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The Day of the Triffids
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The Reading Bibliophile | 564 comments Mod
Have you written a review of this book? Feel free to share it here.

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Peter (petersface) | 80 comments This one was a proper letdown for me. I proposed to read both Wyndham books in the hope of getting some harmless fun between some more serious books, but there was not a lot of fun in this one, and quite a bit of seriousness, but not in a good way.

The story is about the end of the world and of people reorganizing - a theme very common to the fifties. But it does take itself too seriously - and instead of action, adventure or proper romance, it serves us some not very original or bright ideas about human selfishness etc.

The first half of the book felt to me like the standard dream of lonely adolescents for having a sexual relationship: let's hope the world ends, everybody dies and I become the last man on Earth - and of course a good-looking young woman, who will have no other choice but to make love to me! I don't want to spoil it so I'm not gonna tell you if it works out or not in the end.

I might be a bit judgmental with this one. I just don't like any of the characters in it. I know that in the fifties misogyny was quite OK (looking at you also, Mr. Bond), but it really did not age well:) It is sometime so over the top here that at one point I thought it was deliberate, and making fun of his hero's contempt for women. But I'm afraid it's not the case.

Also, another huge problem is that it gets more and more boring, until it suddenly ends. And I'm not too happy that I have to read now the Kraken Wakes, but I'm dedicated to the project, so I will read it, whatever it takes.

And of course neither of them are on the proper Bowie list, they were just added as having some connection with Bowie, not as his favorites. I wonder what that connection was - if you know it, please tell me. And I will try to select much more cautiously in the future.

message 3: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 30 comments thanks for the review, Peter. I haven't read it but like you I thought it would be a thrilling read. I remember the horror and excitement of the movie when it came out - or was it a tv series? Will trust your judgement as there are so many other books on my list!

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Peter (petersface) | 80 comments I haven't seen the movie but I trust it was more exciting than the book. Of course there are people who like it better then I do: the beginning is a nice set-up and it obviously inspired 24 Days After and The Walking Dead. Also I just read that Albert Broccoli bought the rights to the Triffids on publication, but then finally didn't make the movie and went on to establish the Bond franchise.

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Peter (petersface) | 80 comments I couldn't find a separate thread for The Kraken Wakes, so I just put some thoughts about it here.

Surprisingly I liked this one much better then the Triffids, as there were less stale ideas about the future of the world and more crazy sci-fi. It was still very slow and strangely built, as if the author deliberately refrained from using the usual narrative formulas, like having heroes who are not just part of the action, but also, hopefully, have a hand in shaping it.

Here the heroes are reporters, a couple with strange and funny dynamics - the narrator, the husband is called Watson, and fulfills the exact same role as his namesake in the Sherlock Holmes stories. So there is some fun in there - and the whole book have much more humor then the Triffids.

On the other hand the first half of the book reads like a newspaper article, and it is quite hard to get attached to anything or anybody. At the halfway point there finally is a chapter when our narrators witness some events themselves, and even get involved in the action a bit - easily the best part. And then again it is reporting about stuff they themselves learn from others, mostly.

I think these books have a historical value. These days it would probably be impossible to publish pulp fiction with so detached narratives, with heroes so far from the action. And yet, in those days these novels were hugely popular. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing - maybe neither. But it is true that I enjoy fiction more where it is easier to get emotionally attached to our characters - and with Wyndham it seems to need some extra effort on the readers part.

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