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When the Tripods Came Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 2003

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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 was the pseudonym of Samuel Youd, who was born in Lancashire, England, in 1922. He was 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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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: 4.2 x 0.5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #632,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sam Youd was born in Lancashire in April 1922, during an unseasonable snowstorm.

As a young boy, he was devoted to the newly emergent genre of science-fiction: 'In the early thirties,' he later wrote, 'we knew just enough about the solar system for its possibilities to be a magnet to the imagination.'

Over the following decades, his imagination flowed from science-fiction into general novels, cricket novels, medical novels, gothic romances, detective thrillers, light comedies ... In all he published fifty-six novels and a myriad of short stories, under his own name as well as eight different pen-names.

He is perhaps best known as John Christopher, author of the seminal work of speculative fiction, The Death of Grass (today available as a Penguin Classic), and a stream of novels in the genre he pioneered, young adult dystopian fiction, beginning with The Tripods Trilogy.
'I read somewhere,' Sam once said, 'that I have been cited as the greatest serial killer in fictional history, having destroyed civilisation in so many different ways - through famine, freezing, earthquakes, feral youth combined with religious fanaticism, and progeria.'
In an interview towards the end of his life, conversation turned to a recent spate of novels set on Mars and a possible setting for a John Christopher story: strand a group of people in a remote Martian enclave and see what happens.

The Mars aspect, he felt, was irrelevant. 'What happens between the people,' he said, 'that's the thing I'm interested in.'

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Nicole Alger VINE VOICE on January 10, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
First of all, I hate the reprint covers. The covers themselves are silly looking, and the numbers on the side are misleading. I would not read When the Tripods Came until after you've read the entire series (The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead and The Pool of Fire). When the Tripods Came is a PREQUAL, and if you read it before the other books, you lose the sense of "what happened to our world" that you want to have when you read the series. So, if you even want to read this book (it's not really needed with the rest of the series; the characters are not the same anyway and the story is only interesting if you want to know what happened to the world, but it is pretty much explained in the other books anyway), go ahead and read it, but you don't lose much by not reading it. (But, as a message to all, don't read this book first! It is not the first book!)
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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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11 of 12 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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18 of 22 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 6, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A 14 year old boy named Laurie tries to flee England from gigantic three legged machines called Tripods. With his family and his friend named Andy,Laurie has a long and dangerous journey from England to Switzerland. His Uncle even tries to "cap" Laurie. The rule of the Tripods is when a child turns the age of 14,they must be capped,and Laurie dosen't want to be capped. Once capped,you are brainwashed and in total control of the Tripods. Laurie finds new friends,almost gets capped,and nearly gets in a plane crash! I reccomend this book to anybody who likes Science-Fiction and Adventure. This book is a page turner at the end. You'll never want to stop reading it!!!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 1, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I thought this book was well written. Perhaps not as well as the rest of the series, but it holds many good answers to the series that the rest do not answer. Very good description on how the world was taken over. Very interesting on how un-capped humans came to live in the White Mountains. I do have one suggestion: Read the first three books before reading this one. I think the magic in the series is NOT knowing how the Tripods and Masters took over the earth. This book was written as a prequal, a book made to explain things that were left out in the other books. If you read this one first, I do think the rest of the series: The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead, and The Pool of Fire, will not hold as much magic and imagination if you had read it last. Very good, very thorough, but meant to be the last read.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 10, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Years and years after finishing his highly popular and adaptable "Tripod" trilogy, John Christopher caved into public yearning and added a single prequel to his three-part series. Fans of the "Tripod" books are divided as to whether or not this was a good idea. Some people claim that the three books are perfect in and of themselves and that this prequel was a bad idea poorly executed. Others state that this is a well-written book that definitively clarifies how the tripods got a hold on the world in the way that they did. And still others, like myself, think that the books are pretty silly to begin with, but they're fun reading and a prequel like this one isn't going to change what was already out there. Nuff said.

In this book we meet our hero Laurie (who, I should tell you right now, is a boy) and his best friend Andy. While participating in a wilderness trek, the two come across a startling scene. It happens in the middle of the night as they camp out in an abandoned shed. From over the horizon they spot a huge three legged machine, picking its way carefully along the landscape. To their horror, the machine casually plucks up an escaping farmer, and destroys the man's house with a few well-aimed bashes. In no time the army is called, and when attempts at a peaceful reconciliation are dropped, they destroy the tripod forthwith. Laurie and Andy return home to their families and all seems to go back to normal. Of course, there is that weird tv show that came out after the Tripod disaster called the Trippy show. It's your usual fast-paced tripod-based entertainment with catchy music. Laurie's half-sister is obsessed with it, and she's not alone. Suddenly people all over the world are watching the show and becoming mindless pawns.
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