Bill Masen, bandages over his wounded eyes, misses the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. Removing his bandages the next morning, he finds masses of sightless people wandering the city. He soon meets Josella, another lucky person who has retained her sight, and together they leave the city, aware that the safe, familiar world they knew a mere 24 hours before is gone forever. But to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids, strange plants that years before began appearing all over the world. The Triffids can grow to over seven feet tall, pull their roots from the ground to walk, and kill a man with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers. With society in shambles, they are now poised to prey on humankind. Wyndham chillingly anticipates bio-warfare and mass destruction, 50 years before their realization, in this prescient account of Cold War paranoia.
©1951 John Wyndham; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
“The best what-if sci-fi ever.” (Lee Child)
"Graeme Malcolm creates the atmosphere of a classic Twilight Zone or Chiller Theatre production.... Malcolm’s tone of steady perseverance contributes to the realism of the plot." (AudioFile)
This version is abridged. Not by the industry standard HUGE amount, but maybe as much as 25% of the writing has been taken out. It is as if the book were 'tightened up' by an editor who didn't realize how much brilliant social commentary was between the lines of Wyndham's digressions. The BBC has done an unabridged reading of this, as has (i think) Books On Tape. Both are better than this one by a long shot--and they are complete.
I recalled seeing the 1962 movie version as a teenager and had rather low expectation based on its typical monsters run amok plotline, But needing an easy read over vacation, I took a chance and was happily rewarded with well developed characters and situations. A scifi novel that holds up well even after all these years.
First, I thought it ended rather abruptly. I actually expected I was half way through the book when it ended. So that was somewhat disappointing that it was over. Nonetheless, I wouldn't have been disappointed if I hadn't been enjoying it so much. It's a really good book, full of all the concepts and situations I like in a good post-apocalyptic novel. It's realistic, exciting, and the narrative is practically prose. The writer is extraordinarily articulate and well-spoken. Quite the opposite of the some of the more recent post-apocalyptic/survivalist novels which sound like a how-to manual being read. Highly recommended. I just finished Earth Abides, and although the stories begin quite similarly, they diverge enough to be mutually enjoyable, even if you read them in succession. I should also say that the reader is excellent and perfectly matched to the content.
I have loved this story for a long time. It was great to hear an audio version. The message seems so appropriate today in a world of genetic engineering, space defense systems, biological warfare, and intentional introduction of invasive of foreign plant and animal species. Every time I hear tapping sticks, I wonder if a triffid has arrived at my door. The BBC did a wonderful television production in the mid-80s. The production values are quite simple compared to today's but it is very effective.
I'm a horror, sci-fi fan. My favourites are Lovecraft, Poe, Bierce, Jackson, Levin, and King.
Yes, I would. I'd only ever seen the 1960s film Day of the Triffids, and was curious to hear the original.
I don't have a comparison for The Day of the Triffids.
He has a rich, wonderful voice which added to the story which is staged in Britain.
No, but I did really enjoy it.
I look forward to reading other John Wyndham works.
Yes, absolutely. This book took me by surprise. My understanding is that this was the novel that kicked off the post-apocalyptic genre. I took it up to check another book off the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list. I was expecting the language to be archaic, it being over 60 years old, but it holds up exceptionally well. This is a must for Sc-fi fans.
1) The sinister way the plants were written. Initially you would think that the way that they are described, they would be laughable. They are not.
2) The realistic way that civilization breaks down as a result of the attacks and how they handle the Triffids. A fully realized and well thought out concept.
3) The added layer of the protagonist being one of the few people that isn't blind in the novel
Mr. Malcolm had to do a bit of a hat trick here. He is able to balance the dramatic tone associated with 50's sci-fi with subtext and characterization. Really well done.
This is the book that started it all.
It's been a few month's since I've listened to the book and it still lingers with me. Influences of H.G. Wells and the cold war run rampant. But what's really interesting is how many current books and shows are influenced by this book. Anywhere from Stephen King's The stand to the The Walking Dead.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
One thing that always bothers me in these books where there are Zombies, Aliens or Killer Plants invading the earth, why do these authors believe humans will sit by and do nothing. First we have these plants that kill and blind people and then eat them. According to this author we will make pets of them. It takes two years of these plants multiplying and ganging up to kill whole towns before somebody thinks we should start hunting them down.
I don't know about England, but in gun loving America these things would have become a National sport day one.
We also have these Meteors that blind people. The author does not seem to recognize that half of the world is in daylight while the other half is in dark. We are lead to believe the whole world is blinded in one night.
Then when most everyone is blinded, they start killing themselves. An eighteen year old beauty who is blind offers herself to a man if he will help take care of her. He is to proper for that, but he does help her take pills to kill her self. A young couple throws themselves out a window. Blind people are considered totally helpless.
The book is well written and there are some very good parts, it is just a little depressing on how down the author is on mankind.
I'm just a crazy old man, what the heck do you care what I think anyways?
Yes. The world ending my a "zombie plague" is so popular, this shows the end of the world by a plague of man eating plants that move a lot like zombies.
When they find out the Triffids are turning the tables on humanity, and the girl finds her family and house over run.
A good exciting ending.
like zombie movies? You'll like this!
A Sci Fi junkie who occasionally goes slumming to read other literature.
I like the easygoing style of the main character, and how we learn and experience the Triffids along with him as he struggles to survive. This will be a fun book to read again in a few years.
Graeme Malcolm did an OK job. I just consider his voice to be a little light and timid, especially during intense action scenes.
Bohemian Bon Vivant
Elevated above the killer plant aspect by the author's intelligent consideration and exploration of what various forms humanity might take given a cataclysmic accident like the overnight blinding of most of the world's populace -- from those who deal with the disaster in a military fashion, religious fashion, progressive fashion, and so on. It's a book that leaves one with much to ponder and consider long after the scary story elements that pull you in.
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