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The Day of the Triffids

(Triffids #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  96,628 ratings  ·  3,852 reviews
In 1951 John Wyndham published his novel The Day of the Triffids to moderate acclaim. Fifty-two years later, this horrifying story is a science fiction classic, touted by The Times (London) as having “all the reality of a vividly realized nightmare.”

Bill Masen, bandages over his wounded eyes, misses the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. Removing his
Paperback, 228 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Modern Library (first published 1951)
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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Aug 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of the apocalypse, classic sci-fi
A classic.

Sometimes classic is good.

description description

Sometimes classic is interesting.

description description

And sometimes, it's classic just because it was first, not best.


For me, Triffids is a classic in the last sense, as one of the first novels in an era exploring the end of civilization. Colored by recent events of World War II, many writers in the 50s focused on nuclear holocaust. Wyndham went a slightly different direction, forseeing genetic manipulation and biological warfare. While his vision interested me, the didactic
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
Some books can be quite ill-served by their title. 'Not enough triffids!' would complain those lured to this book by the promise of a fun sci-fi romp centered around carnivorous sentient plants - just to find something entirely different.

But you gotta agree - a more appropriate title for this unexpected gem of a book such as "How complete disintegration of society and civilization as we know it, the sudden helplessness and the painful realization how little it takes to throw us off our tenuou
Dec 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: rth-lifetime, 2014
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 1951 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
Dec 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Audrey II: Feed me!

Seymour: Does it have to be human?

Audrey II: Feed me!

Seymour: Does it have to be mine?

Audrey II: Feeeed me!

Seymour: Where am I supposed to get it?

Audrey II: [singing] Feed me, Seymour / Feed me all night long - That's right, boy! - You can do it! Feed me, Seymour / Feed me all night long / Ha ha ha ha ha! / Cause if you feed me, Seymour / I can grow up big and strong.

John Wyndham published his novel The Day of the Triffids in 1951 and it’s influence on speculative fiction sinc
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, pre-80s-sf
“When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere”

Not exactly up there with “It was the best of times etc.” but a great opening line I think. The Day of the Triffids is John Wyndham’s best known and most popular book by far. A case can be made for some of his other books being better, The Chrysalids and The Midwich Cuckoos for instance, but “Triffids” is the people’s choice, and having just reread it, decades after
For a person who claims not to like science fiction, I read and enjoy quite a lot of it! (In my professional life, I would now expect my students to rephrase their claim, as it is obviously not matching the evidence, but being stubborn, I stay firm!)

This is a thought-provoking novel, and it has not lost much of its message since its first publication. Humankind is still prone to self-destruction by carelessness and short-sightedness, and we still have diverse ways of dealing with and interpreti
Em Lost In Books
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star, 2019, 1950-59
Scary. Creepy.
Dan Schwent
Feb 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of survival horror and early sf
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
This 1951 novel was written when nuclear war and the potential end of civilisation as it was known was a more immediate concern than it mostly is today. Early in the book there is an oblique reference to Lysenko and the Soviet Union - which helps to date it to that post war period. Truly Wyndham's concern is not with the potential end of civilisation itself, but really with what comes next.

Destruction then, whether by bomb or plant, isn't the point of this book. It becomes a device to get to the
Joe Valdez
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
The next stop in my end-of-the-world reading marathon was The Day of the Triffids, the 1951 man-versus-plants tale by John Wyndham. After an apocalyptic journey across the United States in The Stand and Swan Song, it was fascinating to read about how the U.K. might tackle doomsday and I have to say that the stoic and unruffled British response gave me hope for mankind's endurance.

With the first of several imaginative chapter titles (The End Begins) and cheeky wit, Wyndham introduces our narrato
Sep 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was about 14, I read my father's old Penguin classic copy -- a bright orange paperback from the 1950s. And absolutely loved it. I've read it countless times since, and is one of the books I think about most. Officially my favorite book.

Having said that -- it has no literary pretensions, most characters are fairly one dimensional, and the triffids themselves (walking, thinking, carnivorous plants) I have always thought of as a rather annoying distraction. What gripped me, and grips me sti
Richard Derus
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review can now be found at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud! ...more
Books with Brittany
Really glad I read this!
Jan 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Stop me if you've heard this one before. It's a shame we don't have some ham. (You're supposed to say "Why?")

Well, because then if we had some eggs, we'd have ham and eggs! Gotcha.

The Day of the Triffids is rather similar. It's lucky that scientists haven't used bioengineering to create a deadly but slow-moving carnivorous plant. Because then if a mysterious comet caused everyone to go blind overnight, we'd all be sitting ducks!

It's not quite as bad as I'm making out. Admittedly, on a scale of s
Read in 2021 as part of SF &F Group read
GR tells me that this is my second read of this novel, whereas the reality is its probably my 8th or 9th over the past 40+ years. It has to be one of my favourite books as to me it celebrates the human spirit and overall goodness.
Waking in hospital after a few days with his head swathed in bandages after a nearly fatal Triffid sting across the face, Bill, the male hero of the novel, is concerned when nobody answers his calls. The previous night virtually
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most iconic books of the Twentieth Century, many of the elements that makes The Day of the Triffids great are still homaged today.

Botanist Bill Masen wakes up in hospital having been splashed in the eyes by the poison from the strange plant creatures known as Triffids.
During he’s recuperating he learns of a cosmic green meteor shower that has light up the night sky the previous evening.
Disoriented by the silence Bill unbandaged himself to find London in chaos, with most of the popula
Paul O’Neill
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
A book everyone should read. I love it when a story takes a jab at humanity and how balls up it generally is or can get.

