Jack Kirby and the X-man's Reviews > The Day of the Triffids

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
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Jan 27, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, science-fiction, author-uk, library_book, setting-europe-uk, 2009, setting-europe, 1950s
Read in January, 2009

** spoiler alert ** One of my favourite books of all time.

There are two major sections to the book:

Section 1: Discovering how the vast majority of people become suddenly blind, and learning about the history of the triffids.

I love the Cold War intrigue of the history of the triffids (and probably the ‘comets’ as well) – the story of their release adds a little James Bond to the story.

The relative subtly of the blindness that is caused – most ‘end of the world’ books use more direct methods (War of the World’s heat-ray and gas, Where the Wind Blows’ nuclear destruction and winter). It adds that extra element of triage to the story.

Section 2: Beginning a new life.

Many people may see this as a depressing story – the deaths of the majority of the population, the destruction of society as we know it, the slow crumbling of the human infrastructure… However I saw it more hopeful light – with elements of:

1. The desert island story (Robinson Crusoe, Lord of the Flies, Castaway etc). Yes the shipwreck/plane crash was bad, but it is important not to dwell on it too much if you want to survive. How does someone who comes from a modern civilised society with much specialisation of jobs deal with having to fend completely for themselves – how do they learn to get food, shelter, transportation, etc. A major difference with Triffids is that the narrator (Bill) is fairly certain from the start that there will be no rescue.

2. The pioneer story (Red Mars, Blue Mars, Green Mars series, the Pilgrims on the Mayfair, Brigham Young’s settlement of Utah, and the New Australia. How do you create a society from an isolated group of people that will be successful in the long term?


I like Bill as a narrator. I like that it is written almost as a memoir . It much reduced the potentially depressing nature of the book to know that the protagonist was going to survive.

I like that, as with War of the Worlds, it is a nice easy read.

Check out The Reader's Guide to John Wyndham's Day of the Triffids - it would be particularly useful if you needed to write a school book report.
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Reading Progress

01/10/2009 page 6
2.58% "Already remembering why this is one of my favourite books"

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