Aug 30, Apatt rated it it was amazing Shelves: pres-sf , sci-fi. This book has a great premise, set in the ever popular post-apocalypse scenario and awesome implacable monsters. At the beginning of the book, triffids are already commonplace, a rich source of top quality oil and farmed throughout the world. In spite of their nasty habit of whacking people on the face with their retractable sting, they were kept well under control by the farmers. Unfortunately one night a green meteor shower hit the Earth creating stupendously spectacular light show that unfortunately causes blindness to people who look at it.
I first read this book decades ago and before this reread I thought that the meteor shower and the advent of the triffids seem too much like a coincidence. Now I realize that the one thing did not in any way create the other. If there was no meteor shower people would have gone on happily farming triffids for fun and profit. Another misconception I had was that The Day of the Triffids is all about the triffid invasion, a sort of The War of the Worlds with plants instead of tripods.
In fact, more emphasis is placed on the post-apocalypse aspect of the book than the fight against triffids. The triffids are mainly environmental hazards.
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Most of the plotline concerns the different types of communities that are formed after the global blindness event. How some sighted people try to help out the blind, while others treat them as slaves. Wyndham even explores the new types of social mores that are developed to adapt to the circumstances. Polygamy, feudalism, despotism etc. Basically, it is not wall to wall monster plants busting fun.
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The book has more depth than I expected but the pace seldom slackens. I think one missed opportunity is to have one blind central character, not necessarily the protagonist, who is naturally blind from birth, to depict how he copes in comparison with the nu-blinds. In fact, the blind characters are generally ineffectual, not a Daredevil among them. It is ironic that the "bad guys" treat the blinds like second class citizens, while Wyndham himself uses them as tertiary characters or less.
Where are the brilliant blind scientists, strategists, fighters etc.? I wonder if this book is popular among the blinds? Other than that she does not do or say much of interest. Later on, a little girl called Susan shows up, she is — at least — quite competent and quite lively.
Another supporting character Wilfred Coker, with his pragmatic and uncompromising attitude, is a good foil for our hero. Fortunately, with the epic setting and plot, the flattish characters is not too much of an issue. The triffids are, of course, magnificent creations, they communicate by drumming which makes them a sort of Neil Pearts of the plant world.
They may not have much of a personality but they have plenty of character. Definitely a sci-fi classic not to be missed. The way he sways his head all the time no triffid would be able to hit him. Vegetables on vacation! You've only seen this kind of thing after a party, but down in sunny Ecuador they see it any time-and no hangover to follow! Monster plants on the march! It can't be seated in a brain, because dissection shows nothing like a brain-but that doesn't prove there isn't something there that does a brain's job.
Should we spend our time in prolonging misery when we believe that there is no chance of saving the people in the end? Would that be the best use to make of ourselves?
Well, duh — Mark Zuckerberg’s trip to DC was classic sci-fi | Niall Ferguson | Journalism
It is that those of us who start on this task will all have our parts to play. The men must work-the women must have babies. Unless you can agree to that, there can be no place for you in our community. View all 24 comments. Dec 21, Alex rated it did not like it Shelves: rth-lifetime , One of the reasons scifi gets a bad rap is that so much of it is so very shitty, and here's a prime example. There was a major strain of woman-hating, mansplaining, faux-intellectual, oft-Randian bullshit that sprang up in the latter 20th century, spearheaded by the idiot propaganda of Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury; this miserable book was a harbinger.
The setup is standard scifi: human overreaching leads to a holocaust. In this case the overreach takes the shape of mass blindness - like One of the reasons scifi gets a bad rap is that so much of it is so very shitty, and here's a prime example. In this case the overreach takes the shape of mass blindness - like Blindness but dumber - and, more famously, a plague of deadly shambling plants, a proto-Monsanto vision that's amusing enough to give Triffids the minor cult status it doesn't deserve.
But the major threat here is, typically, not the plants but the surviving humans. So we get a tour through the civilized options - socialism, feudalism, theocracy - while Wyndham sputters that they're unworkable next to John Galt's solution: selfish oligarchy. Wyndham's world, where a tiny minority can see and the rest are blind, is a blunt metaphor for Rand's philosophy popularized eight years previous by her first hit, The Fountainhead.
Through no fault of anyone, a tiny group of people are simply more competent. And his point, made again and again, is that those competent people can't worry about the rest: they're hopeless and must be left to die on their own. To try to take care of them is to doom them and the oligarchy.
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That is the most objective view I can take. Sign me up for the thinkin' team! You can be on the doin' and dyin' team. And note the overt nod to the nascent Objectivist movement. Wyndham's alter ego Bill makes these speeches often to his love interest, Josella, whom he spends much of the book searching for because he forgot that she directly told him where to meet her.
You can see why he loves her: she's thrilled when, in the midst of crisis, he pauses to lecture her about Latin. Chicks go crazy for that.
And she's totally down for the idea that the world must be repopulated by means of each man having a harem. She's going to pick out a couple blind women for his harem. Cool, right?
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Why should men have several partners but women just one? Because John Wyndham is a jackass.
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Here's what Bill does right after Josella proposes finding him a harem of blind breeder women: "I ruminated a little on the ways of purposeful, subversive-minded women like Florence Nightingale and [19th-century prison reformer] Elizabeth Fry. They so often turn out to have been right after all.
I'll be here. You don't need to worry at all, my dear. I shall choose two nice, sensible girls. It lends itself to didacticism - to the creation of a reality that entirely supports one's worldview. Dissenting opinions can be made to fail. A character named Coker tries to create a society that protects the blind, and everyone dies, so Altruism is dumb. After Coker comes around, he says of a less enthusiastic convert, "You'd think she'd be reasonable. They prefer to be coaxed or wheedled, or even driven.
The Day of the Triffids Lesson Plans for Teachers
That way they never make a mistake: if there is one, it's always due to something or somebody else. This going headlong for things is a mechanistic view, and people in general aren't machines. They have minds of their own - mostly peasant minds, at their easiest when they are in the familiar furrow. But there are many furrows, and this one is full of shit. View all 40 comments. Shelves: early-sf. Everything seemed fine with the domesticated Triffids until the Earth passed through the tail of a comet, blinding much of the world's population.
It was then the Triffids struck! I love the proto-sf of the first half of the 20th century, when the lines between sf and horror were more blurred than they are now. Day of the Triffids is one of those books that many things that came later owe a debt to. The roots of the survival horror genre can be found within its pages, in my opinion. Many zombie f Everything seemed fine with the domesticated Triffids until the Earth passed through the tail of a comet, blinding much of the world's population. Many zombie flicks owe a debt of gratitude to this book.
Heck, 28 Days Later lifted the beginning directly. Guy wakes up in hospital to find the whole world has changed while he was asleep. Sound familiar? The Triffids themselves are a little ridiculous but still scary. A walking plant with a venomous sting is nothing to laugh at.
View all 8 comments. Jan 17, Joe Valdez rated it really liked it Shelves: sci-fi-apocalyptic. The next stop in my end-of-the-world reading marathon was The Day of the Triffids , the man-versus-plants tale by John Wyndham.
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