The exact version of the novel that I have. Except mine is in better condition. I 'd love to have a poster of this on my wall.
What I liked most about this book was that although it was science fiction, it was less about an extraterrestrial and more about human nature. Infact it seemed that this alien was more human than the humans he surrounded himself with. A few times he described his interactions with humans as communicating with highly intelligent and crafty apes.
In the novel, Thomas Newton (the Anthean) mostly learned about our planet from years of watching television and listening to the radio.
It's pretty needless to say that he did not succeed with his mission and the CIA/FBI caught on to him. In the end though it wasn't the CIA or FBI that broke him, it was "earth culture". The book portrayed him as a very delicate being which was refreshing and a stark contrast to the aliens portrayed in movies like Independence Day and Mars Attacks. I especially loved the scene that described him breaking his entire leg by fainting in an elevator (he wasn't used to our gravity).
I haven't watched the movie because it seems so different from the book and I don't want to be disappointed but kudos to the filmmakers for casting David Bowie as the extraterrestrial! I cannot think of a more graceful, delicate being who'd be perfect for the part. Look at all of that lovely boyish charm! I bet you can't even look at him directly without burning your retinas.
From what I understand they added a romance to the movie which was not at all present in the novel. I guess it was an excuse to film David Bowie naked in the thralls of love, which I'm totally fine with! I didn't get the feeling from the book that he had a human-like genitalia but either way, I think it's a bad idea to have unprotected sex with an alien.
I listened to Space Oddity as soon as I finished reading and now this song seems to be infused with another layer of meaning.
A live cover by Gnarls Barkley. I usually don't care much for covers but this one is phenomenal! I wish they would record a full length version. Cee-lo's voice is so rich and perfect for it.
On a semi related note: I can't stop listening to the Sailor Moon Soundtrack! I found it at the Brown Elephant two years ago for 50 cents. Even though the original Japanese version totally kicks the American version's ass, it still has some pretty annoyingly catchy songs.