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The Midwich Cuckoos Mass Market Paperback – May 12, 1976

4.0 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, May 12, 1976
$61.62 $2.98
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Clyde gives an excellent performance" Sue Baker, Publishing News"Jeremy Clyde's reading cannot be faulted. His characterisations are subtle and he brings considerable drama to the unfolding narrative. --audiobooksreview.co.uk --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Benyon Harris was born in 1903, the son of a barrister. He tried a number of careers including farming, law, commercial art and advertising, and started writing short stories, intended for sale, in 1925. From 1930 to 1939 he wrote short stories of various kinds under different names, almost exclusively for American publications, while also writing detective novels. During the war he was in the Civil Service and then the Army. In 1946 he went back to writing stories for publication in the USA and decided to try a modified form of science fiction, a form he called 'logical fantasy'. As John Wyndham he wrote The Day of the Triffids, The Kraken Wakes, The Chrysalids, The Midwich Cuckoos (filmed as Village of the Damned), The Seeds of Time, Trouble with Lichen, The Outward Urge, Consider Her Ways and Others, Web and Chocky. John Wyndham died in March 1969. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 189 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (1959)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345248732
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345248732
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,749,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stewart Robotham on October 27, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's a shame to have to give this a 3 star rating. The story has stood the test of time extremely well but, as with so many ebooks, it is riddled with scanning errors. Publishers will have to realise that they must still spell-check and proof-read books once they have been scanned. We would not put up with this in a printed book - why should we be expected to with ebooks? If we all complain then maybe we can get somewhere.
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Format: Hardcover
Wydham takes a look at a very interesting question: what happens with the entire human race is threatened, but our social conventions, politics, and institutions prevent us from saving ourselves? The odd title is a reference to the way cuckoo birds place their eggs in the nests of other birds who mistake the eggs for their own - but even after they hatch the surrogate mothers are compelled by their natures to take care of the babies. In Midwich, at a time when England regarded itself as the most civilized political community the world had ever known (hey, it probably still thinks that way!), the locals find themselves unable to mistreat a brood of alien, mind-controlling children, even though the fate of the world is at steak. Lot's of good narrative and entertaining philosophical conversations among the characters made this a truly great book, in the tradition of Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" or Orwell's "1984".
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Format: Paperback
One reviewer caught what makes this book noteworthy: What happens when a culture is under attack and the culture's mores and folkways prevent them from adequately defending themselves? What happens when a society's virtues are exploited as strategic and tactical weaknesses by a cruel, cunning, and ruthless enemy? This is the basic question posed by the Midwich Cuckoos.

This is a classic tale of an unthinkable form of asymmetric warfare where an alien enemy exploits the baseline human instinct of nurture as the fulcrum upon which they place the lever of their one military advantage: the telepathic collective intelligence of an army of children.

Those who enjoy the horror genre of science fiction will be somewhat disappointed as is reflected by several other reviewers. John Wyndham is not Stephan King so those looking for a skin-crawling, pulse pounding scare will not find it in the pages of Cuckoos. Those who like a more subtle and cerebral read will find this work both disquieting and thought provoking. I would classify this as more of a psychological drama than a sci-fi horror thriller.
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Format: Hardcover
Midwich was an ordinary village. Until the Dayout. Everyone in the village was sleeping. Anyone who ventured into the outskirts of the village would mysteriously black out. The next day things were back to normal. But every woman of suitable age was pregnant...
"The Midwich Cuckoos" is a metaphorical title for a book about collective intelligence. The alien children born in the village are identical. Golden eyed, unemotional, endowed with mental powers and superior intelligence. Over the years the Children become a bigger problem. They commit a murder and contol the minds of others. They are cold, ruthless and calculating.
This book has been described as disturbing. When it was first published the idea of children committing murderer was probably quite shocking. These days it seems normal. This is an interesting book but I prefer the apocalyptic scenarios in "The Day of the Triffids" and "The Chrysalids".
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
John Wyndham's 1957 British science fiction novel has been the basis for three movies-- the (excellent) "Village of the Damned" (1960), which follows the book pretty closely; the (obscure, but very good) "Children of the Damned" (1963), which was marketed as a sequel to the 1960 film, but is not a sequel at all, rather an entirely new film very loosely based on the book; and John Carpenter's (terrible) re-make, "Village of the Damned" (1995).

Wyndham's novel starts very slowly, but that is not a flaw; the low-key, matter-of-fact accumulation of details of life in a small British village makes the story's horror all the more potent when the reader (and the characters) slowly realize what has been happening around them. Everyone in a tiny village is suddenly rendered unconscious; they awake a day later, seemingly none the worse for wear-- until they realize that every woman in the village (including virgins) is pregnant. Wyndham's title, "The Midwich Cuckoos," refers to the way some species of cuckoo birds leave their eggs in other birds' nests; the cuckoo egg hatches first, and the cuckoo chick destroys the other eggs. That the mysterious Midwich babies have a similar fate in mind for the people of earth is not immediately apparent, but becomes so only when it seems too late to prevent it.

This alien invasion is far less dramatic that the tentacled Martians of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, or the walking plants of Wyndham's own earlier novel,
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