I wonder if Spielberg ever reads sci-fi stuff. If he doesn't, he's missing out a lot. But still, I'm damn sure he hasn't read this one, because if he ever had, he'd never have produced, 'ET the Extra-Terrestrial'.
'Invasion' by Robin Cook sounds more like a medical thriller than a science fiction novel.
In the novel, the author relates about an invasion of alien spacecraft into the Earth's atmosphere. Anyone, who comes in contact with the 'Alien' stuff, gets infected with a flu-like disease. Soon, the disease spreads and develops into a catastrophe.
So far, the book sounds hardly different from what we saw in 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' or 'Independence Day'. The same story of alien invasions, same situations when UFO's look like shooting stars, and all other factors that have been related with the words 'space' and 'sci-fi'. All like an over ridden cliché.
But as we get deeper into the book, the story becomes more and more thrilling. An alien virus infects the people and within no time crowds start mutating into strange creatures devoid of any emotion. As more and more people get infected, all of them start working unanimously, like a single organism, to establish what they call a 'Gateway to the other galaxies'.
Finally, the only uninfected people are a couple of students, some scientists and a cop, all working tirelessly to get rid of this global problem.
It is indeed interesting to see the earth from an extra-terrestrial point of view. The parts of the book, which reflect the aliens' thoughts, are beautifully written. They (aliens) are seen intrigued with the problems like environmental pollution, crime and global warming. Consequently, the virus takes over 68% of the world?s population.
There's quite a big deal of scientific, biological stuff in the novel. So personally, I'd recommend the book only if you have a sound liking for sci-fi. Otherwise the book will become extremely irritating, since it looks like a cross between a medical journal and, as I said before, a Spielberg movie.
But if you do have a scientific temper, you won't find a better author. The storyline is so excitingly high-tech that I did a sort of mini-research on viruses and antibodies. The virus in the book seemingly defies fundamental laws like Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and the law of conservation of energy. The author also talks of the fifth dimension, black holes and other aspects, which you can find only in books by Stephen Hawking. Cook also tells a lot about genetics, DNA, chromosomes, microbiology... you name it!
All in all, ignoring some minor drawbacks, 'Invasion' is a great piece of literature.
For those who are studying MBBS or are already doctors, I would request you not to read the book. You see guys, my father, a medical practitioner like Robin Cook, has bought a large number of medical thrillers.
Somehow, he hates Cook's books like poison. Quoting his exact words, 'Dr. Cook has spoiled my medical instincts.'