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The Chrysalids [Paperback]

John Wyndham
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

7 Aug 2008

The disturbing post-apocalyptic novel The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, author of The Day of the Triffids and The Kraken Wakes and dramatised on BBC Radio 4.

David Strorm's father doesn't approve of Angus Morton's unusually large horses, calling them blasphemies against nature. Little does he realise that his own son, and his son's cousin Rosalind and their friends, have their own secret abberation which would label them as mutants. But as David and Rosalind grow older it becomes more difficult to conceal their differences from the village elders. Soon they face a choice: wait for eventual discovery, or flee to the terrifying and mutable Badlands. . .

The Chrysalids is a post-nuclear apocalypse story of genetic mutation in a devastated world and explores the lengths the intolerant will go to keep themselves pure.

'Perfect timing, astringent humour. . . one of the few authors whose compulsive readability is a compliment to the intelligence' Spectator

'Remains fresh and disturbing in an entirely unexpected way' Guardian

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.

Frequently Bought Together

The Chrysalids + The Midwich Cuckoos + The Day of the Triffids (Penguin Modern Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (7 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141032979
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141032979
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Perfect timing, astringent humour . . . One of the few authors whose compulsive readability is a compliment to the intelligence (Spectator)

Remains fresh and disturbing in an entirely unexpected way (Guardian)

From the Publisher

Connection Series
‘Connections will leave a legacy for youth theatre groups everywhere. The collections should be enthusiastically received in the classroom.’ Times Educational Supplement

Connections is a new series of challenging and entertaining playscripts for 11-19s, commissioned by the Royal National Theatre and written by professional playwrights. Each books contains reference details for online educational resources for teachers and youth group leaders, as well as Royal National Theatre website information where details of past productions and interviews with authors can be accessed.

If we hope to have discerning practitioners and audiences tomorrow we must ensure that work of quality is available to young people now. Connections provides that quality. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Post-Apocalyptic Genius 30 Jan 2006
By Wordy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Chrysalids tells the story of an isolated remnant of human civilisation struggling to rebuild in a world that was devastated (by thermonuclear war - although he never says this directly it is clear from the effects he describes).
The story works superbly by not providing too much detail - it invites the reader to fill in the blanks and is a much more intelligent take on the post apocalyptic genre. The 'how it happened' aspect of the story is secondary to dealing with the human issues.
In particular Wyndham's vision of a society that has reverted to an extreme paranoid interpretation of the bible is superb - the paranoia over checking for mutants amongst them has strong overtones of the Salem witch trials etc.
I am a relative newcomer to John Wyndham and read The Day of the Triffids before moving on to his other work. Having now read most of his novels I would rate The Chrysalids as his best.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
This was what Wyndham did best: he's created horrible futures for us. He was a dab-hand at the nightmare vision. Like 'The Day of the Triffids' and 'The Kraken Wakes', 'The Chrysalids' points to a grim, dystopian future where people struggle to survive and reconstruct lost order and security after a terrible disaster. But whereas the events that led up to the annihilation of most of the human population in The Triffids and The Kraken were explained in detail in those books, the devastation of huge areas of the planet that are described in The Chrysalids, occurred hundreds of years before the time this story begins. The people have not the vaguest memory and no documented reports of how it happened. It seems probable to the reader, from revelations about the after effects of the killer event, that what happened all that time ago was a nuclear holocaust. All the signs point to it, so it's ironic that the people of Waknuk in Labrador, where this tale is focused, have been struggling to re-establish their lives in the image of the much revered 'Old People' and the halcyon days when life was happy and untroubled by the horrors of what they call 'tribulation'. Even though they believe the Old People brought down the wrath of God upon themselves and their descendents, they know nothing of nuclear war. So they're working to redeem themselves in the eyes of God. One way they try to do this is by ensuring the destruction of mutants. Humans must conform to the image of God, as they believe God intended. Any human that deviates from that norm is considered an abomination. Human mutants are sterilized and ejected from the community, mutant animals are slaughtered and mutant crops are burned. Read more ›
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Park Year Six review of The Chrysalids 30 Jun 2008
We think that Wyndham's book 'The Chrysalids' was an extraordinary book with amazing descriptions. This book would be suitable for people of 11 years and upwards. Some of the ideas are quite challenging, but we read it in class, and were able to have discussions about some of these elements, for example whether the Great Horses were a deviation or not.

