The Puppet Masters by Heinlein.

In this story, the brain-slugs start taking over Des Moines and expand outwards, slowly taking over the US. But then...

The female protagonist has flashbacks to when she was a child and lived on Venus. Their colony is almost wiped out by a wave of nine-day fever, which she survives but none of the local adults do. The aliens arrived just after (implying they were trying to take advantage of the resulting chaos), but when she is attacked, the slug dies. Realizing that the slugs are killed by nine-day fever, the US authorities culture the virus and wipe out the slugs.

The story contains many scenes with flying cars, including a major plot point at the end. This will say for sure whether this is the book you read; if it was, you'll remember the cars.

  • My recollection is that it was the male protagonist (narrator character) who had the key here, but you've got the important details.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Apr 19, 2018 at 19:33

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