16.1.13

John Wyndham - The Day of the Triffids

Rating 7.5

Wow, reading this one was good fun!

Let's make it straight: I still think that War with the Newts by Karel Capek cannot be surpassed as a sci-fi dystopian novel, but - in its best moments - The Day of the Triffids certainly get close to that underrated model.

You have to agree that carnivorous aggressive two metres tall plants feeding themselves with the rotten corpses of the human beings they hunt down are pretty decent villains. The idea of making all the world population save a few souls blind is brilliant and not redundant at all as the author needed to explain why triffids managed to take the Earth over.

True, this book has a minor flaw. It is affected by a certain post-post Victorian mannerism that makes it less spectacular and apocalyptic that it could have been. Wyndham could have spared us with the unlikely love story subplot and put more gruesome and creepy descriptions in this novel rather than the odd peeping Tom moment.


Yes! They made a movie out of this novel in the roaring 1960s. And it does look scary; quite unintentionally, though

John Wyndham doesn't seem to take his triffids as seriously as they may deserve at a first (and especially at a second!) glance, but doesn't resort to irony in depicting them too: which is a pity.
Nevertheless, the novel keeps an enjoyable pace - apart from a few unnecessary descriptions - and benefits from its metropolitan London and then countryside setting.

Due to its quintessentially post-post Victorian soul, to a certain puritanism and to what we may call a sort of happy ending, they called this novel a 'cosy catastrophe' and this label may well be true, but only to a certain extent.

Mr. Wyndham pay his debt to The Scarlet Plague by Jack London more than once, but manages to keep himself original on the whole.


The novel left its mark in the 1980s thanks to a bunch of Aussies from Perth

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