I read a novella many years ago that I think was written in the '50s or '60s. The story centers around a couple of teenagers who live in a small desert town. They notice that adults in their town are getting very lethargic, and one by one they turn into plants (cacti I think?). Turns out that there was an alien invasion of sorts, and anyone who did any harm to the environment got turned into a plant. The kids were safe because they didn't drive. I think it had a kind of cheesy title, but that is all that I remember.

1 Answer 1


It may be The Plant People , by Dale Carson. First published in 1977.

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I don't see a simple synopsis, but according to the Retroist link above it does have people turning into cacti.

  • Yeeess! I tried looking for it earlier (same title, even!), but Google totally failed me. This is the one. It's been over 20 years since I've read it. Thanks!
    – Wyrt Wicce
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 2:27
  • @WyrtWicce Why bother with Google, just do a title search in the ISFDB.
    – user14111
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 2:38
  • I found it by googling for "something turns people into cactus cacti" . Seventh entry down.
    – Joe L.
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 2:41
  • 1
    Because I'd never heard of this ISFDB until now? I'll use it from now on, though, thanks.
    – Wyrt Wicce
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 2:43
  • Joe, I was trying with "old science fiction book alien invasion turns people into plants". That search actually led me here, haha. I didn't remember the bit about the cactus specifically, until I started typing.
    – Wyrt Wicce
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 2:44

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