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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Triffids Light It Up!
Day of the Triffids kicks butt! Two weeks ago I had never heard of John Wyndham, but I found his name in scifi.com's fiction archive, and I looked up his books here at Amazon.
The opening scene in Triffids is mesmerizing. The basic premise of the book is that a meteor shower blinds most of the world population, except for a handful of people. One of lucky ones is...
Published on Feb. 25 2004 by Stacey Cochran

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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not as good as his short stories
I'm torn as how best to review this book. One the one hand I've seen many adaptations of the book on TV and film. Some credit the book others don't. Having just recently seen the UK series "Survivors" (1975) I must say that I'm surprised that Terry Nation didn't credit Wyndham given the heavily lifted plot and dialogue! Sure, the main characters are changed...
Published on July 16 2004 by Sarah Sammis


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Triffids Light It Up!, Feb. 25 2004
By 
Stacey Cochran (Raleigh, NC, USA) - See all my reviews
Day of the Triffids kicks butt! Two weeks ago I had never heard of John Wyndham, but I found his name in scifi.com's fiction archive, and I looked up his books here at Amazon.
The opening scene in Triffids is mesmerizing. The basic premise of the book is that a meteor shower blinds most of the world population, except for a handful of people. One of lucky ones is Bill Masen, who was in a hospital with bandages over his eyes and was not able to watch the meteor shower. Towards the end of the book, narrator Masen speculates that the meteor shower might have been caused by man-made satellites orbiting Earth, and indeed, the whole apocalyptic vision of the novel voices the concerns any sane human being would have had shortly after WWII and the discovery of the destructive power of atomic energy.
That said, the novel is not at all a doom and gloom book. It is actually quite hopeful, optimistic, and funny. There is a romantic subplot wherein Bill meets a charming woman named Josella Payton, only to be separated from her in the aftermath of the devastating meteor shower. A good part of the book follows Bill's search for Josella through various malevolent organizations that spring up in the months after the meteor shower.
Developing alongside this story line, is the story of the triffids, a kind of six-foot-tall Venus Flytrap with a stinging whip that has the ability to pick up its roots and walk around. In the wake of world blindness, these plants begin attacking people who stumble blindly around London and the English countryside outside of London.
The novel has a very solid ending that made me feel happy to have read the book. It was such a good story I'm going to see if I can get a copy of Wyndham's other classic bestseller, The Cuckoo's of Midwich. I highly recommend Day of the Triffids to any sci-fi fan, as well as to anyone who likes a good old-fashioned white-knuckle yarn. And, of course, I hope this review is helpful to you!
Stacey
PS Do me a favor and click "yes" if you would be interested in seeing a modern Hollywood remake Day of the Triffids.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MAN...THOU SHALT FEEL THE STING OF THE LASH..., Aug. 24 2010
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This is a wonderfully told apocalyptic tale, as relevant today as it was in nineteen hundred and fifty one, when it was first published. Well-written, with believable characters and dialogue, it is rich with social issues that provide much food for thought.

This is definitely a book that has withstood the test of time and remains one of the finest examples of science fiction ever written and a true classic. It is much more three dimensional than the movie that was made based upon the book. That being said, I confess that I did enjoy the movie, which starred Howard Keel. The book, however, is much richer fare.

The triffid is a unique form of plant life, with appetites similar to a Venus flytrap, and is believed to have been genetically engineered by the Russians, though its true origin remains unknown. It also is able to pick up its roots and lurch about, almost as if it were walking, and seems to manifest a rudimentary intelligence.

Ever resourceful, mankind puts the triffids to work and harvests the rich oils that they produce. The only true drawback of the triffid is that it also has a stem that can lash out and sting a person with enough poison to kill. Still, mankind finds a way to control even this aberration of the oil rich triffid, now viewed as a profitable form of vegetation.

Then, came the meteorite shower, a stellar phenomena that lit the sky with a bright green light, but which would, ultimately, leave all those who saw it, forever changed. Those few, who were fortunate enough to have missed the spectacle, struggle to survive in a world that has transformed radically. It is up to them to set right what has gone terribly wrong. Soon enough, however, they realize that the day of the triffids has come. This is their story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, Sept. 6 2014
By 
Bootsy Bass (Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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Wow.....I could not put down this book and read it till the early morning hours. Its a terrifying tale of bizarre plants appearing on the earth and a comet trail causing blindness in 99% of the worlds population. Each of those topics alone would make a great story but John Wyndham skilfully weaves both of them into a fascinating tale of survival. I have never seen the Triffid movie so I can not compare it to the book. I loved this story! It is well done science fiction/horror/adventure.
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4.0 out of 5 stars When Vegetarianism Goes Wrong, Jan. 22 2007
This review is from: Day Of The Triffids (Paperback)
John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris was born in 1903, just outside Birmingham. He wrote under a variety of pen-names, though "The Day of the Triffids" was the first time he used the name "John Wyndham". It's also is his most famous book and is set in 1950s England.