A rather amusing, cleanly told story. Amongst the many, many, many (oh so many) crappy post apocalyptic books out there, this still has to be one of the best and most original. It has walking killer plants for goodness sakes!!

Read it, and you'll never look at your garden in the same way again...

Very cleanly written, short and interesting.
Megan Baxter
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
For some reason, I had the impression that Day of the Triffids was about the sudden attack of man-killing mobile plants. So I was surprised when it was revealed that the triffids had been around for a long time and a worldwide case of blindness was the cause of the catastrophe - the triffids merely took advantage of it.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you
Tom Lewis
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a fun post-apocalyptic novel written in 1951, which had a heavy influence on the zombie-apocalypse genre that began several decades later. The story features triffids, tall carnivorous plants that are able to shamble about on their roots, and use their long venomous branches to lash out like whips to slay their prey. They populate quickly as their seeds disburse on the wind, but never really presented a problem until one night when the earth passed through the tail of the comet. The maj ...more
Nandakishore Mridula
Post-apocalyptic fiction, now, has come of age. We are familiar with the desolate landscape of a planet destroyed by war/ pestilence/ pollution/ unexplained natural or supernatural event, populated by a handful of "normal" people trying to survive amidst hostile flora and fauna, as well as a large number of "abnormal" people - zombies, vampires, cannibals... take your pick. The Stand, I Am Legend, The Road, Cell... the list could be extended endlessly. In fact, unless in the hands of a skilled a ...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013

I didn't plan ahead, but in a funny (or disturbing) coincidence, I've read this book on the fated day when the world ended, May 8 according to John Wyndham : When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere. The opening chapter is one of the best in the genre, with protagonist Bill Masen waking up in a hospital and trying to understand what is wrong with the world around him without relying on his bandaged eyes. It
So I have had this book on my list to read for over a decade, and so it's such a disappointment that I'm DNFing it after only reading about a quarter of the story. But... here's the thing. There are some stories that can endure forever, and though they age, they don't feel dated, they feel nostalgic, and charming. For me, this is not one of them. This book is only 9 years older than my dad, but it feels MUCH older. And in addition, it's got this casual sexism that really bothered me, especially ...more
4.0 stars. I am very glad that I finally got around to reading this classic post-apocalyptic novel. I really liked Wyndham's writing style and the way he presented the story. It was well written, well plotted and kept me interested throughout the book. As with most really good post-apocalyptic science fiction novels, the true point of the story is the exploration of human nature by showing how different people act when the society they have grown up in falls apart. Recommended!!! ...more
Apr 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I’m pretty sure some of the weeds in my garden must be related to the triffid! A scary look at a potential post apocalypse situation- the majority of the population are blinded by comets, while ambulant flesh eating triffids do their stuff. As always, the worst post apocalyptic dangers seem to be largely comprised of disparate groups of survivors vying for control. When will we learn?...
Jon Nakapalau
One of the most underappreciated si-fi classics of all time.
RJ - Slayer of Trolls
Ah, the trouble with Triffids. Wyndham's first novel published under the name "John Wyndham" (an abbreviated version of his full name) is pulpy 50s Sci-Fi fun for the meatless set that was obviously inspired by The War of the Worlds. An undercurrent of Cold War-era paranoia adds an interesting flavor to the post-apocalyptic "plants take over the Earth" storyline. ...more
4.5/5. // Have you ever been afraid of plants? No? Well, you will be after you've read this book. ...more
I have a long fondness for Apocalyptic novels. The Stand was one of my early favorites from junior high school, and I really enjoyed its cousin by Robert McCammon, Swan Song. There's something about the End Of The World that just grabs me and won't let go. Maybe it's the thought that, should the world end, I would be one of the survivors. The rule of law would break down, all shackles of modern life would be loosed, and I would finally be free to choose my own destiny. Which, knowing me, would p ...more
A post-apocalyptic novel, written by John Wyndham in 1951, The Day of the Triffids is a classic.

While spending the night in the hospital because of eye surgery, our protagonist, Bill Masen misses out on a meteor shower which leaves most of the world blinded.

Evil plants called triffids, which suddenly appeared around the world a few years before, swiftly takes advantage of the hopeless confusion and prey upon the population.

With 90% of the people blind, no government in charge and deadly disease
Barry Cunningham
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was 1 year old when this book was published so, understandably, didn't read it for a number of years after that, Think it was around 1958 when I first read it, even then it was groundbreaking, radio programmes, films wow what a concept. One of the very early novels that dealt with mass extinction of humankind and the consequences of survival. Science fiction was really still in its infancy in those days and authors like Jon Wyndham were laying the ground for the massive genre it became. In 195 ...more
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John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris was the son of a barrister. After trying a number of careers, including farming, law, commercial art and advertising, he started writing short stories in 1925. After serving in the civil Service and the Army during the war, he went back to writing. Adopting the name John Wyndham, he started writing a form of science fiction that he called 'logical fantasy'. ...more

Other books in the series

Triffids (2 books)
  • The Night of the Triffids

Articles featuring this book

Dystopias, alien invasions, regenerated dinosaurs, space operas, multiverses, and more, the realm of science fiction takes readers out of this...
620 likes · 530 comments
“When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.” 194 likes
“It must be, I thought, one of the race's most persistent and comforting hallucinations to trust that "it can't happen here" -- that one's own time and place is beyond cataclysm.” 139 likes
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