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When the Tripods Came Mass Market Paperback


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: The Tripods (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse; Reissue edition (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689857624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689857621
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The initial Tripod invasion of Earth seems laughable: armed forces overwhelm two of the giant attackers, and the third simply self-destructs. But when TV stations all over the world begin to broadcast the Trippy Show, the fanscalled Trippiesare hypnotized and flock to Trippy communes. By the time the second Tripod invasion begins, the Trippies greet the aliens as saviors and eagerly don the brainwashing caps provided them. Realizing that they can no longer stay in England and remain uncapped, Laurie and his family journey to Switzerland. When Switzerland falls under the Tripods' spell, Laurie, accompanied by two other boys, flees with his family to a remote spot in the Alps. The small band resolves to devote their lives to fighting the Tripods and thus form the core of the resistance movement that figures in the author's Tripods trilogy. Like those books, this fast-paced adventure explores serious issues of freedom and morality, creating a welcome prequel to the series. Ages 9-14.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

John Christopher is a pseudonym of Samuel Youd, who was born in Lancashire, England, in 1922. He is the author of more than fifty novels and novellas, as well as  numerous short stories. His most famous books include The Death of Grass, the Tripods trilogy, The Lotus Caves, and The Guardians.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Peter Dykhuis VINE VOICE on June 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is really a great book. This being said I am not sure that I would have enjoyed this novel quite as much as if I had not read the Tripod trilogy first. For those of you who are not aware, the Tripod trilogy is series of books that take place in the somewhat distant future of the events that take place in this novel.
This novel covers the arrival of the aliens (Tripods) onto Earth and their rapid conquest of Earth by means of an ingenious method of mind control. A terrifying novel even if it is written for a juvenile audience.
The real point to this book is not so much to tell an independent story but to give us a prequel history to the events in the Tripod Trilogy. As a prequel this book is very good. This book is not nearly as action packed or triumphant as the Tripod series but as a companion it is great. I recommend reading after the Tripod series.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Wilkinson on November 7, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The only thing I have to say is, look at the Teletubbies and the Pokemon craze. Then read the book. Then look at these fads again...from a distance. We may not be threatened in the near future by an invasion from space, but the concept of hypnotising by television/popular culture is close enough to put a chill down your spine. I recommend reading this one *after* the original trilogy. Surprisingly good for a "young adult" sci fi trilogy. Reminds me of "The Giver" in terms of scale and depth of human nature. Movie franchise plausible, laudable.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By kylaekeen@hotmail.com on May 3, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a wonderful compainion to the best-selling series The White Mountains. Very well written, with a hidden moral about what too much television can do to your mind.
Two kids start off in a very modern world, just like the one we live in now. One of the kids younger sister loves a television show called The Trippies. Her brother finds the show very odd, yet nonetheless mesmerizing. After she watches it day after day, and tries to run away, he assumes that there must be a connection between his sister and the t.v show causing all the people who watch the show to go out and worship the 'Tripods'. But what can he do about it?
Like I said before, well written with a compelling and thought-provoking end. One caution: This book does clear up a lot of unanswered question about the rest of the series, but read through the series first. You become a lot more attached to the characters while they try to figure out the mystery of how the Tripods rule the earth and how to defeat them. If you read this book first, you will have a hard time connecting to the rest of the books. The mystery leaves.
Happy readings!
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Caraculiambro on June 7, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read John Christopher's Tripods trilogy when I was about 13, and it made a powerful impression on me. Even at that young age, I suspected it was about something other than the invasion of earth by giant three-legged overlords, and I am pleased to see from the other reviews that I was not alone in my surmises.

Most deeply, for me, this series -- well, at least the first volume -- was about nonconformity and going your own way, even if you didn't understand the need for it at the time. It was ultimately a parable about the rewards and responsibilities of being a freethinking individual.

Coming back to the series (several times!) as an adult has not lessened my admiration of it, although these days I wonder less about the Tripods themselves than I do at Christopher's disciplined writing and adroit storytelling.

Anyhow, the original series left unanswered questions about how exactly the Tripods came to take over the earth. I've read that this tale came about when another science-fiction writer, Brian Aldiss, chided Christopher for having a less-than-believable premise, given the fearsome technology that humans would have been able to deploy against hostile invaders even back in the 1960's, when the original trilogy was published.

And so it was that about 20 years later, in 1988, Christopher returned to the world of the Tripods to craft a prequel, a tale that would explain where the Tripods came from and how it was they took over a world that was armed to the hilt.

Tragically, the story is a bit dumb. I'm glad it wasn't around when I was a teenager, or I probably would have read it first and not finished the other three novels.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 19, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
John Christopher, When the Tripods Came (Dutton, 1988)

This prequel to the Tripods Trilogy, written two decades after the original books, is decent enough, but it certainly doesn't measure up to the three books that preceded it (chronologically) in the series.

Laurie, a British teen, is one of the first in the world to see the Tripods while on an orienteering trip with a friend. The initial tripod, after causing a bit of destruction, is swiftly brought down by the local armed forces. The intelligence behind the Tripods, then, fearful of human technology (as was explained to us in The City of Gold and Lead, in which a very short version of this story appears from the Tripods' POV), the invaders turn to mind control, broadcasting The Trippy Show over pirated TV networks. Laurie's sister falls under the spell, and the family realizes that things are only going to get worse. But their attempts to flee the country are stymied. What to do?

It's not a bad book by any means, but it lacks the magic, and the frantic pace, of the trilogy. Worth reading if you've read the Tripods Trilogy and want a clearer picture of the backstory, but start with the original novels first. ***
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