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The Day of the Triffids (20th Century Rediscoveries) Paperback – July 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Series: 20th Century Rediscoveries
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812967127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812967128
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (246 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This classic sf novel traces the fate of the world after a comet shower blinds most of the world's population. The few with sight must struggle to reconstruct society while fighting mobile, flesh-eating plants called triffids. Samuel West's narration of this powerful and realistic story provides a flawless interpretation of the text. The listener is caught up in the catastrophic chain of events, imagined and told with such skill?by narrator as well as author?that one can easily visualize the cataclysmic events. All of West's vocal characterizations, including cockney accents, female voices, and children's voices, ring true. This superlative production of an outstanding and entertaining novel belongs in all audio collections.?Melody Moxley, Rowan P.L., Salisbury, N.C.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A thoroughly English apocalypse, it rivals H. G. Wells in conveying how the everyday invaded by the alien would feel. No wonder Stephen King admires Wyndham so much."

"John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids is one of my all-time favorite novels. It's absolutely convincing, full of little telling details, and that sweet, warm sensation of horror and mystery."

"My son's middle name is Wyndham. Does that tell you how much I respect and revere the late John Wyndham? And The Day of the Triffids is the best of them all. He was a wonderful writer who was able to reinvigorate science fiction with spectacle and true thrills, and do so with a writing voice that created both suspense and elegance. A true master."

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Customer Reviews

I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone that enjoys classic science fiction.
If you haven't watched the film, or you didn't like it very much, I would most definitely urge you to read this book.
Werrf (
I first read this book at least forty years ago and I enjoyed it even more this time!
Elizabeth Brockington

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

131 of 133 people found the following review helpful By Smaug on May 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
While I stand by the reviews that state the excellence of this story, and the skill of the author, intending purchasers should know that this is an *edited* edition - something I didn't pick up on until reading along with a BBC unabridged reading of the book.
Example - in Chapter 1 when Bill Masen encounters the doctor in the corridors of the hospital - this has been removed from this edition.

The fact this is an edited version needs to be made clear to intending purchasers
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146 of 151 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on September 14, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Day of the Triffids" by John Wyndham seems to be a forgotten child of the post-apocalyptic genre. I'm not sure if this is due to it's relatively unorthodox premise, or it's somewhat dated take on gender roles, but either reason is, frankly, dead wrong as this is an amazing book that ranks with "On the Beach" and "Alas, Babylon" as a cornerstone of the genre. With a premise that is both utterly unique and rich in metaphor, and characters that are charged with emotion, it is a truly gripping read.

What sets "The Day of the Triffids" apart from other books in the genre is its two tiered approach to the end of the world. The first revolves around the eponymous Triffids, which are mobile, semi-carnivorous plants which are presumed to be the result of Soviet genetic tampering. While one would expect that they would be treated as a scourge, quite the opposite occurs as mankind farms them for the rich oils they produce. Thus, is the hubris of man framed quite nicely, and the pieces put in play.

For the triffids are only benign so long as man can control them; when left to their own devices they grow an intensely venomous lash that can kill a full grown human. When a bizarre stellar event leaves everyone who witnessed it blind, the time of the triffids is suddenly at hand. To go further would risk spoiling the plot, but as the few sighted survivors struggle to make sense of, and survive in, their greatly altered world, the triffids become the foremost obstacle to their continued existence.

Thus, "The Day of the Triffids" stands quite nicely as a post-apocalyptic thriller. However, it is what is going on between the lines that makes this a classic. First is the obvious comparison between the triffids and the Soviets.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By S. Chapman on July 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a great classic work of science fiction; however, the Kindle edition doesn't do it justice. Besides not including the Introduction that's included in the paperback edition, the Kindle version is full of typos, missing letters, missing punctuation, and so on. Amazon needs to do a better job of quality control on the books it accepts for the Kindle.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Stacey Cochran on February 25, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Day of the Triffids kicks butt! Two weeks ago I had never heard of John Wyndham, but I found his name in [...] fiction archive, and I looked up his books here at Amazon.

The opening scene in Triffids is mesmerizing. The basic premise of the book is that a meteor shower blinds most of the world population, except for a handful of people. One of lucky ones is Bill Masen, who was in a hospital with bandages over his eyes and was not able to watch the meteor shower. Towards the end of the book, narrator Masen speculates that the meteor shower might have been caused by man-made satellites orbiting Earth, and indeed, the whole apocalyptic vision of the novel voices the concerns any sane human being would have had shortly after WWII and the discovery of the destructive power of atomic energy.

That said, the novel is not at all a doom and gloom book. It is actually quite hopeful, optimistic, and funny. There is a romantic subplot wherein Bill meets a charming woman named Josella Payton, only to be separated from her in the aftermath of the devastating meteor shower. A good part of the book follows Bill's search for Josella through various malevolent organizations that spring up in the months after the meteor shower.

Developing alongside this story line, is the story of the triffids, a kind of six-foot-tall Venus Flytrap with a stinging whip that has the ability to pick up its roots and walk around. In the wake of world blindness, these plants begin attacking people who stumble blindly around London and the English countryside outside of London.

The novel has a very solid ending that made me feel happy to have read the book. It was such a good story I'm going to see if I can get a copy of Wyndham's other classic bestseller, The Cuckoo's of Midwich.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By D. Cloyce Smith on July 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
First published in 1951, this classic science-fiction novel was unique for its time (although undoubtedly inspired by "War of the Worlds"). The story follows the plight of the world's few remaining survivors after three (possibly) coincidental cataclysmic events of uncertain origins: the genetic development of mobile, carnivorous plants; the blinding of the earth's inhabitants by what may or may not have been a meteor shower; and the sudden onset of a mysterious and fatal disease. Most of the world's inhabitants are sightless and unable to defend themselves against the marauding plants, and even those with vision succumb to the plague.
End-of-the-world scenarios have of course been done to death, especially in B-movies, but "Day of the Triffids" has withstood the test of time--not because of its plot, but because it anticipated many other works and because the writing and themes are a cut above your typical pulp fiction. Nearly every episode in the book has been replicated in dozens of science fiction and horror movies and novels. Filmgoers who have seen "Resident Evil" or "28 Days Later" will recognize the opening scene, in which Wiliam Masen wakes up in a hospital room, unaware that the world as he knows it has come to a devastating end. Other scenes recall the "Night of the Living Dead" series and similar films, and the descriptions of the survivors' efforts to rebuild society clearly influenced many later works of dystopian fiction.
Wyndham adopts a minimalist "noir" style for the first sections, using a surreal first-person perspective to convey the confusion, fear, and isolation afflicting William Masen while he tries to figure out what has happened.
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