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The Midwich Cuckoos

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  18,877 ratings  ·  1,086 reviews
Cuckoos lay eggs in other birds' nests. The clutch that was fathered on the quiet little village of Midwich, one night in September, proved to possess a monstrous will of its own. It promised to make the human race look as dated as the dinosaur. ...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published January 25th 1973 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 1957)
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Erin I couldn't help but think it is also a reference to "Now We Are Six" by A.A. Milne, which is a quintessential English collection of poems about childh…moreI couldn't help but think it is also a reference to "Now We Are Six" by A.A. Milne, which is a quintessential English collection of poems about childhood. Wyndham would surely have known about the work, and may have used it to signal to readers (who would also have been familiar with it) that the children are slightly off. Not only are they not "six" as in the original title, but they can scarcely be said to be "nine," either, except in calendar years.(less)

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Sci fi, horror, dystopian...? A bit of all of them.

This is a straightforward and somewhat leisurely story that touches on very deep and difficult themes, mostly indirectly, but explicitly in the last quarter.

Typical English Idyll

Midwich is a sleepy English village in the late 1950s. One day, everyone in the village blacks out. They awake, apparently unharmed, only to discover that all the fertile women are pregnant - but the children they give birth to are not like other human children, and turn
What a strange story!

An easy read, at first glance, with dated language and characters. But there is more to it than meets the eye.

I absolutely loved the opening sentence:

"One of the luckiest accidents in my wife's life is that she happened to marry a man who was born on the 26th of September."

It is such a great homage to chance, which played a major role in the main characters' lives in The Day of the Triffids as well. One of the characters happened to be spared blindness, but only by accident
Bionic Jean
I can't remember when I first read The Midwich Cuckoos, but it was certainly within 30 years of the end of World War II. Now, almost 40 years later, the postwartime feel is even more present in this short novel, despite the book itself being published in 1957. The way the army moves in immediately, the jeeps on the road, meetings between people who clearly think of themselves as the elders of the village, the consequent emphasis on protecting ordinary people, the "Grange" with its important secr ...more
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One day vanishes off the calendars of a peaceful village of Midwich. When everyone goes to sleep for an entire day and wakes up to find all the women of the village to be pregnant. The children when born are all identical physically with golden eyes and sharing only two consciousness; one shared by all the females and the other by all the males. Apart from that, they are not normal children. They are children with a capital C, having super psychic powers and such reasonable arguments to make as ...more
Tom Lewis
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the coolest sci-fi / horror stories I’ve ever read, and was the basis for the 1960 film “Village of the Damned” and John Carpenter’s remake. It centers around the small English village of Midwich where the entire population, and all within a 2 mile radius of the village, are suddenly rendered unconscious for a day and a half. When the phenomena passes, all women of child bearing age are pregnant, and nine months later give birth to oddly emotionless blonde-haired children with go ...more
Glenn Russell

"All these sixty golden-eyed children we have here are intruders, changelings: they are cuckoo-children."

So speaks Gordon Zellaby, well-educated resident of the British village of Midwich when discussing the nature of a large group of highly unusual children born some nine years prior to village women of childbearing age.

The Midwich Cockoos, John Wyndham's 1957 masterfully constructed, highly philosophic tale of alien invasion was made into a science fiction horror film, Village of the Damned,
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: yellow eyed exceptional cheeldreen
2.5 "started solid ended rather tediously" stars !!

This is my 2018 Halloween read and I chose it off an internet list of this century's best horror novels. This is also the book that the films Village of the Damned is based on. One was 1960 and the other was 1995. I have yet to see either.

Here is a trailer of the 1995 film

Worth seeing just to see the little girls' wigs :)

This book seemed more sci-fi than horror to me and is about a night where all the vi
Dec 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those in the Mood for Retro Sci-Fi Fun
Recommended to Carmen by: Instagram
The dawn of the 27th was an affair of slatternly rags soaking in a dishwater sky, with a gray light weakly filtering through. Nevertheless, in Oppley and in Stouch cocks crowed and other birds welcomed it melodiously. In Midwich, however, no birds sang.

In Oppley and Stouch, too, as in other places, hands were soon reaching out to silence alarm clocks, but in Midwich the clocks rattled on till they ran down.

