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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

The Day Of The Triffids

Copyright 1951 by John Wyndham

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Good (3/5)

I first read this in 1968 and most recently on the 3rd July 2002

A comet on a close approach to Earth creates an astounding atmospheric light-show. Across the world, everyone, everybody who is able, watches the magnificent shooting stars across the night sky.

The next morning the horror begins: all who watched the nocturnal display have been blinded.

Society across the world is plunged into chaos. Humanity faces a bitter and short future.

Now in the midst of this chaos, the bizarre flora, the triffids, begin to show their true colours*. These mobile and perhaps intelligent plants were already dangerous, but now become lethal. Blind people cannot easily avoid the deadly stings of these malignant species.

Only a few individuals have retained their sight. They have a stark choice. They could help the vast blind majority survive a few more weeks until the food gives out or they are killed by the lumbering but deadly triffids. Alternatively the sighted could cut and run, join up with the each other and try to make a stand against the triffids. But this would leave the mass of humanity to die in dark misery.

There is more than space attacks and alien flora packed into this book. Being written just five years after WWII, Wyndham chooses to express his loathing of war, of military men and means. He warns of chemical and biological warfare and rather impressively foretells a future world of Star Wars orbital weaponry.

Very impressive, old-fashioned British SF set in London and the south of England. I'm rather surprised to say that this left me feeling uncomfortable and slightly scared. Wow.

*apologies for most inappropriate metaphor

Loaded on the 29th February 2004.
Cover of The Day Of The Triffids
Cover art by Mark Salwowski

Reviews of other works by John Wyndham:
The Chrysalids
The Seeds Of Time