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Publisher's Summary

First came the news that a flying saucer had landed in Iowa. Then came the announcement that the whole thing was a hoax. End of story. Case closed.

Except that two agents of the most secret intelligence agency in the US government were on the scene and disappeared without reporting in. And four more agents who were sent in also disappeared. So the head of the agency and his two top agents went in and managed to get out with their discovery: an invasion is underway by slug-like aliens who can touch a human and completely control his or her mind. What the humans know, they know. What the slugs want, no matter what, the human will do. And most of Iowa is already under their control.

Sam Cavanaugh was one of the agents who discovered the truth. Unfortunately, that was just before he was taken over by one of the aliens and began working for the invaders, with no will of his own. And he has just learned that a high official in the Treasury Department is now under control of the aliens. Since the Treasury Department includes the Secret Service, which safeguards the president of the United States, control of the entire nation is near at hand.

©1951,1979 by Robert A. Heinlein, 2003 by the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust (P)2020 by Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about The Puppet Masters

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  • Overall
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so pertinent for today

It's amazing how well Heinlein captured the human races' antisurvival treatment of a new pandemic.

4 people found this helpful

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why does Mary sound like that?

my only real problem was the choice of voice for the voice of Mary. She sounded like she was half asleep for the entirety of the story. She was written as a warrior in her own right, but she spoke like an uninterested wimp.

3 people found this helpful

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Bronson Pinchot is awful on this

I'm assuming this is as good as most Heinlein novels. But Bronson Pinchot seems as though he must have dementia, emphasizing in the oddest spots, and missing others.

1 person found this helpful

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Uneven. but still Heinlein

This is one the most uneven books from Heinlein in regards to his dialog. At times delivering such poor conversation only shows us that even The Grand Master had to train his craft. I'm guessing he needed a better editor because some of the writing is as modern as "Stranger and a Strange Land" which is 10 years younger and one of the greatest sci fi novels of all time and other parts are not.

The narrator is certainly a professional actor with a terrific voice but because he can't make a high voice for a woman he uses a soft voice and it just isn't right. Excuse me, I need to barf.... Thank you, I'm better now. Get a female to read the female dialog or take some voice lessons. Fantastic voicing of many numerous male voices don't make up for one horrible female voice. Hurl.

That said, I'm enjoying this novel very much, much more than I expected I would for the subject of the title. I'm actually loving it overall because it is certainly true Heinlein! Somewhat more juvenile and unpolished than others but still thought provoking and a story to care about, no matter how dated.

1 person found this helpful

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as always a classic

This is one of my favorite Heinlein books. The premise is still good after all these years. A thriller with Heinlein's pragmatism.

The reader is good despite his rendition of Mary's voice. Mary is read as if she is a sexpot that is perpetually in bed awaiting a man. Her voice is ridiculously depicted as dripping sex and whenever he reads her parts with the bedroom voice the volume is so low in decibels that you have to turn it up to hear her. SMH

1 person found this helpful

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Great book, distracting narration

This is one of my favorite RAH books, and is very well written, particularly for the time period. The overall narration was excellent… except for the voices and accents. The narrator consistently put the emphasis in strange places when voicing specific characters, and didn’t seem to put any emotion or tension in the places where it would make sense for the story.

His female voices were atrocious- whispered with no emotion or cadence other than submission. The main female lead was repeatedly described as a very strong willed personality and having everything she said come out as barely a whisper was just too contradictory and it took focus away from the story. The narrators regular voice is great and this book would have been served much better had he just narrated vs acting each part out. The ‘old man’ voice and inflection came across as partly senile and whiney instead of a strong overbearing and unapologetic character like the author described.

Having said all that, I still enjoyed it but am so familiar with the book (having read it every few years for the last 30+ years) that I was able to follow even with the distractions. I’m not sure that someone new to Heinlein’s work would put in the effort. Part of the issue was the volume differences - had to continually adjust the volume to hear the females and then turn it way back down when he switched to a male part.

1 person found this helpful

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It is worth the listen and time.

If you are woke then this is not the story for you. It was written back when men were men and women were women. Everyone in this book at one time or another is "hag ridden". That reminds me of what is happening today. We have an overbearing left in this country that is try to shame everyone into believing what they believe and shunning them if they don't. This story about an alien race coming in and taking over people like a parasite is a kin to the way we as conservatives have to suppress our beliefs in today's America. An outside influence tries to override our own will and make us do or say things we would not normally do or say just to get by or fit in or keep a job or whatever. To keep from being ostracized.

It is a classic story from Robert A. Heinlein up there with A Stranger in a Strange Land and Starship Troopers.

It was well performed - although the female characters always seem to be in the same mood no matter what was happening.

It is worth the listen and time....just put your wokeness on the shelf and enjoy the story for what it it.

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A bit dated but still a good story

Heinlein’s stories are still relevant because he is such a good storyteller. Change the inhabited planets of this solar system with faraway planets, add water, and you have a modern sci-fi story.

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Pinchot is the best reader of all

I’ve listened to a lot of books, Bronson Pinchot is by far the best reader I’ve heard! This is the first book I’ve heard him on. He makes the characters come alive and it really seems like the main characters have their own personalities. Good book. But great voice actor.

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Needed better editing on the performance

So first off this is a niche book. For anyone who loves video game development and specifically X-Com. The story is told well it’s not over long and is pretty fun. The only thing that took me out was the editing of the audio performance is poor. There are many pickups that weren’t edited together well and it will often pick up the previous word and repeat it it happens quite often in one section. This took me off guard the first time but happened regularly enough I stopped noticing by the end.

Overall loved it because I do love video games and especially X-Com. Knowing the story that went into it was awesome.

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