The story is told by Bill Masen, a biologist for the Arctic and European Oil Company. The oil Arctic and European sell, however, isn't used to fuel trains, planes and automobiles : it's a food supplement derived from a recently `discovered' species of plant life known as "triffids". Bill believes the species is not a naturally occurring one, but was instead created in a laboratory by scientists. With the Cold War still in full-swing, Bill points the finger squarely at the USSR. It's possible the intention was to create them solely as a food source : the oil derived from triffids is so rich in vitamins that it's seen the bottom fall out of the fish-oil market. However, a triffid is also so dangerous it could also have been created as an extreme form of biological warfare.

Triffids are carnivorous plants : insects always provide a quick and easy snack, though as time goes on, they seem to develop a preference for decomposing human flesh. It appears they can hear and make a strange rattling sound that some believe to be a form of communication. Even more dramatically, they can actually walk. They also have very dangerous `stingers', which can reach a length of around ten feet and - if they connect with bare skin - can be fatal. When triffids have attacked humans, they tend to strike first at the head - blinding a remarkably high number of the victims. A colleague of Bill's at Arctic-European believed this to be significant as the only real advantage humans had over triffids was their sight. With this removed from the equation, humans become little more than lunch.

Bill's introduction to triffids came at an early age, when triffids were still a novelty and little was known about them. Although stung, he survived - luckily, the triffid in question was immature. As the book opens, Bill is recovering in hospital from another close encounter - a couple of drops of triffid poison splashed into Bill's eyes. The treatment included heavy padding and bandages, meaning that Bill couldn't see a thing. As a result, he missed out on a very dramatic free show : the previous night, the Earth apparently passed through some comet debris that resulted in a dazzling light show in the sky. Unfortunately, it also blinded everyone who watched it. Obviously, protected by his bandages and padding, Bill is now one of the few sighted people left and triffids are now a bigger threat than they should have been.

