on February 25, 2004
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!
PS Do me a favor and click "yes" if you would be interested in seeing a modern Hollywood remake Day of the Triffids.
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.
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.
on March 9, 2004
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.
on November 22, 1999
This is the first serious novel I ever read. (Before that I was only reading Doctor Who tie-in's.) After seeing the BBC adaptation on TV I wanted to read this book. I got it when I was 11 and have cherished it ever since. This was the book that made John Wyndham famous: the overnight destruction of civilization by "comet debris", the world overrun by flesh-eating plants called triffids.
One could look at this book as a war between man and nature on a grand scale. When mankind was the species that dominated all others, nature was driven back, "suppressed", or killed in the name of progress. When the tables are suddenly turned, it looks as if mankind is in decline. As the years pass, dead cities are slowly disappearing, turning into jungles as nature takes hold. In a matter of time nature will take over completely and the triffids will be the new inheritors. Unless the human race can fight back and reassert itself.
I have lost count of how many times I have read this book. I am 23 and the story is just as effective now as it was when I first read it. I like seeing all the different cover artwork that people have done for this book. The fact that it's been reprinted so many times is proof that this novel shows no sign of losing its popularity.
on April 19, 1999
Until last week "The Day of The Triffids" was something I'd only heard of. And what I'd heard made me quite certain that I would never watch the film and I didn't know it was a book. But I recently read The Chrysalids on the recommendation of a friend and absolutely loved it. So I plucked up the courage and read The Day of The Triffids. I didn't have any preconceived notions as to what it was about so I was shocked when the world was blinded. I stayed up until the early hours of the morning reading it - I couldn't put it down before finishing it because I was certain to have nightmares. The next day I was strangely subdued - it's not often that a book affects me in that way. I can't express how pleased I am that I've read The Day of the Triffids - I feel awfully sorry for anyone who hasn't. Not that I'm in a hurry to read it again. I think I'll read it every decade so that it has the same affect on me each time. It is definitely on my top ten of books, and I've read a lot of books...
on June 25, 2000
I am fortunate that I had not seen the movie before picking up this book--it would have persuaded me not to buy it. Day of the Triffids is a fantatstic science fiction story written in the 1950s but is hardly outdated. The main reason that the story stays current is that the main issues in this book are not about technology (like a lot of scifi) but deal with human psychology and cultural issues following a mass catastrophe.
(I would like to ask Margaret Atwood if she was influenced by some of Wyndham's ideas about gender issues discussed in this book before she wrote the Handmaid's Tale...there are some definate similarities concerning the post-apocolyptic role of women).
If you live in London, this book is especially good. Everyday I walk past the various parks and university areas that the triffids run over in the book. The story really comes to life when you walk past Russell Square and imagine triffids swaying in the wind.
on March 9, 2004
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. (...)Read also Night of the Triffids by Simon Clark it was pretty good overall, especially if you are a fan of killer plants destroying the world!
on November 2, 2003
I first saw the movie Day of the Triffids With Howard Keel and was interested in reading the book. I found that the book was very interesting and thought provocing as it has the elements many of which can be found being put forward in scientific circles today. Man tinkering around with genetics that may one day engulf and possibly overshadow mankind itself by mistake or mutation. I found the book to be one that once I started I had to finnish to see the outcome. The book puts man against the triffids but the handicap gives the plants an advantage over most of mankind. The few people that have retained thier sight have their hands full staying alive. This book makes the one who reads it actually become one of the charactors either main or background. This book is exciting reading. Mr.Wyndham was truly a writer before his time
on November 15, 1998
As a SF-Veteran, established Asimov lover, I have spent the last few years reading the very best of Science Fiction. Now, with resources running slim and few options left (name it, I read it), A series of unlikely events led me to this wonderfully smashing read. I have always books which are Epic. Epic in social, mental, physical and violent(once in a while :) proportions. Asimov did it wonderfully (too bad he no longer lives :(., etc.,etc. The style is slightly different from more modern and ("upbeat" and "plotless" and "immature") sf, but not Shakespearean(Caesar was good...). If you don't like this book, chances are you don't belong in Science Fiction. Hit the road jack.