The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

Review published on February 12, 2017.

The Day of the Triffids, a very famous book, was published in the year of my birth. Whilst striving to read a book older than myself, I found that this book, first discovered in my youth, was published during January/February 1951; I was born later that same year in December.

It is always the same old story though. Whenever I move a book onto somewhere else, I want to read it again later, so, in order to re-read it recently, I had to buy another copy – typical.

The author, John Wyndham, wrote other books that are now famous such as The Midwich Cuckoos and The Chrysalids, and all these have aged into Modern Classics. He took an idea, which he classed as ‘Logical Fantasy’, and wove a newer style of storytelling for the masses.

A lot of the narrative is somewhat dated, but that really does not harm the story one jot. There is a mention of a Shooting Brake, a type of countrified estate car, long gone from fashion, or the very minor mention of the new television system, but on the whole it is a ripping yarn set in the science fiction genre one supposes.

Briefly, most of the world’s populace is inadvertently blinded by a meteor shower one night. The few who escaped the trauma are reduced to fending for themselves in whatever manner they deem fit. Right alongside are these Triffids, which can sting a man to death, pick up their roots and walk, as well as communicate in some fashion. They also feed on putrefying flesh, which is deuced handy because there is a lot of it about at the time.

One can sense the almost obvious storyline as it unravels, but it is an incredible tale from the 1950s and one has to accept that at face value. I found it a mite difficult to swallow how an entire system of national governance can be constructed, albeit basically, within two days, but that is storytelling at a rapid pace for you. I enjoyed reading it again immensely; yes it has flaws, lots of them, but still remains an admirable classic of its time.

Reg Seward 5/4

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
Penguin Classics 9780141185415 pbk Feb 2001

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