- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Modern Library; Reprinted edition (2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812967127
- ISBN-13: 978-0812967128
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 403 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Day of the Triffids Paperback – July 1, 2003
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"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."
--JOE R. LANSDALE
"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."
From the Inside Flap
In 1951 John Wyndham published his novel "The Day of the Triffids to moderate acclaim. Fifty-two years later, this horrifying story is a science fiction classic, touted by "The Times (London) as having "all the reality of a vividly realized nightmare."
Bill Masen, bandages over his wounded eyes, misses the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. Removing his bandages the next morning, he finds masses of sightless people wandering the city. He soon meets Josella, another lucky person who has retained her sight, and together they leave the city, aware that the safe, familiar world they knew a mere twenty-four hours before is gone forever.
But to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids, strange plants that years before began appearing all over the world. The Triffids can grow to over seven feet tall, pull their roots from the ground to walk, and kill a man with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers. With society in shambles, they are now poised to prey on humankind. Wyndham chillingly anticipates bio-warfare and mass destruction, fifty years before their realization, in this prescient account of Cold War paranoia.
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Very reminiscent of a H.G. Wells experience in its format and atmosphere, Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids is narrated by protagonist, Bill Masen, a scientist who gives us first-hand knowledge of not only the moments leading up to a mysterious disaster that blinds nearly all of society, but the subsequent aftermath. Masen says in the book’s opening, “The way I came to miss the end of the world—well, the end of the world I had known for close on thirty years—was sheer accident: like a lot of survival, when you come to think of it.” A mass epidemic occurs when a meteor shower or comet blinds nearly all of civilization. Bill Masen, who is in the hospital recovering from a sting that injured his eye, suddenly realizes that not only has everyone lost their sight, but in many ways, their reason. People who were self-sufficient with their daily existence now have no means to be independent. To make matters worse, along with this epidemic is a mysterious and somewhat sinister plant, a treffid, that not only can sting and blind, but also has the ability to move from one place to the next.
Much like many sci-fis, The Day of the Triffids questions “what if..” and allows the reader to ponder an answer or a probable scenario that would work as a solution. What if we were devoid of resources because so many people were dependent on others? How would we survive? What would be the best course of action to rebuild society? What is the morally right approach to take when such a calamity hits?
Naturally, within this novel is a sudden collective panic is established with the community, a low morale among the populace as they scramble to secure resources and find means to sustenance. Some have little hope and take measures into their own hands. Masen tries in many ways to not only discover who can help, but how it can be done. However, as a pragmatic individual, he also realizes that not all can be saved, that there are flaws with each type of solution.
What I appreciate about Wyndham’s take on this apocalyptic situation is that various aspects of this world-gone-wrong are underplayed (as opposed to many over-the-top modern novels and films), and I think this gives more of a realistic vibe to the story and book. Zombies are cool too, yeah, but I think Wyndham handles a more sophisticated and humanistic approach to a serious epidemic and, for this, it makes for a great read. Within this novel are deep discussion points and ideas that will make you think long after the final page.
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