11 of 12 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 Bill...
Published on Feb 25 2004 by Stacey Cochran
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Triffids Light It Up!,
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!
PS Do me a favor and click "yes" if you would be interested in seeing a modern Hollywood remake Day of the Triffids.
4.0 out of 5 stars Ridiculous Premise, Great Story,
Suspend your disbelief and read the book. The motivations and actions of people trying to survive are realistic and interesting. And the various philosophies for both individual and group survival are thought-provoking. You will enjoy this story if you have enjoyed any of The Stand, Alas, Babylon, or Earth Abides. It is a thoughtful exploration of the fall of civilization and its implications, packaged in an engaging adventure. Good reading.
A caution: Enjoying science fiction always requires some suspension of disbelief. Even more so with older science fiction. In this case, the story and exploration of ideas is worth this effort. Don't trouble yourself wondering why the cold of winter doesn't help human beings in their struggle with these walking plants. Or why most of the unstable triffids don't expire in some "I've fallen and can't get up" scenario. (Their anatomy as described wouldn't permit them to bend enough to get up from a prone position.) You can find more of these issues if you try. Don't. Not the first time through, anyway. Just enjoy a great story from one of the masters of early science fiction.
4.0 out of 5 stars Is the human race getting too smart for their own good?,
This review is from: The Day of the Triffids (Library Binding)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.
4.0 out of 5 stars Old sci-fi at its best...,
This review is from: The Day of the Triffids (Audio Cassette)I love old sci-fi movies -- especially those made in the late 50s and 60s. This book was reminiscent of those old movies. It had the same character build-up, the sense of despair, and horror at what was happening, which was countered with the determination of the individuals to survive no matter what the odds.
The book started off well, and continued on in the same vein, giving enough information along the way to paint the picture of what life might be like if nature turned on us and another form of life took over.
The story is told through the eyes of Bill Masen, one of the lucky ones who survived the first events and retained his eye sight. Through his eyes we see mankind turning on each other, we desolation, and we experience fear. Fortunately, we also see hope and the will to live through a story well told. I recommend this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MAN...THOU SHALT FEEL THE STING OF THE LASH...,
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars Post-Apocalypse Now!,
This review is from: Day Of The Triffids (Paperback)Fantastic, frightening and entirely plausible, "Day of the Triffids" is a post-apocalyptic story based on a simple hypothesis - mass blindness coupled with the natural disaster of a mobile stinging plant called the triffid created by genetic engineering gone sour! Wyndham's genius is how he uses the tale of his still sighted protagonists, Bill Masen and Josella Playton, to address the moral and psychological issues that would be certain to raise their heads in this particular new world order - the definition of marriage, sexuality and the survival of the race, law and order, male vs female roles, government and authority, survival of the fittest and many more. Thought provoking in the extreme and yet still completely satisfying even when read only on the surface as a science-fiction thriller!
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing,
This review is from: Day Of The Triffids (Paperback)This was a fantastic book, dealing with an apocalypse and humanity's responses to it. No quite the same as 'Resident Evil' and '28 Days Later' which both were inspired by this book, but much more entertaining and intellectual.
5.0 out of 5 stars My 100-word book review,
This review is from: Day Of The Triffids (Paperback)John Wyndham's novels have often been mislabelled "cosy catastrophes". However, there is little that is very cosy about The Day of the Triffids, a gritty and poignant novel about global disaster and the end of civilisation. This is an SF classic for very good reasons, not least due to the triffids themselves, wonderfully menacing plant monsters, who take advantage of humanity's disarray to make their bid for world domination. The word "triffid", like the word "dalek", is now a permanent part of the English language, reason enough to make this novel essential reading for science fiction and mainstream readers alike.
4.0 out of 5 stars When Vegetarianism Goes Wrong,
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'.
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not as good as his short stories,
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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Day Of The Triffids by John Wyndham (Paperback - Feb 1 2001)
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