Day of the Triffids cover (1954)Day Of The Triffids by John Wyndham.

272 pages long.



First published in 1951 by Michael Joseph.

A good book lets start by saying that! But not at all what I was expecting. Having grown up with the old movie and its tension and suspense, the book was a surprise. The book is much more of the typical, cerebral science fiction. Typically I now realise just how much the film accentuated the Triffids and their attacks. As the film revolves around the killing plant forms, the book has them more as a natural mistake just taking advantage of the situation. Or is it an advantage or some plot, some alien invasion or mad experiment gone awry? The book manages to convey all these possibilities but chases none of them to their conclusion.

The book never finishes! The story of Bill Mason and his attempts firstly to find some sense of a world gone blind, then his tracking down of the only thing keeping him going, Josella Playton. Another escapee from the blinding, caught by a man to be his guide-person. His eyes and tool, but rescued from his frustration and drunkenness by our hero. they first try to reach some group or others that may have missed the lights of the comet. they then become separated and the situation looks unlikely he can ever find her again as he gets caught up in many little adventures and situations. Of course the happy ending sort of occurs...but not completely in the way I imagined it might.

The tale is told as a record or statement of our hero's first exposure to the event that put Humans down in the food chain a link. At times it has suspense and lots of thinking dialogue. Weighty explanations of the history of the Triffids and what appears to be political and social discussion on the virtues of genetics and pushing the science envelope. this is not just a novel, but a debate on issues that I imagine were beginning to trouble some people during the early Nineteen-Fifties. Discussion also on society and how it can be formed, what it consists of and how it can survive or decline into order or chaos. This made it far more than the action, scuttling and whip-lashing of Triffid stings than I thought. I must confess to a little disappointment at the sparseness of some of the action, but still it hit the spot...just not the spot I was aiming for.

Characterization is good for those that need it and archetypal for those that did not. Atmosphere was good, the feeling of loss of structure and the silence of a blind, confused and dying world was excellently done. After reading the book I found myself far more impressed with the Triffids, but far less scared of them. They can move at a fair lick too.

Book cover close up showing detail.





 Close up of the book cover.

Enjoyment: 7, Depth: 8, Readability: 7, Layout: 4, Value: 5.

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Last Updated: 13th October 2002