Date: 2019-01-06 04:35 pm (UTC)
jreynolds197: A dinosaur. (Default)
From: [personal profile] jreynolds197
From what I recall, Wyndham sets things up so that Marsen does help some of the blind for a while. He been shanghaied to do so, but he does help.

However, when his group conveniently all dies while Marsen is himself sick, that leaves him free to do his own thing again.

There was a sequel by other hands: The Night of the Triffids, published in 1672 or 2002 (depending on which Amazon source you believe). I wouldn't recommend it, although it has 4 stars on Amazon.

Date: 2019-01-06 04:48 pm (UTC)
tree_and_leaf: Georgiou, in profile, wearing uniform and holding up a phaser (georgiou)
From: [personal profile] tree_and_leaf
I've always thought the real 'cosy catastrophe' Wyndham was "The Kraken Wakes" (plucky married journalist couple survive catastrophic climate change caused by Mysterious Underwater Aliens by fleeing to Cornish holiday cottage; the Japanese save the day off-screen), though I'm fascinated to learn from Wiki that the US edition had an epilogue which paints a significantly grimmer picture of the world's future than the UK one. Though our heroes still survive unscathed in their Cornish cottage, so...)
Edited Date: 2019-01-06 04:51 pm (UTC)

Date: 2019-01-06 11:44 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ba_munronoe
I'm pretty sure that civilization has survived in the US version as well, if after a pretty massive die-off, Britain in particular.

Re the Triffids, I had quite forgotten about the disease sub-plot. There's a solid case of Author's Thumb.

I can't recall if the meteor shower [1] lasted long enough to get both hemispheres exposed or whether it still whacked people if exposed to it during daylight hours. One suspects Wyndham didn't write his cozy Catastrophe novel planning for the Yellow (or Brown) Menace to inherit the earth.

Doesn't the book end with them setting up a rural idyll with oyvaq crbcyr nf fresf?

The Triffids were from Outer Space in the 1962 movie, IIRC. The plant-monsters really weren't very alarming: the best bits were the parts showing how awful things could get if everyone was suddenly struck blind. I particularly remember a bit with an airplane, with the blinded pilots keeping the plane flying level by touch and reassuring the passengers, while desperately calling for help that never comes, until their fuel runs out.

[1] Wasn't there some speculation that it was a Cold War Weapon gone bad?

Date: 2019-01-07 01:31 am (UTC)
jreynolds197: A dinosaur. (Default)
From: [personal profile] jreynolds197
If it was a cold war weapon gone bad, then Wyndham was very prescient. The book was published in 1951, and Sputnik didn't fly until 1957.

Date: 2019-01-07 02:13 am (UTC)
butsuri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] butsuri
“Up there,” I went on, “up there, there were—and maybe there still are—unknown numbers of satellite weapons circling round and round the Earth. Just a lot of dormant menaces, touring around, waiting for someone, or something, to set them off. What was in them? You don’t know; I don’t know. Top-secret stuff. All we’ve heard is guesses—fissile materials, radioactive dusts, bacteria, viruses... Now suppose that one type happened to have been constructed especially to emit radiations that our eyes would not stand—something that would burn out or at least damage the optic nerve.”

Date: 2019-01-07 02:41 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ba_munronoe
Thanks, Butsuri.

Prescient indeed

Date: 2019-01-07 03:31 am (UTC)
ed_rex: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ed_rex
I remember that paragraph, but if ever I read it with the date of authorship in mind, I've long since forgotten I did so.

It's no Kraken, but I still think pretty highly of Triffids.

Re: Prescient indeed

Date: 2019-01-07 11:17 am (UTC)
dormouse1953: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dormouse1953
I think I first read the book when I was at school in the sixties. (There was also a BBC radio version about that time.) When I re-read it in the eighties, I did notice that paragraph and the date of publication.

Re: Prescient indeed

Date: 2019-01-07 05:57 pm (UTC)
ed_rex: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ed_rex
Reading it with [personal profile] butsuri's point in mind, I'm struck by what an excellent, but subtle, paragraph it is as science fiction. A small bit of believable exposition that would have pretty clearly set the story in a scary future to is original readers.
Edited Date: 2019-01-07 05:58 pm (UTC)

Date: 2019-01-08 07:28 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] bwross
[1] Wasn't there some speculation that it was a Cold War Weapon gone bad?

Yeah, Wyndham likes to keep things foggy, so there's always a lot of speculation and seldom any revelation of a clear answer. Which means that you can read Triffids in a large number of ways. The Cold War satellite theory is one of them... it leads to the possibility that the Soviets are taking over the world in the background, having engineered the whole thing (including the triffids). Or it could be a two wave invasion from space by the triffids themselves. Or just a series of coincidences coming together in a perfect storm. Things don't progress far enough to get any answers.


Date: 2019-01-07 03:49 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Was the Isle of Wight refuge thing in War of the Worlds of Day of the Triffids? I think the latter. But definitely the creepiest Wyndham novel was Chocky. I'd love to read a review of yours of it.

Date: 2019-01-08 07:06 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] bwross
Yeah, Wyndham wasn't cosy in the "not hardboiled" way. It was in the intimate setting... he liked writing in the first person, so stories like Triffids are seen solely from the point of view of the protagonist.

Add to this the typical nature of his protagonists... you might expect a biologist with experience with triffids to get caught up with other people with the knowledge and resources to really save the world. But Wyndham doesn't do that, he likes his protagonists to not be the epic hero, and keeps them and their actions down on a small scale. His protagonists are not the big shakers of the world... even in The Trouble with Lichen, where the protagonist develops an anti-aging drug, he does nothing with it. It's his lab assistant (who develops it independently) that tries to bring it to the world. In cases where the world needs saving, it often happens off screen, if at all. In fact, you typically don't even get clear answers on what happened... you just get people talking about possibilities. So it's not really so surprising considering the style and the time he was writing that things were pretty insular... the picture is narrow and incomplete to begin with.


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