Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $4.08 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
The Chrysalids (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – November 18, 2008
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
"John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids anticipates and surpasses many of today’s dystopian thrillers….The Chrysalids explores intolerance and bigotry with satisfying complexity as it races toward an ending that is truly unpredictable." —The Seattle Times
"One of the most thoughtful post-apocalypse novels ever written. Wyndham was a true English visionary, a William Blake with a science doctorate." -- David Mitchell
"Sometimes you just need a bit of soft-core sci-fi, and Wyndham’s 1950’s classic, newly back in print, fully delivers." --Thicket Magazine
"It is quite simply a page-turner, maintaining suspense to the very end and vividly conjuring the circumstances of a crippled and menacing world, and of the fear and sense of betrayal that pervade it. The ending, a salvation of an extremely dubious sort, leaves the reader pondering how truly ephemeral our version of civilization is..." --The Boston Globe
“[Wyndham] was responsible for a series of eerily terrifying tales of destroyed civilisations; created several of the twentieth century's most imaginative monsters; and wrote a handful of novels that are rightly regarded as modern classics.” –The Observer (London)
“Science fiction always tells you more about the present than the future. John Wyndham's classroom favourite might be set in some desolate landscape still to come, but it is rooted in the concerns of the mid-1950s. Published in 1955, it's a novel driven by the twin anxieties of the cold war and the atomic bomb…Fifty years on, when our enemy has changed and our fear of nuclear catastrophe has subsided, his analysis of our tribal instinct is as pertinent as ever.” –The Guardian (London)
“[A]bsolutely and completely brilliant…The Chrysalids is a top-notch piece of sci-fi that should be enjoyed for generations yet to come.” –The Ottawa Citizen
“John Wyndham's novel The Chrysalids is a famous example of 1950s Cold War science fiction, but its portrait of a community driven to authoritarian madness by its overwhelming fear of difference - in this case, of genetic mutations in the aftermath of nuclear war - finds its echoes in every society.” –The Scotsman
“The Chrysalids comes heart-wrenchingly close to being John Wyndham's most powerful and profound work.” –SFReview.net
“Re-Birth (The Chrysalids) was one of the first science fiction novels I read as a youth, and several times tempted me to take a piggy census. Returning to it now, more than 30 years later, I find that I remember vast parts of it with perfect clarity…a book to kindle the joy of reading science fiction. –SciFi.com
“A remarkably tender story of a post-nuclear childhood…It has, of course, always seemed a classic to most of its three generations of readers...It has become part of a canon of good books.” –The Guardian, September 15, 2000
About the Author
John Wyndham is the pen name of John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris (1903–1969), the son of an English barrister. The boy’s parents separated when he was eight, and after attending various boarding schools, he lived off family money while trying his hand—unsuccessfully—at careers such as law, commercial illustration, and advertising. In 1924 he turned to writing, and within a number of years he was selling short stories, mostly science fiction, to pulp magazines in America, as John Beynon or John Beynon Harris. During World War II, he served behind the lines in the British army, and in 1951 he published The Day of the Triffids, his first novel as John Wyndham, and a tremendous success. John Wyndham’s six other novels include The Kraken Wakes and The Midwich Cuckoos.
Christopher Priest has published eleven novels, three short-story collections, and a number of other books, including critical works, biographies, novelizations, and children’s nonfiction. In 1996 Priest won the World Fantasy Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his novel The Prestige. His most recent novel, The Separation, won both the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Science Fiction Association Award.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I figured I'd give this a shot because supposedly this is one of the author's best works.
As I stated in the title, this story reminds me very much of the X-Men. I'm not sure on the timeline of each but it makes me wonder if X-Men got the idea from this novel. Basically you have a group of teen-mutants who are persecuted by the so-called normal people. Very much the same basic plot line of the X-Men. Just like the X-Men you also have an older Mutant who comes to rescue them elsewhere to study and learn to use their powers. But that is just the basic premise. The mutants don't have any powers that are threatening to the populace. The hatred derives from religion as opposed to fear.
