A powerful post-apocalyptic allegory of persecution and intolerance, the Penguin Modern Classics edition of John Wyndham’s science fiction masterpiece The Day of the Triffids contains an introduction by M. John Harrison.
Nuclear war has devastated the world, bringing with it a host of genetic mutations. In the bleak, primitive society that has emerged from its ruins, any sign of deviation, no matter how small, is ruthlessly rooted out and destroyed. David lives in fear of discovery, for he is part of a secret group of children who are able to communicate with each other by transferring thought-shapes into each other’s minds. As they grow older, they feel increasingly isolated. Then one of them marries a ‘norm’, with terrifying consequences.
John Wyndham (1903-1969) the son of a barrister, tried a number of careers including farming, law, commercial art and advertising before writing short stories, intended for sale, in 1925. After serving in the Civil Service and the Army during the Second World War, he decided to try writing a modified form of Science Fiction, which he called ‘logical fantasy’. Among his most famous books are The Day of the Triffids (1951), The Kraken Wakes (1953), The Chrysalids (1955), The Midwich Cuckoos (1957, filmed twice as Village of the Damned), Trouble with Lichen (1960), and Chocky (1968).
If you enjoyed The Chrysalids, you might like Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
‘One of those few authors whose compulsive readability is a compliment to the intelligence’