Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day of the Triffids

Unique and classic all at the same time: "Day of the Triffids" by John Wyndham.  A triffid is a rapidly growing and reproducing tree capable of walking and striking a man dead from ten feet away with a poisonous stinger.  Probably created by a human scientist and accidentally spread across the globe, they are a mere oddity until a "comet" causes an amazing green meteor shower viewed by almost everyone on the planet.  They all wake up blind.
A few sighted people are forced to figure out the tragedy and fend for themselves while a majority of the blind stumble about desperate for help.
Published in 1951 in England, this book is a pioneer in the PA genre.  It deals with the complex issues of rebuilding society including how to deal with cities filled with the rotting dead, whom to save when you can't save everyone, and tensions between different philosophies: religious, neo-feudalistic, military, and utopian.
Glad I picked it up and sorry I took so long.  Always interesting to see how different people treat the apocalypse.  How we are different and how we are the same.  Both Wyndham and I began by stating what was absent, what was missing, and why something must be very wrong.  The conservative 50's Britishness of his characters was also an interesting touch to a guy reading it 60 years later.
Next up: "Equations of Life" by Simon Morden