In other villages sleepy-eyed men left their cottages and encountered their workmates with
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Wyndham's books are often described, labeled or tagged as cozy catastrophe, I am not sure what that means as the two books* I have read so far of his are rather unsettling. My guess is the Englishness of his prose style and the politeness of his characters. As something of an anglophile I very much appreciate this style of writing, it is very comforting and old school, especially with a nice cuppa tea in my hand. The only serious problem with this book is that the plot is so well known. It ...more
Now I have read this book (I did try and add the link but it wouldn't work, hey ho) a number of times and it is one of my faves. This however was not someone reading or narrating the book, now I did know that, but it was another listen whilst garden audiobook.
So the book is a 5 star read, no doubt about that. This was a BBC dramatisation of an abridged version of the book, hmmm. That said it was an enjoyable listen, with the amazing Bill Nighy in the starring role, always a winner for me
Sooo, I
Jun 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, horror
As I read this book, it began to strike me how Wyndham's world view contrasted with that of Tolkien's. Whereas Tolkien harked back to a pre-industrial time of innocence wishing we might get back closer to nature, Wyndham reminds us that we only invented civilisation as a way of distancing ourselves from the harshness and brutality of nature. There is nothing cosy and secure about mother nature.

Wyndham also tells us that tolerance of difference is a luxury of those who are secure in themselves. W
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not a voracious reader of sci-fi although after reading this book, maybe I should give it another go. A GR friend recommended this book. I got it from the library in hardcover and it was in its 8th printing (originally published in 1957, 8th printing 1967). The Evening News (I believe it is now defunct) had this to say about the novel: “Mr. John Wyndham is a master of the difficult art of “science fiction”. In the Midwich Cuckoos he has written I think his best book (JimZ: this was his 7th ...more
* 1/2 stars

I'm actually shocked by how utterly and completely this book frustrated and bored the hell out of me, how crushingly disappointed I am by the whole affair. I mean, this is John Wyndham for Chrissake -- author of The Chrysalids and The Day of the Triffids (both of which are all levels of awesome).

This? This just pisses me off. It's made me want to make my Jules face -- yeah, I got one ... what of it?

I mean, you have GOT to be fucking kidding me. How does such a fantastic idea in th
This short book on a surreptitious alien invasion continues to resonate in my imagination weeks after reading it. The pleasure of the read for me was in the quiet unfolding of events pieced together by a neutral, largely uninvolved narrator. As with Hitchcock movies, the truly disturbing events are either off-camera or seen in a reflection of someone’s experience. I think its anti-cinematic tone of a radio play may be why the book was considered enough of an innovation in the form of the novel t ...more
Dan Schwent
Feb 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: early-sf
Ah, my other favorite John Wyndham classic and another prime example of the blurred lines between sf and horror in the first half of the 20th century.

You all are familiar with the concept even if you don't know where it comes from. Creepy kids are born in an isolated England town to unsuspecting mothers and proceed to terrorize it with their hivemind and telepathic abilities. Classic stuff and pillaged innumerable time in both print and film. How do you defeat enemies who know your every thought
Thomas Strömquist
Another enjoyable weird tale by Wyndham, who brought us The Day of the Triffids (which everyone thinks they know how the story goes until they read it and find out about all the blind people...). In this book - wait - you can tell from anything ever written about it including the blurb - but, if you managed to avoid and are extremely sensitive to "spoilers" please get off at the next stop, ok?

So, only those here who wants to be? Goodie! Anyway, this starts out with an invisible dome over a villa
The sleepiest of all sleepy English country villages is the scene of a most unusual event: on a lovely autumn night, everyone in Midwich passes out, to wake up seemingly unharmed the next morning. But it soon comes to their attention that every fertile woman who was in the village during this strange episode is now pregnant. When those babies are born nine months later, it is obvious that they are not normal, or even human… They all have dark blond hair and golden eyes, grow twice as fast as ord ...more
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I m continuing my adventures with reading all of the books by John Wyndham that I can get my hands on, and after this third one I plan to get them all because once again I ended up giving this a 4.5*s out of 5*s. I really think I've finally found the exact sort of older SF I enjoy, cosy, interesting and also fun.

This story follows the sleepy village of Midwich where not a lot really happens. It's very quiet until one day there is a mysterious occurrence known as 'Dayout' where everyone withi
Emm C²
This and other reviews on my blog.

What is a planet but an island floating in space, after all? Fertile ground for things to evolve and conquer in a strange and never-ending cycle.

The Midwich Cuckoos is unexpected. The book is itself a gestation - never truly terrifying but a slow-burning uneasiness. Whatever it looks like, there isn't an antagonist, but two species who are too distant from each other to be compatible.
After a mysterious vehicle crash-lands into the sleepy town of Midwich, its cit
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite the age of this sci-fi book it is very forward-thinking for it's time and I really enjoyed it...creepy!

