In the '80s I read a book which started on a beach on a desert island. The premise was an alien microbe taking over creatures which escalates significantly. I seem to remember the book being epic in the descriptions of the way in which the alien was made up and reacted and countered it's various challenges.

  • 2
    Maybe, if you tell us everything you remember about the story, somebody here will be able to identify it for you. As it is, your description is very skimpy.
    – user14111
    Commented Jul 10 at 6:51
  • Remember any cover-artwork, how old the book might have been? Commented Jul 10 at 6:54
  • I'm getting real War Against the Chtorr vibes here.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jul 10 at 10:22

1 Answer 1


Needle, by Hal Clement (1949).

Text from a review on Goodreads:

During a high-speed (faster than light) chase a detective and the criminal he's chasing crash land on Earth. Both are stranded. These aliens are like large amoebas that require a "host" to live in. They have a mind but no bodies to speak of so they depend upon a symbiotic relationship to survive. The only names they've been given by Mr. Clement are Hunter and Quarry. Hunter crashes into the ocean near an island that is close to and manages to absorb into a shark and he rides the shark to the island. As he looks for a likely host, he notices a group of teenagers playing on the beach, he remains hidden until they lay down and take a nap after eating a lunch brought by Bob Kinnaird's mother. The Hunter crawls up to Bob and absorbs himself into Bob through his feet.

The story then turns into a detective/chase line where the alien Hunter and Bob team up to catch the alien bad guy.

  • Similar to the film "The Hidden" from 1987. Commented Jul 10 at 22:25

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