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The Kraken Wakes (Classic Radio Sci-Fi) [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

John Wyndham
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Aug 2007 Classic Radio Sci-Fi
John Wyndham's classic tale of monsters from the deep, alien invasion and ecological disaster comes alive in this full-cast BBC radio dramatisation. At first, the fireballs seemed to be nothing more than a dazzling display of lights in the sky, plunging into the deepest oceans and disappearing without trace. But when ships started sinking inexplicably and the sea-lanes became impassable it seemed that the world was facing a threat of unprecedented proportions. Mike and Phyllis Watson, both radio journalists, are caught up at the centre of events, well aware that it's not the cold war or international conflicts that are causing these events, but something infinitely more deadly - an alien invasion.And that's not all: the sea level is rising, the ice caps are melting, London and other cities are flooding, millions of people are drowning and ecological disaster looms. And whatever the alien beings are, they have begun to emerge from the sea...A science fiction story full of contemporary resonances, from the fear of global warming to the distrust of official information and propaganda, and the ultimate fear of a challenge to the supremacy of human beings on Earth. This CD release also includes a detailed sleeve note recounting the making of the radio serialisation, written by Andrew Pixley.

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 2 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks Ltd (6 Aug 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0792754123
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405677875
  • ASIN: 1405677872
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 12.4 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 155,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Benyon Harris was born in 1903, the son of a barrister. He tried a number of careers including farming, law, commercial art and advertising, and started writing short stories, intended for sale, in 1925. From 1930 to 1939 he wrote stories of various kinds under different names, almost exclusively for American publications, while also writing detective novels. During the war he was in the Civil Service and then the Army. In 1946 he went back to writing stories for publication in the USA and decided to try a modified form of science fiction, a form he called 'logical fantasy'. As John Wyndham he wrote The Day of the Triffids and The Kraken Wakes (both widely translated), The Chrysalids, The Midwich Cuckoos (filmed as Village of the Damned), The Seeds of Time, Trouble with Lichen, The Outward Urge (with Lucas Parkes) and Chocky. He died in March 1969.


Product Description

Review

Ingenious, horrifying (Guardian) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Benyon Harris was born in 1903, the son of a barrister. He tried a number of careers including farming, law, commercial art and advertising, and started writing short stories, intended for sale, in 1925. From 1930 to 1939 he wrote short stories of various kinds under different names, almost exclusively for American publications, while also writing detective novels. During the war he was in the Civil Service and then the Army. In 1946 he went back to writing stories for publication in the USA and decided to try a modified form of science fiction, a form he called 'logical fantasy'. As John Wyndham he wrote The Day of the Triffids, The Kraken Wakes, The Chrysalids, The Midwich Cuckoos (filmed as Village of the Damned), The Seeds of Time, Trouble with Lichen, The Outward Urge, Consider Her Ways and Others, Web and Chocky. John Wyndham died in March 1969. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a great sci-fi classic 13 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback
John Wyndham thought about rising sea levels long before the rest of us. This sci-fi work remains a small masterpiece. It explores the key issues when society breaks down in the face of unimagined and uncontrolled disasters. The characters of hero and heroine reflect the British writing style of the era, with stiff upper-lipped hero and perceptive heroine who manage their emotions discreetly and without public breast-beating or overt navel-gazing. A great yarn with aliens from outer-space, vast rises in ocean levels, ocean-going traffic no longer possible, and near total failure of civilization to cope! Very well worth reading in light of the rising sea levels that are happening now.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A cracking slice of deep-sea unease. 23 April 2004
Format:Paperback
Although "The Kraken Wakes" never got the same acclaim as Wyndham's (justly) famous "The Day of the Triffids", it isn't just a pale `Triffids' rip-off either. Yes, the book's ending is a bit of a damp squib and, yes, the narrator's wife Phyllis might strike modern readers as a patronising stereotype, but then again ... "The Kraken Wakes" may be just about the best alien invasion story since H. G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds". Wyndham is one of the few British S.F. writers who could match Wells for invention and logical construction. He doesn't go in for histrionics - the introduction of the sub-aquatic aliens is very low-key and the screw oftension tightens slowly but inexorably as the book progresses. "The Kraken Wakes" cleverly combines a Wellsian war between very different species with a Ballard-style environmental disaster. Gradually, control of the high seas passes to the invaders. Strange objects rise out of the waves and kidnap human samples. Finally, the polar ice melts, the oceans rise and the world suffers catastrophic floods. We never get to see Wyndham's "Xenobath" aliens up-close - they remain tantalisingly ill-defined and all the more alarming as they gradually encroach on the deep seas and luckless ships. In amongst the sometimes lame characterisation, there are passages of real nail-biting tension and some very funny swipes at Cold War rivalries. Okay, so maybe the "Triffids" it ain't, but "The Kraken Wakes" is still one of Wyndham's best stories and a very rewarding book in its own right.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By Greshon
Format:Paperback
Superb sci-fi novel in the same strain as Welles's War of the Worlds, Abe's Inter Ice Age 4 and Wyndham's own Day of the Triffids.

The Kraken Wakes is more political and, with its journalist main characters (they can hardly be called protagonists - the protagonists are the 'bathies', the things that live in the Deeps) and its constant updates on what all the papers and radio stations are saying, is a satire on the media, and the media's reaction to crises - and also how a single event can can be interpretted and, more importantly, presented in countless, differing lights.

