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The Kraken Wakes Paperback – February 7, 1972

4.2 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Ingenious, horrifying Guardian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

John Wyndham was born in 1903 in the Midlands. After leaving school, he tried his hand at several careers, including farming, law and advertising, before starting to write stories in 1925. During the war he worked as a censor in the Ministry of Information and afterwards served in the Army. The Day of The Triffids was published in 1951, and was followed by many other famous works of science fiction, including The Kraken Wakes, The Chrysalids and The Midwich Cuckoos. Wyndham died in 1969. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Longman (February 7, 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0582233704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0582233706
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,843,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In "The Kraken Wakes" John Wyndham writes about an alien invasion - from the sea. The book is divided into three parts.
Phase One of the invasion begins with the sighting of fireballs that land in oceans around the world. They are a strange phenomena but the public soon lose interest. Then ships start to sink mysteriously...
In Phase Two more and more ships are sinking and people are now aware of some malignant force at work beneath the sea. In this stage of the campaign the invaders are bolder, coming onto the shores of remote islands in "sea tanks" and dragging people to their deaths.
In Phase Three the sea level has risen, and cities are slowly being submerged. Morale is low, society is breaking up, and people are living in small scavenging communities as land, food and fuel become scarce.
This is a good disaster novel and well written, but it's not as good as "The Day of the Triffids". In "Triffids" the destruction was sudden and more immediate. In "Kraken" the destruction is more gradual and drawn out, like a sick man fighting an illness. Like a disease, the invaders are never actually seen, but the damage they do is great. Once more it looks like the human race is finished, but the book ends with optimism. A book worth reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Though somewhat dated now, The Kraken Wakes was one of the earliest, most realistic and best invasion stories of the outer space theme. Some say that its actually superior to Wyndham's other classic 'Day of the Triffids'. Personally I think its a close second and I adore the Triffids.

There's a scifi movie presently at the theatres called Battleship, which is all the rage, about aliens using the oceans for their nefarious deeds, and humankind battling them in some strategic game style manner. Frankly, though its supposed to be a good film, I cant see how it has been filmed while Kraken Wakes has waited almost sixty years without any producers even noticing it even in Britain.

This surprises me because if you havent read the book, it was for its time an original concept oft copied by lesser authors and film makers.

The scenario involves an invading race of beings that require a high pressure environment to live (Jupiter or Saturn are alluded to as their home planet) and find such conditions for colonisation in the abysses of Earth's oceans.

What follows is a gradual invasion from below the sea. First shipping lanes are attacked, with vessels disappearing en route. Then tank like vessels invade various coastal human habitats and using fishing line like strings that stick to flesh like super glue, they start harvesting humans. The humans fight back but then realise the creatures are warming the oceans, melting the ice caps and inundating human coastal cities. Their engineering activity below the sea is also assisting them to surround human civilisation. Society begins to collapse and if you've read Triffids, you know Wyndham liked his stories open ended.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Fans of Frank Schätzing's novel The Swarm might be interested to know that the 2004 bestseller had a 1953 precursor in John Wyndham's The Kraken Wakes, another novel featuring humanity under threat from mysterious forces operating beneath the sea. Ignore the middle-class twittering of the two main characters and, instead, enjoy Wyndham's relentless build-up of tension, punctuated by some truly chilling moments, as inhuman entities escalate their attacks. The Kraken Wakes is a personal favourite of mine, from way back, and has much that is relevant today, including such topics as international inertia in the face of abrupt climate change.
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Format: Hardcover
This is perhaps one of my favourite books ever! Being new to SciFi, and what with the stigma it gets, I wasn't expecting much from this, but I was pleasantly surprised! Entertaining, intelligent and beliveable characters (like everyone else I was amazed at the relationship Wyndham concocts between Mike Watson and his wife Phyllis--it's also tremendously fun to watch her 'work' on prospective interviewees for their scripts) and an intelligent, believeable plot, too, which reads like a historical document. If you thought "The Andromeda Strain" was a thrillingly believeable foray into a possible doomsday scenario, think again--Wyndham has all that and more. This is a fantastic novel, and I strongly recommend it to anyone in search of a good, smart read--Sci Fi fan and non-fans alike.
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Format: Hardcover
IMHO, this is John Wyndham at his very best. You know how it's going to end - it's in the prologue at the beginning - but that never spoils your enjoyment of the story. It's not where you're going that's interesting, it's how you get there.
I especially enjoy the little exchanges between the narrator and his wife. For me, they really make them into a really believable couple. The technobabble is neatly skipped, and the political wrangling in the background really makes you wonder how we managed to make it this far. If there's a flaw in this book, it's simply the fact that the only human villains are out of date - and that's not the books fault. If you're new to Wyndham, or to SF in general, I would strongly recommend thi book.
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