The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
(20th Century Rediscoveries)

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If you only know about The Day of the Triffids from watching the 1963, Steve Sekely film, you are definitely missing something by ignoring the novel. Unlike the movie ...the novel has a chance to flesh out both characters and situations.
-SF Site

Synopsis

The Times wrote of John Wyndham's terrifying post-apocalyptic thriller The Day of the Triffids that it had, "All the reality of a vividly realized nightmare."

It may best serve our purposes to tell what triffids actually are. Triffids are odd, interesting little plants that grow in everyone's garden. Triffids are no more than mere curiosities until an event occurs that alters human life: what seems to be a spectacular meteor shower, turns into a bizarre, green inferno that blinds everyone and thus renders humankind helpless. What follows is even stranger: spores from the inferno cause the triffids to suddenly take on a life of their own and they become large, crawling vegetation with the ability to uproot itself and roam about the country attacking humans and inflicting pain and agony.

William Masen somehow managed to escape being blinded in the inferno (yet he was still hospitalized, eyes bandaged following surgery), and he is now one of the few surviving human beings who can see and who can avoid being attacked by the triffids and who just might be able to save mankind from the terrible chaos as well as possible extinction.

The Day of the Triffids is generally held to be Wyndham's finest novel, and it was his first truly significant work. Wyndham's writing style has aptly been described as "speculative fiction". However, the real power of this book lays not in its pure invention but rather in its matter-of-fact depiction of such bizarre phenomena happening so suddenly in the midst of day-to-day life.

The narrative voice of William Masen is calm and reasoned as he describes the ongoing nightmare and the attempt of those who try to prevail as he recalls the struggle from an almost historical perspective. The story is therefore mesmerizing and has never lost its quiet terror.

The Midwich Cuckoos was made into the blockbuster cult horror film Village of the Damned.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris (1903-69) was a British novelist who wrote under the name John Wyndham, although he had at least seven other pen names. Wyndham began publishing stories in the early 1930s, often in American magazines, but did not really find his stride as a writer until he returned from serving for World War II. The War changed the world drastically, and it was now in the grips of nuclear apocalypse, a scenario that both terrified and fascinated Wyndam. While Wyndham's approach to writing is best classified as fantasy and science fiction, his work is often said to transcend both genre and category. Both The Day of the Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos (titled The Village of the Damned) were made into blockbuster movies.

SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

From classic book to classic film, RosettaBooks has gathered some of most memorable books into film available. The selection is broad ranging and far reaching, with books from classic genre to cult classic to science fiction and horror and a blend of the two creating whole new genres like Richard Matheson's The Shrinking Man. Classic works from Vonnegut, one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, meet with E.M. Forster's A Passage to India. Whether the work is centered in the here and now, in the past, or in some distant and almost unimaginable future, each work is lasting and memorable and award-winning.
 

About John Wyndham

See more books from this Author
John Wyndham (1903–1969) was a successful English author who wrote novels and short stories from the 1950s to the ’70s, focusing on science fiction and creating many classics still popular today, including Out of the Deep.Edmund Morris won a Pulitzer Prize for The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, the first in a trilogy, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for the sequel, Theodore Rex, both available as Modern Library Paperbacks. He lives in New York.
 
Published July 1, 2010 by RosettaBooks. 256 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Action & Adventure, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Day of the Triffids
All: 5 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Above average
on Sep 02 2001

Set squarely in postwar England, Wyndham's apocalyptic vision of nature's triumph over civilisation is partly stylised...Frightening and powerful, Wyndham's vision remains an important allegory and a gripping story.

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Blog Critics

Above average
on Aug 30 2009

...the Malthusian logic of The Day of the Triffids is notable for its unsentimental bleakness. Yet this does not diffuse or undercut the potency of its critique. Indeed if anything it makes it more powerful, and certainly more prescient.

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SF Site

Above average
Reviewed by Steven H Silver on Mar 24 2013

If you only know about The Day of the Triffids from watching the 1963, Steve Sekely film, you are definitely missing something by ignoring the novel. Unlike the movie ...the novel has a chance to flesh out both characters and situations.

Read Full Review of The Day of the Triffids (20th...

Time Magazine

Above average
Reviewed by Alexandra Silver on Jun 08 2010

Before there was Little Shop of Horrors, there was The Day of the Triffids. Giant, mobile, poisonous, and hungry plants stalk through John Wyndham’s 1951 novel feasting on the human race, which, unfortunately, has gone collectively blind.

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Helium

Above average
Reviewed by John Devera on Jun 06 2009

The Day of the Triffids, by John Wyndham is a classic novel that should be required reading for anyone who wants to be...It is an Armageddon apocalyptic story that typifies a lot of what Wyndham does, but in this novel he does it perfectly.

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