The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham is a gripping science fiction classic that had me on the edge of my seat and the hair on the back of my neck prickling, the entire time I was reading it.
I love science fiction from the late 19th and early through to mid 20th century. War of the Worlds, Time Machine, The Invisible Man are some of my favourites, and this one is going straight to the favourites list as well.
The premise of the story is simple. Bill Masen wakes up one morning in hospital to discover that most of the world has gone blind. In the ensuing chaos of death and disease, the Triffids begin to attack the human population, causing havoc where ever they go. What are Triffids? Intelligent plants that have somehow become a part of nature. It is unclear what their origin is, but what is clear is that they are carnivorous and intelligent plant life that are able to walk of their own volition and will feed on human flesh when given the chance.
There are so many issues that Wyndham explores in this book; the notion of civilised society, how people respond to crisis situations, sex, gender relations and religion. It also deals with the issue of modern day warfare, of the biological kind. It asks how far will people go in the name of progress and explores the consequences of our collective actions. How much is the group responsible for the actions of some? How far should we go attempting to control nature and at what point will nature fight back?
Most importantly, The Day of the Triffids was scary. I felt nervous, tense and excited the entire time I was reading the book. A lot of the triffid attacks come out of nowhere because the triffids are so good at hiding. Wyndham has created this great sense of expectation because the triffids are so intelligent you never quite know what is going to happen.
As the book is written from the perspective of Bill Masen, Wyndham leaves a lot about these carnivorous plants to the readers imagination because Bill himself is only able to conjecture and hypothesise about them.
I was so engrossed by this book I read it in one sitting. I think this might be the best science fiction classic I have ever read and I can't wait to read more of Wyndham's works.
What kind of read is this?
It is easy to read, but displays great skill with language. It is scary and tense too, which I appreciate in science fiction.
Do I recommend this book?
Definitely. It's a great read.
Do I recommend that you buy this book?
Yes, this will make great re-reading.
I would love to know what you thought of this book if you have read it. I am not a modern day science fiction fan, but I do love these science fiction classics of the late 19th and early 20th century. Does anyone else enjoy reading this books? What is it that you enjoy?