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John Wyndham: Three Novels

This month's Featured Book is strictly speaking 3 books, but they do come in one slipcase, published by the Folio Society.

The illustrations are by Patrick Leger, who gives all three volumes a fabulous fifties vintage look.

It has been a long while since I have read these books. I probably read them in my early teens and if my memory serves me right, it was my first foray into the world of Science Fiction books.

When I looked at the John Wyndham bibliography, I realised that I must have liked his writing quite a lot as I have read six novels and two books of short stories.

So to the novels themselves -

The Day of the Triffids

Many people would say that it was this book that established John Wyndham as a writer, and it is considered by some to be his best book.

The main character in the book is Bill Mason who is a biologist working on a carnivorous plant called a Triffid. One day he gets splashed in the eyes with Triffid poison and he is admitted to hospital and his eyes are bandaged. Whilst he is recovering in hospital, he hears that there has been a green 'meteor shower'. The next day, anybody who had watched it is now blind...

The Chrysalids

This is book is set in the distant future, but with a pre-industrial way of living.

They also practise a type of fundamentalist religion where everyone and everything must conform to the 'norm', where there is no room for anykind of mutation... Those that don't conform are either killed or sentenced and banished to the 'Fringe'. Within the society there emerges a group of youngsters, who hide their abilities - the ability to communicate with each other using telepathy - but for how long?

The Midwich Cuckoos

One night in the village of Midwich, nobody can enter or leave the village and anyone who tries falls unconscious. An aerial photograph reveals a silver object on the ground, but by the next day the silver object has gone and Midwich is back to normal.

However over the coming months it is apparent that every woman of childbearing age is now pregnant! When the children are born they do not resemble their parents, but who do they look like? What will happen to the children, what special powers do they have, and what will happen to the village of Midwich?


Contributed by Theresa

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