I did not like this story as much as most of the other reviewers. Even though I felt that it was well written I didn't like the story.
In general, I don't like stories that preach and/or have a political agenda. In this story, the message is clear that religion is bad. I am not at all religious. But I don't like when other people put down other people's beliefs. This story takes place in Eastern Canada after an apocalyptic event which is not ever mentioned but was clearly a nuclear war. The people in the town which this story takes place believe that people were made in the image of the creator and any deviation from the norm is very bad. Anybody who is not perfectly normal, even if their imperfection is insignificant is exiled and doomed to a short life. Any animals that deviate from the norm are immediately killed. In effect, the townspeople are all religious fanatics.
This story focuses on a group of kids who can speak to each other by mental telepathy. They live in fear of their abilities being discovered which would mean their doom.
To me, the best parts of post-apocalyptic fiction deals with the exploration of the world and finding out what's out there as well as who is out there. There is a little bit of that in this novel and the names are all clues as to where they are and where they are going.
Ultimately, I was a bit disappointed. It's not a bad novel. It's well written and has an interesting plot. But for whatever reason I just didn't end up enjoying it as much as Wyndham's other stories.
Still....I give it 3 stars.
I first read Rebirth (the original US title of The Chrysalids) when I was a child and probably didn't get most of the references. I understood the future post-apocalypse part, having already absorbed Twilight Zone reruns and The Outer Limits. Horror movies had made me aware that nuclear attacks could lead to mutations, long before I learned it any science class. I don't know if I would have made any analogies between the fundamentalists in the story and real life fundies as I wasn't exposed to a lot of ultra-religious types.
Because the protagonists are young, this is a tale that would probably today be considered "young adult" although it's a story anyone can enjoy, and everyone should read. I wonder if teenagers today, reared on The Hunger Games would like it. They might. The young people in Rebirth are also being in endangered by their society. They aren't wizards, but like Harry Potter and his friends, they aren't exactly muggles either.
The setting is someplace in Labrador, which still retains a few familiar place names. (Newfoundland is Newf, for instance). It's warmer than now, presumably not because of greenhouse gases but because of something to do with the "Tribulations" that destroyed the civilization of "the old people." The technology is similar to the early 19th century. The horseless carriage hasn't been reinvented yet, nor are there railroads, and everyone is obsessed by "mutation." Even slightly deviant plants are burnt, and animals slaughtered but not eaten. The government may make allowances when convenient, like considering giant horses "naturally bred." Human babies born even with minor variations such as a port-wine stain, meet a mysterious fate. It's unclear what happens to infants when they don't pass "inspection" although it seems likely it's infanticide. If mutants are discovered when they're older, they are sterilized and exiled to the "Fringes" an "uncivilized" area where life is they are unlikely to survive. Beyond the Fringes, we are told, lie lands blackened and ruined.
David Storm, our narrator and protagonist, grows up in a small community mostly of farms, in a household where his father is a fundamentalist preacher, and his mother is docile. There were other children born who didn't make the cut, and finally a little sister who did. But David, his distant cousin Rosalyn, and a number of other children in the community are keeping a secret. They are telepaths, and understand early on that if discovered this would mean sterilization and exile. David's sister Petra turns out to have powers way beyond the abilities of others that are clear from an even earlier age, which places the group in danger, as does young adulthood, when one of the group falls in love with a "norm" and shares their secret.
Their power seems to operate much like radio with a specific range. Petra's range, however, is limitless and she eventually makes contacts with others in a distant land - a civilization far more advanced than the one they live in. In that place, telepathy is the norm, and those who don't have it try to develop it, but no one so young has Petra's powers. She's important enough for the others to save, and they attempt to do so by sending an airship (described as being blimp-like and slower than our planes). But will it come in time?
The edition I read was within a hardcover anthology, A Treasury of Great Science Fiction, Volume I, which I found once upon a time in our family room/basement. It's also available in several other editions. As it's novella length, it's often paired with other work or anthologized.