Author: John Wyndham
Genre: Sci-fi, fiction, classics, horror, apocalyptic
Fantastic, frightening, but entirely plausible, John Wyndham’s famous story of a world dominated by monstrous, stinging plants, catches the imagination like the best of H. G. Wells.
Thoughts: Here’s my next book review for March, and I’m moving on from Six of Crows, and Crooked Kingdom finally. I was convinced to try out the 1951 classic, The Day of the Triffids. Some may have seen the TV series, or even the movie, but this is the original story they were based on. And I’ve got a few things to say about this one, it’s both good and bad. Let’s get started…
From the title, and the first line (above), I was intrigued to find out more, and I really enjoyed the first chapter. It introduces Bill, our main protagonist, who is in hospital with bandages over his eyes. The reason for this is later explained in future chapters. What makes it exciting though, is that outside, the world is experiencing the most spectacular meteorite shower ever – and Bill misses it. What nobody realises is, once they wake up the next morning, everyone who saw the bright flashes of light, is forevermore, completely blind. So, fairly exciting start. Then after this, it just gets confusing.
(in science fiction) a member of a race of predatory plants which are capable of growing to a gigantic size and are possessed of locomotive ability and a poisonous sting.
This is the definition that I missed while reading, and probably the reason I was so confused. After the exciting, imaginative start, it goes into a bit of explanation and backfill into Bill’s earlier life. This part lost me for quite a while. Another thing about it is, because it is such a ‘realistic’ sci-fi story, it does get a little boring. For almost a whole chapter, it’s just him walking and wandering around the streets of London, wondering what’s going on, and what he’s going to do, and then on top of that, the explanations. While this is quite possibly what would happen if it were to happen to the real world, this is what makes it a little slow.
In saying this, once he meets another person, Josella, things do start to heat up a bit. And then this continues throughout the entire book. All up, it is a bit of a slow, meandering story of the apocalypse, and because it is so realistic, and believable, it becomes really scary. The fact that Wyndham was able to predict what would happen to the world in so much detail is quite amazing. He got right down into how individual people’s values and ethics go right out the window, and also how different countries react in times of great crisis. It shows and reveals some very true facts about the Human race which some might not have realised.
“It must be, I thought, one of the race’s most persistent and comforting hallucinations to trust that “it can’t happen here” — that one’s own time and place is beyond cataclysm.”
― John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids
There was a point at which I had to stop myself from looking at the next page, as I needed to know what was going to happen, but knew I couldn’t look. This generally means there is a rise in tension, and a climax. But, in saying this, I couldn’t tell you where the climax was, or whether it rose in tension at all. It’s just one of the books that stays the same tension the entire way through, which is how lots of these types of classics are, I’ve found.
And now onto the ending. It did resolve, but also left some very big questions unanswered, which annoyed me. I wasn’t sure whether it was going to resolve at all, because it was still going in the last few pages, but it did get there in the end. I really needed to know how it all began in the first place; I feel like this could have added another creative effect, which I would’ve appreciated. But no, I guess it had to leave a bit of speculation.
I sort of feel like I’m sounding very negative, when it’s not that bad of a book. It’s definitely a very creative story, especially for when it was written. There’s been the early versions of Sci–fi before the 19th century, and then there was Frankenstein, and a little after that, H.G. Wells. I’d say this book fits in well with this type of genre of book, even if it is a little younger. So, if you enjoy the classics, especially science fiction I’d say you’d rather enjoy this book. Also if you’re a big fan of just sci-fi, I’d say you have to read this, because it’s one of the early stories before the young adult aspect came into everything.
I’m going to say I enjoyed the story itself, especially the idea, but not the book, just because it was too slow and meandering for me. I get bored quite easily in books, which probably isn’t the best trait for a bookworm, but that’s just how it is, I’m afraid.