There are some very quaint, old -fashioned elements to this book, the most obvious centring on Bill's relationship with Josella Playton. Josella is the first sighted person meets after leaving the hospital and - shortly after they've shaken hands - start discussing the size of the family they'll have together. Josella, it has to be said, is a good deal more pragmatic than Bill - who seems to be the sort of character born to shout "I say !". However, even after the world as we know it has ended, there are still some who seem unwilling to allow Josella to live down a rather racy book she once wrote. Nevertheless, this is definitely well worth reading. In fact, it seems to describe a world we're well familiar with in places : genetically modified plants, biological weapons and a web of satellites orbiting the planet in the name of 'defence'.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not as good as his short stories, July 16 2004
By 
Sarah Sammis "Avid BookCrosser" (Hayward, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I'm torn as how best to review this book. One the one hand I've seen many adaptations of the book on TV and film. Some credit the book others don't. Having just recently seen the UK series "Survivors" (1975) I must say that I'm surprised that Terry Nation didn't credit Wyndham given the heavily lifted plot and dialogue! Sure, the main characters are changed around but the incidental plot elements are nearly the same and in the same order. All that is missing is the triffids and the comet.
Which brings me to my main complaint about the book: The triffids hardly have anything to do with the plot of the book even though they are the title of it and are the most thought out piece of the book. The idea of a tech industry expirament let loose in the wild was fascinating but save for chapter 2, nothing is further is developed along those lines.
Then there's the comet (if it is one) which blinds everyone and then the unexplained plague a few days later. Now if you believe the B film Day of the Comet, the comet turns those who saw it into zombies -- triffids be damned and then the same sort of plot (minus menacing plants) goes on. In this book though, the two seem unrelated except to kill off all those annoying recently rendered blind folks.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Coping with Worldwide Disaster, July 1 2004
By 
Matt Poole (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
After reading it, I found "Day of the Triffids" is less about man-eating plants taking over the world than it is about the possible fall of civilization, and less science fiction than it is social commentary.
One morning, at a hospital in England, Bill Masen finds himself one of the few people to survive a worldwide disaster. After looking up at a "green comet" the previous night, the world has become blind. Civilization comes to a grinding halt as confusion and panic sets in. To make things worse, the Triffids, a species of carnivorous walking weed, have run wild, and are now taking advantage of their now vulnerable human prey. Bill Masen, like the rest of the human race, must learn to survive in this frightening new world.
For the most part, it is a well written, compelling story. The myriad of characters are varied and realistic, as you read you see how people from all walks of life (those of different class, beliefs systems, etc) deal with the disaster. The landscape, both city and country, sights and sounds, are very well described and I could imagine everything quite vividly. The triffids, along with every other plot element, are entirely believable, which makes them all the more scary. There's nothing alien or spacey about it, particularly nowadays, in an age where concepts such as genetic engineering and satellite weapons systems are a reality.
There was a few negatives for me. For one, the romantic sub-plot. Like a lot of romance plots in sci-fi, it is a little rushed and unlikely. The girl in question is Josella Playton, a pretty, effervescent socialite. She's a novelist whose debut is called "Sex is my Adventure" (only a man would write a love interest like her.). In "Day of the Triffids", they are intense and desperate times and these might have intesified emotion, but considering a great deal of the book involves Bill looking for his girl, it would have been nice if this romantic side was a bit more believable. I would have also liked to have known more about the triffids. I suppose the mystery behind them adds to the fright element, There are a few tantalizing clues about how they behave and what they want, and what their weaknesses are, but they are never quite followed through. By the end of the book I was a little dissappointed, not only for that, but for all the other loose ends. These are only minor points though. It was still a very good story and a intriguing, exciting and frightening concept.
Sci fi fans should definitely have this on their must read lists, particularly those who enjoy post-apocalyptic plots. It didn't grab me as much as I thought it would, but it is still an excellent book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My Personal FavoriteSci fi/Horror Novel!, March 9 2004
By A Customer
This is My personal favorite Science Fiction/Horror novel that I've ever read, I'm 39 yrs. old and I can still remember digging through my dad's Science Fiction books in the basement of our house when I came across this book, I sat down and read it in 2 day's and what an exhilarating frightening experience it was, one I will never forget. Unfortunately I compare everything to this brilliant story and it's a tough sell, so far Lucifers Hammer, RingWorld by Larry Niven and The Wanderer, Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber even come close in the sheer power of storytelling. I am still wondering why this hasn't been remade by hollywood with today's technology and actually follow the story this time(unlike the british version), it would be the movie event of the summer. Other stories worth reading by John Wyndham are Out of the Deep, Trouble with Lichen, Re-Birth, The Midwich Cuckoo's they are to put it subtly... awesome!. Try some of these stories also, they are incredible:
Carrion Comfort, Hyperion, Fall of Hyperion,
and Phases of Gravity by Dan Simmons
Genesis by W. A. Harbinson
Fire by Alan Rodgers
Domain, The Fog, 48 hrs. by James Herbert
Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon
Deathbird Stories, Approaching Oblivion by Harlan Ellison
Hammer of God, Childhoods End by Arthur C. Clark
The Bridge by John Skipp and Craig Spector
More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
I am Legend by Richard Matheson
Dust by Charles Pellegrino
Year Zero, The Descent by Jeff Long
Logan's Run by William F. Nolan
Darker Than You Think by Jack Williamson
Fahrenheit 451, The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
Read anything by the king of weird imaginative pseudo sci fi nightmares H. P. Lovecraft, I've yet to find any author that can accomplish what he can, no wasted words almost without blood and guts and excessive violence, surreal and hallucinogenic, but still creeps out the reader and keeps his/her riveted attention.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Attack of the killer plants (and then some), July 24 2003
By 
First published in 1951, this classic science-fiction novel was unique for its time (although undoubtedly inspired by "War of the Worlds"). The story follows the plight of the world's few remaining survivors after three (possibly) coincidental cataclysmic events of uncertain origins: the genetic development of mobile, carnivorous plants; the blinding of the earth's inhabitants by what may or may not have been a meteor shower; and the sudden onset of a mysterious and fatal disease. Most of the world's inhabitants are sightless and unable to defend themselves against the marauding plants, and even those with vision succumb to the plague.
