night of the triffids.
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Fifty-two years later, this horrifying story is a science fiction classic, touted by The Times London as having all the reality of a vividly realized nightmare. Bill Masen, bandages over his wounded eyes, misses the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. Removing his bandages the next morning, he finds masses of sightless people wandering the city.
He soon meets Josella, another lucky person who has retained her sight, and together they leave the city, aware that the safe, familiar world they knew a mere twenty-four hours before is gone forever. But to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids, strange plants that years before began appearing all over the world.
The Triffids can grow to over seven feet tall, pull their roots from the ground to walk, and kill a man with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers.
With society in shambles, they are now poised to prey on humankind. Wyndham chillingly anticipates bio-warfare and mass destruction, fifty years before their realization, in this prescient account of Cold War paranoia. Get A Copy. Paperbackpages. Published July 1st by Modern Library first published More Details Original Title. Bill MasenJosella Playton. London, England United Kingdom. International Fantasy Award Nominee for Fiction Other Editions Friend Reviews.
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Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of The Day of the Triffids. Aug 19, carol. Shelves: sci-fiend-of-the-world-as-we-know-itmale-leadclassic. A classic. Sometimes classic is good. Sometimes classic is interesting. And sometimes, it's classic just because it was first, not best. For me, Triffids is a classic in the last sense, as one of the first novels in an era exploring the end of civilization.
Colored by recent events of World War II, many writers in the 50s focused on nuclear holocaust. Wyndham went a slightly different direction, forseeing genetic manipulation and biological warfare.
While his vision interested me, the didactic A classic. While his vision interested me, the didactic tone, the half-baked attempt at romance and the quelle suprise characterization of women downgraded my enthusiasm. Is an apocalypse where women don't automatically become babymakers permitted?
Yes, I know: he's reflective of his time period. It just goes to show how deeply ingrained our culture can be, that he can imagine revolutionary technology and walking, stalking plants, but not a reinvention of humanity where women aren't popping babies out until they die. It begins in a hospital, the night after most of the world has been watching the night meteor showers, a brilliant display of natural fireworks.
Our narrator, Bill, has been stuck in a ward, waiting for his bandages to come off. He's been temporarily blinded by the poison from a triffid, a strange, semi-carnivorous plant capable of pulling up roots and walking to a better location. The day he is supposed to get his bandages removed, he's struck by the absence of hospital staff. If you've seen Night of the Cometyou know the drill. His discovery, his emotional turmoil--all feels well done and believable.
However, I struggled with Wyndhams vision of the societal response of view spoiler [ mass chaos, destruction and despair based entirely on blindness. Here is where Wyndham shone; he created an ominous tone and a sense of danger to humans from plants.
By the time he brings the story around to the present, I was invested in Bill's survival as he negotiates the new world, even if he does it with frequent stops at the pub.
The Day of the Triffids
Unfortunately, the introduction of Josella, a modern, liberated writer--although not nearly as liberated as her Shades of Grey stories would have her seem--proved to be problematic for me. It was her insistence that he impregnate a harem--although she would chose the two lucky ladies. Ah, the British stiff upper lip. It was one of those moments that seemed to expose the vast chasm between late s and current time, the idea that being blind equated to useless dependency.
I was interested in his ethical conundrum until he took the quick escape by view spoiler [ introducing a virulent disease. In retrospect, the focus seems more about exploring the breakdown of society and how people chose to re-construct in the aftermath, and not about the characters or plot.
Granted, that's frequently a staple of the genre, but here emotional engagement was limited, so it didn't reach its potential. Although, perhaps that was a good thing, as too much focus on Josella might have caused eyestrain. Three and a half stars. View all 31 comments. Mar 18, Nataliya rated it really liked it Shelves: reads.
Some books can be quite ill-served by their title. But you gotta agree - a more appropriate title for this unexpected gem of a book such as "How complete disintegration of society and civilization as we know it, the sudden helplessness and the painful realization how little it takes to throw us off our tenuous Some books can be quite ill-served by their title.
But you gotta agree - a more appropriate title for this unexpected gem of a book such as "How complete disintegration of society and civilization as we know it, the sudden helplessness and the painful realization how little it takes to throw us off our tenuous perch on the top of the food chain leads to uncomfortable ethical questions about societal structures and conventions and the implications of successful survival in a forever changed world where our morals and ideas and what we think constitutes humanity may become quite obsolete" - well, it doesn't really roll off the tongue, does it?
This book is really about survival in the midst of disintegrating society and all the implications of it that go against the frequent and quite stereotypical portrayal of such happenings. It's not an optimistic ode to the courageous and morally sound few who carry the torch of civilization into the future while dodging death, slaying monsters and coming unscathed out of numerous death traps, proving again and again that humanity triumphs over all obstacles.
No, it's more somberly bleak than that. In Wyndham's story, it did not take much to unravel our society. All it took was a case of worldwide blindness after a breathtakingly beautiful meteor shower that left the vast majority of humans blind, and in the resulting confusion and struggle present-day civilization found its end. Add to it a plague-like outbreak that followed, and finally the titular triffids semi-sentient mobile carnivorous plants carelessly bioengineered by humans back when our supremacy was a given - and the survivors of the disaster have their hands full when they try to survive and rebuild some kind of organized new world.
Even yet I had the feeling that it was all something too big, too unnatural really to happen. Yet I knew that it was by no means the first time that it had happened. The corpses of other great cities are lying buried in deserts, and obliterated by the jungles of Asia.
Some of them fell so long ago that even their names have gone with them.
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But to those who lived there their dissolution can have seemed no more probable or possible than the necrosis of a great modern city seemed to me 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 little time and place is beyond cataclysms. And now it was happening here.
Unless there should be some miracle I was looking on the beginning of the end of London - and very likely, it seemed, there were other men, not unlike me, who were looking on the beginning of the end of New York, Paris, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Bombay, and all the rest of the cities that were destined to go the way of those others under the jungle.
What do we preserve?
What do we have to discard? How do we deal with realizing our own weakness and fragility as a species? Is there a place for the old values and ideas of good and evil, of morals, of responsibility - or does the changed society make us necessarily evolve with it? How much can we move on in the world that has moved on?