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Chrysalids, Triffids, Lichen and the rest...


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From the age of 10 till about 14, I was obsessed with the books of John Wyndham. I used to go into libraries and bookshops just to see how many John Wyndham books they had. If it had all of them, it was a good bookshop. If it had none or only a few, it was a bad bookshop. (I had all of them of course.) It was a very simple litmus test, and it worked for me.

 

I read them over and over again. I loved The Day Of The Triffids of course. Silence being the signifier that something was wrong was very powerful. Chocky - featuring a boy of about my age - meant a lot to me. The Midwich Cuckoos spooked me out completely, but in a good way. My favourite though was The Chrysalids, about a post-apocalyptic world. I can't remember why I loved it so much. Maybe it was because the others were more famous, and we true John Wyndham fans had far more discernment than the hoards!

 

The books of short stories also had a big effect on me, especially the title story of The Seeds Of Time, about time travel. A lot of mind-expanding thoughts about going forward in time and meeting your future self. It was the first time I came across the concept, which seems to crop up so much now (from Back To The Future to Blackadder), that if you went back in time and changed one small thing, then the present you come back to will be different.

 

I never read science fiction now. In fact, in my 20s I made the mistake of trying to re-read John Wyndham yet again, but the prose seemed very clunky, and my twentysomething self was intolerant of badly-written prose. I would be more tolerant now.

 

Nothing though can ever take away the permanent place that John Wyndham has in my childhood.

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Precisely the reason that although tempted, I will not read Day of the Triffids again. It was one of the first "grown up" books I ever read, certainly my first science fiction novel, and at the time, I loved it. I read it about once or twice a year between the ages of 10 and 16, and I am sure that I would be disappointed if I picked it up again over 20 years later.

 

If you do read it, and find that you enjoy it, let me know, and perhaps I'll give it a whirl.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I read The Kraken Wakes and The Day of the Triffids only around 3 years ago and still really enjoyed them although it would probably be a different case if I had previously read them in my early teens.

I'm having similar reservations about re-reading John Christopher. I was recently lucky to come across a copy of The Death of Grass, something which I have looked out for ever since I borrowed a copy from my teacher when I was 14. Now that I have found it I am wondering if it will still have the same impact now that I am in my 20s

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I've read the Day of the Triffids and, I think the Kraken Wakes and the Chrysalids, but I must have been in my teens when I did so, and that was rather a long time ago.

 

I think with Triffids, I always felt that the sea water dissolving the things was a bit of a cop out, I don't know how I'd feel about it now.

 

Re John Christopher (Tripods wasn't it?) I haven't dared re-read him either. I suspect they wouldn't stand up terribly well. I re-read a much loved book from my childhood last year and the shine had gone off it. I wish I hadn't read it again.

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  • 2 months later...

Have most of Wyndhams novels and have to admit that The Chrysalids was one school text that i absolutely loved. Still have it now, and re-read The Kraken Wakes the other day.

 

You could try Night of the Triffids by Simon Clark - a sequel to Day of the triffids, I always wanted to know what happened to them and finally got to find out!! :)

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  • 3 weeks later...
Precisely the reason that although tempted, I will not read Day of the Triffids again. It was one of the first "grown up" books I ever read, certainly my first science fiction novel, and at the time, I loved it. I read it about once or twice a year between the ages of 10 and 16, and I am sure that I would be disappointed if I picked it up again over 20 years later.

 

If you do read it, and find that you enjoy it, let me know, and perhaps I'll give it a whirl.

 

Lent Day of the Triffids and the Chrysalids to a couple of people in the office who have know gone out and bought copies to give to friends. Obviously Wyndahm can still cut it.

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  • 6 months later...
  • 3 years later...

I think John Wyndham is superb though I only started reading his work about 5 years ago (I'm 29 now).

 

I love the Kraken Wakes, Triffids but I really didn't enjoy the Trouble with Lychen at all.

 

You will unfortunately have rose tinted glasses but they are still, in my eyes, extremely good books.

 

I'm confused by the comment earlier in the thread re 'sea water dissolves them'- I don't remember this being in the Triffids at all... Can someone jog my memory please?

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I'm confused by the comment earlier in the thread re 'sea water dissolves them'- I don't remember this being in the Triffids at all... Can someone jog my memory please?

 

It wasn't in the book or the BBC dramatisation. It was in the 1960s film version which bore little resemblence to the novel apart from the presence of triffids.

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  • 4 years later...

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