It is slow paced and there was a lot of time spent philosophising about the children and how to deal with them.

There is very little action in the book which may put people off but I didn't mind as it's a short book and the moral debates were as interesting as the physical situation.

I love that John Wyndham described his books as 'logical fantasy' - it's very apt.
Three and a half stars, I rounded down because I feel like I've been getting a little four-star-happy of late.

Gotta give some serious props to Dan for recommending this to me upon my proclamation that I find few things scarier than powerful children en masse. If that's your thing, then this is the book for you. Seriously, just look at some of the covers this book has are creepy!

As someone who has been perpetually unclear on the difference between a baby and a parasite (ok, biological
Alissa Patrick
An entire town falls asleep at the same time and are out for hours. Then they wake up and try to act as though it was a weird coincidence. Soon after, however it is discovered that all of the women in the town who are of child-bearing age (including virgins, single women, married women, spinsters etc) are all pregnant at the exact same time. Oh, and there was talks of a spherical object in the sky around the time that everyone passed out..... hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Then the children are born... with gol
Aug 31, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Wyndham, after writing in several different genres under a different name in each, decided to write "realistic" science-fiction - and met with success.
In this book, one character expounds the view that in all science-fiction, aliens invade Earth by turning up with superior armaments and blasting away - until defeated, having underestimated humanity or overlooked some other factor of crucial importance (e.g. microbes in War of the Worlds). They are essentially doomed by their own hubris. During t
Sean O'Hara
Oh, dear me! Something strange has happened to the village of Midwich. Some mysterious force has shrouded the town and rendered all therein unconscious for a day and a half. When the force lifts, life returns to normal, except that every woman of child-bearing age soon discovers herself to be with child. But never mind the womenfolk -- they're hardly important to this story. All they have to do is give birth. It's up to the men of Midwich to work out what to do. Of course we should want to preve ...more
I enjoyed The Midwich Cuckoos more than I expected to, I think. I have a difficult relationship with horror stories: I have enjoyed a few, but I'm also quite susceptible to being made anxious and put on edge. The Midwich Cuckoos is one of those books that crosses the line between speculative fiction and horror, but it's more to do with a sense of the uncanny, a sense of deep unease, where the things we take for granted are just ever so subtly different, than with big horrifying things happening. ...more
When I was in high school, we had to read The Chrysalids. After that, I wanted more and devoured all the Wyndham I could lay my hands on. This is one of his best novels. It is tense and horrific, yet not without humour. The idea of smug, Borg-like children who can torture you without blinking a single one of their golden eyes is just plain chilling. At least with zombies you have a fighting chance.
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: march-2017, borrowed
Wyndham was another of those authors whom I wanted to read during 2017, and I decided to begin with The Midwich Cuckoos. I was expecting to enjoy the book, but I didn't think that I'd love it as much as I did. I am sceptical when it comes to science fiction, and cannot usually suspend my disbelief that well. It is simply not a genre which I usually enjoy. Saying that, there is something about this novel which feels frighteningly realistic; the England which Wyndham portrays is so real, and his s ...more
David Sarkies
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
The Fear of Change
1 May 2016

I'm going to have to be honest and say that I really didn't like this book all that much, which from glancing over my friends' reviews seems to put me at odds with pretty much all of them (or at least the ones who actually wrote something). Mind you, the one thing that I did like about it (or at least my copy) is the little sticker on it that says £1.50, which brings back memories of the time I was in London and discovered this really cool second-hand bookshop in Lei
Jonathan Terrington

The Midwich Cuckoos is part sci-fi and part horror story with a greater emphasis on the sci-fi elements. John Wyndham with this tale, in combination with The Day of the Triffids and The Chrysalids, has cemented a place on my list of all time great science fiction authors. His works are both entertaining, well written and enlightening. They are a complement to the reader and no doubt many later writers have been inspired by his contributions to writing whether they realise it or not.

The Midwich C
Jessica Reads & Rambles
The Midwich Cuckoos is about the quiet, fictional English town of Midwich, which gets breached by a strange silver object. The object appears right in the center of the town, and during its short stay, manages to render everyone inside the towns border unconscious. Nobody outside of the town can try to enter it without them collapsing instantly and also losing consciousness, until they are moved away from the invisible barrier. Within 24 hours, the object has gone, none of the townsfolk appear t ...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

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