In the continual public rejection of what Bocker, the genius scientist who always correctly predicts what the bathies are going to do next and says it like it is, it's a particular satire on our tendency to ignore and deny crises. In 'Phase 3' (the book is divided into three 'phases') this bears a striking parallel with modern day climate change, as ice caps melt and sea levels rise, threatening to drown the world.

In its drowned world section The Kraken Wakes blows Ballard's Drowned World out of the water.

There's something at the end which smacks slightly of selling out, but even this is nearly acceptable, though it does go against the book's presiding current of doom and inevitable loss.

I wonder why this book never became as famous as the Triffids or why it has never been adapted for film or television. Its world-spanning description of the slow, spectacular and terifying extermination of the human race by an unknown alien force is fantastic dramatic fare.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You heard it here first ! 3 Feb 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Ever wondered what global warming will be like ? Or more importantly, what your neighbours might be like when global warming comes ? This is the extra terrestial side of Wyndham, keen to remind us of our own frailties, and of the idea that we might only be masters of all we survey by default. In some authors hands, this could oh so easily turn into a didactic horrorstory fit only to use as a nightcap. Instead, Wyndham's lightness of touch and satirical turn of mind turn this into almost a jape in places. Knowing when to switch off the lightness and bring us back to the harsh realities is another of Wyndham's real skills. Patient well written, well plotted and well researched, this is another of the books that deserves far greater recognition, and a seat alongside Arthur C Clarke and Isaac Asimov as one of the great writers of future fiction.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prophesy posing as sci-fi 2 Nov 2008
Format:Paperback
The questions which preoccupied John Wyndham - alien intelligence, the justification of war, world political relations and economic infrastructure, social norms, prejudice, the impracticality of religion, an inability to think 'outside the box' - appear in all his writing. Clearly, Wyndham thought these questions too important, too widely applicable, to be confined to one book, and the potency of his work lies in his systematic and extensive engagement with these ideas. Wyndham therefore has more in common with the prophetic dystopias of Orwell and Huxley than with the science fiction genre.

Wyndham's different narrators afford him the opportunity of exploring the same ideas from a fresh perspective each time. These people tend to be 'everyman', allowing us a convenient access point to the concepts he so wanted us to grasp. The 'everyman' in 'The Kraken Wakes' is Mike Watson and his wife Phyllis, both journalists. Through them we not only have an eye-witness account of events, but also a frustration with the novel's forward-thinking polymath, Dr Alastair Bocker, whose prodigious intelligence and insight find themselves at odds with others' habits of thought. Readers familiar with Wyndham will notice the similarity between the characters of Bocker, Gordon Zellaby (in 'The Midwich Cuckoos') and Uncle Axel (in 'The Chrysalids').

Since the narrator is a journalist, the writing style is straightforward and devoid of literary pretension. Wyndham's concern is to tell the story rather than get bogged down with florid character description. He was a master of understatement, and the characters' distress is often only revealed retrospectively through small comments and incidents: for example, Mike's disturbing dreams and the reason for Phyllis' bricklaying.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars I wish I hadn't because it is the worst John Wyndham book I have read...
I have read the Day of the Triffids, The Midwich Cuckoos, Chocky and The Chrysalids so decided to give The Kraken Wakes a try. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Jennie240575
4.0 out of 5 stars What happens when the waters rise and ice melts!
A book worth reading again in the light of the effects of global warming. Perhaps it tells the way we see ourslves - masters of our world and yet unable to care for our neighbours... Read more
Published 27 days ago by Peter Pickering
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Sci Fi
I read this book many years ago, always wanted a copy for my bookcase. Fantastic read, why has this never been made into a film? Read more
Published 1 month ago by J. Kerr
4.0 out of 5 stars A nostalgia fest
Wyndham started my interest in sci fi in my teenage years, back in the early 60s. I always thought of this as one of his weakest but on rereading I found that it is a good read. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Derek Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
Much like 'The day of the triffids' this book sets the scene for a changing world. He manages to convey reactions from world powers that are scarily accurate to similar events... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Lewis
5.0 out of 5 stars One of his best
One of my all time favourite science fiction novels. There is great tension throughout as the invaders who live in the ocean depths defy the 1950s technology to discover their... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Clive Rimmer
5.0 out of 5 stars Unpicking Wyndham's recurring Obsessions - Second in a Great Quartet
"The Kraken Wakes" can be read on its own. The earth's oceans are invaded by aquatic aliens who adapt the planet to their own environmental needs, raising sea levels and dropping... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Christopher H
5.0 out of 5 stars A favourie
I have always loved this book. My paperback copy has finally fallen to bits, and the typeface is now too small to read so just had to have this on my new kindle. Read more
Published 4 months ago by yvonne mitchell
3.0 out of 5 stars Prophetic?
Not one of Wyndham's best, but the theme of rising sea-levels is weirdly relevant to what's happening in early 2014, which is why I chose to read it now for the first time since my... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Stellar
5.0 out of 5 stars My all time favourite book
Not sure why, but it's the book I always go back to, particularly if I want something comforting in my life which is rather strange when you consider the story line - but there you... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Tessa Leatherland
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