The book starts with David's dream of a calm sea, and a shining city with flying fish shaped machines, but this is a world that the people of Waknuk have never seen. The introduction made us think initially that the book might be a little boring, but then we met Sophie. Sophie is a normal, fun loving girl...or is she...

'The Chrysalids' is great because it doesn't give us all of the information straight away, it is packed with elements of surprise, and we enjoyed looking for, and working out the clues as we went along.

We were all a little disappointed with the ending, as there were still a lot of unanswered questions, and we wish that Wyndham had written a sequel, so that it wasn't such an abrupt conclusion.

If you enjoy science fiction and adventure this is the book for you. Even if you don't there are plenty of plot lines, and situations which pose moral dilemas which made us sad and annoyed and is definately worth reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A community of the future. 15 Oct 2000
By A Customer
I first read this book more than forty years ago and it still grips. Small communities struggle to survive when deviations appear amongst the farms, whether it is mutant corn, animals, and even humans who are considered to be possessed by the Devil.The story explains how these mutations appeared, and what happens when some young people began to experience thought transference. They become outcasts, but find friends in unexpected places. It is a pity that this story, unlike some of John Wyndham's other novels, has never been filmed. A good read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Perhaps the best book I have ever read, I read it some 15 or so years ago and it still remains fresh in my mind. You'll read it in one sitting if possible and I hope you derive the same pleasure from it that I did.
Imagine a world that has gone wrong and suffers from the legacy of the mistakes it made in a previous era and then imagine a people that can rise above this imperfection and strive for a world of unity and love. In this book you've got it all, "Beautiful."
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The world is plagued by genetic mutations, people are reduced to primitive, Dark-Age styled living and the past is a blank with strange hints of a nuclear war. Amongst this a small group of humans find out that they possess a power unlike any other, they can read each others' minds. Constant fear and awful watching day and night go along with their power,one day, someone is bound to let something slip. Eventually, they see a way out but they need to find out how to get halfway round the world and people are on to them. A masterpiece of post-apocalyptic style writing, conflicting morals and persecution to the highest degree culminating in an escape attempt that brings an army after them. Brilliant writng exposing the best and worst in human nature
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Realy love John Wyndham
Published 12 hours ago by Alan Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this
Studied this for 0 level and took a step back in time. Excellent book for all!
Published 2 days ago by Shirley Peters
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
one of the best sci fi books ever written
Published 2 days ago by Antony Hinge
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended
Great book
Published 5 days ago by louise cutler
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
Arrived on time, great book too
Published 18 days ago by sue
5.0 out of 5 stars A favourite for nearly 50 years.
A favourite since I was 12 yrs old. Read it again recently for what must be at least the 6th time and still much in love with it. Introduction by M. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Mr David A West
4.0 out of 5 stars Eerie, Gripping, A Great Read
I am a John Wyndham fan and enjoyed this book as much as the Day of the Triffids and Chocky. The story is gripping, you really feel for the characters and it is hard to put down. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jennie240575
5.0 out of 5 stars John Wyndham at his best
I first read this book over 30 years ago as part for my English exam. I loved it then and rediscovering it again has been a joy. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mik
4.0 out of 5 stars Lest we forget what scars war can leave
Contrasting ways of facing change. Shold we go with it and work for it or try to prevent it and rid our countries of changes from within and outside?
Published 1 month ago by Peter Pickering
5.0 out of 5 stars Woah. Like dude.
Woah. Like seriously. I only recently discovered Wyndham after reading The Day of the Triffids which I completely fell in love with so I was intrigued when my aunt lent me The... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jennifer May
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