End-of-the-world scenarios have of course been done to death, especially in B-movies, but "Day of the Triffids" has withstood the test of time--not because of its plot, but because it anticipated many other works and because the writing and themes are a cut above your typical pulp fiction. Nearly every episode in the book has been replicated in dozens of science fiction and horror movies and novels. Filmgoers who have seen "Resident Evil" or "28 Days Later" will recognize the opening scene, in which Wiliam Masen wakes up in a hospital room, unaware that the world as he knows it has come to a devastating end. Other scenes recall the "Night of the Living Dead" series and similar films, and the descriptions of the survivors' efforts to rebuild society clearly influenced many later works of dystopian fiction.
Wyndham adopts a minimalist "noir" style for the first sections, using a surreal first-person perspective to convey the confusion, fear, and isolation afflicting William Masen while he tries to figure out what has happened. When the focus of the book changes from the lone individual to bands of the living, the author shifts to a more expansive and analytic prose that fleshes out the book's social and political commentary.
It is the exploration of these themes that makes the book so fascinating. As various groups of survivors unite together, they adopt different modes of government: a communalism that tries to rescue as many people as possible, a fundamentalism entrenched in its devotion to outdated moral codes, a militarism that quickly degenerates to totalitarianism, and a rationalism relying on the survival of the fittest to guarantee as many new offspring as possible. Each of these myopic systems suffers from a slavishness to one goal at the expense of any other: preventing as many deaths as possible, preserving morality, maintaining law and order, and insuring the survival of the species. Following the traditions of the best dystopian fiction, Wyndham uses his story to examine the faults with our present world and its communist, theocratic, authoritarian, and Darwinian societies.
The ending of the book is just open-ended and ambiguous enough to have allowed for a sequel, by Wyndham wasn't the type to write or authorize one (although Simon Clark published "The Night of the Triffids" two years ago). This closing ambiguity seems appropriate: in the real world, there are never as many solutions as there are problems.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A World Gone Green, April 8 2003
This review is from: Day Of The Triffids (Paperback)
This could very well be the most engaging story with the most ridiculous premise that I have ever read. The tagline might read: Everyone goes blind in a world ravaged by man eating plants! It sounds like a sixties B horror film... oh yeah, it was made into a sixties B horror film. Somehow, John Wyndham pulls it off. Bill Masen serves as our eyes in this blind world, and tells the tale of his life with total believability. The meteor shower event that causes the blindness and the appearance of the carnivous triffid plants are both explained in such a way as to be convincing. Of course, as is often the case with end of the world stories, the actual end of the world serves only as a setting for how the remaining characters will now interact. How will they live? What will they use for food? Will they develope into a new type of society? Wyndam's end of the world tool works better than most. Having helpless masses of blind people around raises some pretty serious ethical questions that can be related to many real problems in the here and now. And the triffids, they make the task of reinvinting the world just a little bit harder.
In "The Day of the Triffids", characters grow and express better than in most science fiction novels. Family, love, fidelity, loyalty, and forgiveness are all deftly handled here, and not preachily. The triffids are ever present in the backdrop to the other grander themes.
Wyndham, I believe, is going through somewhat of a resurgence, as "The Midwhich Cuckoo's" and "The Day of the Triffids" will both soon be availble in new less pulpy formats. In their new guise, perhaps they will attract some new readers.
My only criticism concerns that trick that writers use to set up an unbelievable event. We see it all the time in the movies: before the truck explodes, they show us a gas leak. That way, when the truck does explode, we not only know why, but we see it as something that was likely to happen. Wyndam uses this tactic to excess, right down to a conversation Bill has with a coworker about how the triffids sure would be deadly to a blind person. "We can see and they can't. Take away that, and the superiority is gone." That's a somewhat unneccesary foundation, and not the only one of its kind. But in a novel with this monstrosity of a bizarre setting, it is a forgivable mistake to make.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Is the human race getting too smart for their own good?, June 7 2002
The Day of the Triffids is set in the suburbs of England in the early twenty-first century. Bill Masen, the main character, is admitted to the hospital after having survived a savage attack by a triffid, a strange and unusual carnivorous plant. During the assault, the triffid struck him across the face, injuring his eyes. The doctors are making every effort to prevent Bill from becoming blind by performing a risky surgery. Little do they know, they will save his sight more than once. While Bill is in the hospital, the Earth passes through what is believed to be a cloud of comet debris, creating what the press calls, "the most remarkable celestial spectacle on record." However, the beautiful meteor shower has a hidden catch - all who watch it become blind. Bill, who is unable to view the phenomenon due to his bandaged eyes, awakens the next morning to a deathly silence. After removing his bandages, he comes to the awful realization that everyone around him is sightless. He ventures out of the hospital and teams up with a young author, Josella Playton, another lucky person who can see as well. Together they explore the country in the hope of finding more humans who have not been blinded by the meteor shower. Instead, they discover that the triffids have begun to walk and are attacking the blinded humans. The Day of the Triffids relates the story of Bill and Josella's fight to survive against seemingly impossible odds in a world of chaos, violence, and destruction.
John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids is an exciting and compelling novel that will keep the reader hanging on to every word, just waiting to see what will happen next. The plot of the book is farfetched yet understandable and interesting, and leaves one wondering if something so horrifying could occur in the world today. It also makes one think about whether or not our advances in science are actually as beneficial as they initially seem. Is the human race getting too smart for their own good? Wyndham strings together a series of events in such a way that every part of the book is engrossing, and he leaves the reader begging for more.
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Day Of The Triffids
Day Of The Triffids by John Wyndham (Paperback - Feb. 1 2001)
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