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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite ever novel!
Here I sit at 19, about to go back to university for my second year studying English and I find myself wondering how I can value a mid 20th century science fiction novel over all the classics and anything else on my bookshelf.

Then I look at the front cover and see the quote "One of those books that haunts you for the rest of your life" and realise that quote...
Published on 15 Sep 2007 by M. T. Gibbs

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Creepily Effective...
ONly just remembered the series, but decided to pick up the book not long after War of The Worlds - which it alwasy gets compared to. I found them different - Triffids seemed more about the collapse of society, and the problems thrown up by the Triffids rather than thier actual 'taking over' of the plants. Wyndham's skill ies in just having The Triffids skulking in the...
Published on 13 Mar 2007 by Stockton


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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Day of the Triffids, 13 Jun 2003
This review is from: The Day of the Triffids (Paperback)
This novel is the story of a disaster that is caused by ecological disaster, genetically altered plants and satellite warfare. These are such modern and relevant themes today it's amazing to consider how ahead of it's time this book was when it was written. The recent hugely successful movie 28 Days Later borrows most of it's ideas from this book, and the other "ruined earth" novels of this period by John Christopher, John Wyndham and (earlier) by HG Wells. This shows that this book, or at least it's ideas, can still be popular after all this time.
The hero and narrator Bill awakes in hospital following an accident. He finds that just about the entire population of London has gone blind following a comet and it seems that he is the only one who can still see. He emerges into the silent, ruined, confused & helpless world and begins his journey to survive. Now that no one can see there is no longer any order and blind people very quickly die or descend into anarchy. Meanwhile the Triffids, a new genetically modified stinging plant, become a very real and dangerous threat now that human superiority is gone.
The first couple of chapters of this novel have never been bettered in painting an electric atmosphere. The reader gets a very real sense of the isolation and danger in the new world. It's no surprise that "Wyndhamesque" is an adjective often used to describe gripping and eerie atmospheres in books and film. Reading the opening you are left biting your nails watching the action unfold as if you were actually there.
As well as a great story there is a great deal of thought behind this book. There is much discussion about what the new society of survivors need to survive, and some augments about religion, class and morals along the way. The novel suggests that one of humans greatest threats to survival in the long run are all the old outdated attitudes and prejudices. Meanwhile the earth has been destroyed by careless use of warfare showing that, despite all the Triffids, peoples greatest enemy are actually ourselves. The violent gangs of blind humans and the violent world with no order come across as far more evil and terrifying than the actual Triffids do.
The heroine in the novel, Josella is an excellent female figure. In most other sci fi from this period the female lead is little more than a puppet to scream and cower at the scary things so that the male hero can rescue her over and over again. However Josella is strong, sensible & liberated and manages to avoid all these old insulting attitudes. She spends most of the book on her own doing just fine, and when we meet with her again she has grown independent and resourceful. This book is always refreshingly progressive and hasn't dated at all.
There are some minor faults with this book: Bill and Josella fall in love just a little too easily, and the comet that blinds everyone is never quite fully explained, although some theories are put forward that it might be some kind of satellite weapon that's malfunctioned. Perhaps the mystery is designed to add to the suspense? The Triffids aren't actually the main focus of the book, they're just a very dangerous nuisance that can often be fatal. They are none that less terrifying for that. But we have seen that the real enemy is actually the collapse of society and what happens once our laws, morals and production of food are gone.
Overall this is a wonderful book with some interesting ideas to consider if you read between the lines. Day of the Triffids is an edge of your seat book that will keep you engrossed until the very end. It's been one of my favourites since I first read it years ago aged 12. The highly readable text and fabulous atmosphere make this book a classic. It's just a shame that The Day of the Triffids is normally remembered as just a really bad monster movie instead of the excellent book it is.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Creepily Effective..., 13 Mar 2007
This review is from: The Day of the Triffids (Paperback)
ONly just remembered the series, but decided to pick up the book not long after War of The Worlds - which it alwasy gets compared to. I found them different - Triffids seemed more about the collapse of society, and the problems thrown up by the Triffids rather than thier actual 'taking over' of the plants. Wyndham's skill ies in just having The Triffids skulking in the periphery, always there, adding to the woes of the poor, in-fighting human survivors.

A great book; a classic example of reserved but chilling british sci-fi.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seminal sci-fi influence, 30 Jan 2007
Like all good science fiction should, Wyndham's terrifying vision of the future shakes to the very core the principles by which society functions, and asks what would become if something we took for granted was taken from us. After a freakish meteor shower, the world awakes without sight, and at the mercy of a horrific form of plant life that walks, talks and eats decomposing human flesh. With uncanny accuracy, Wyndham predicts the development of satellite defence systems and genetically modified plants, and produces one of the seminal sci-fi influences of all time. You should check out the BBC TV series made in the 80s. It's pretty true to the book, and great fun!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars CAUTION - Abridged Version!, 25 April 2013
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Day of the Triffids is a favourite from my childhood that I revisit often. However, this is not the full text; some scenes seem to have been considered surplus to requirements: The suicidal doctor; Umberto and the exposition of the Triffids' origins and worldwide spread (I didn't read much further once I realised). They've made a mess of it too; Umberto is mentioned later in the text despite having been excised, for example. I could see no mention of the fact that this is an abridged version. Avoid.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent adaptation., 4 Jan 2008
I was raised listening to the dramatizations of plays and novels broadcast on Radio 4, and so I can spot a good one when I hear it - and `The Day Of The Triffids' is definitely one of those. You can head over to the reviews of the book if you want a critique of the story, so I'm going to focus on the more technical aspects of the radio play itself.

I've always been a fan of the book, and you'll be pleased to know that this adaptation stays almost entirely faithful. The only changes made are those which make it easier for the progression of the story as a play, rather than a book, and hardly any incidents have been omitted - a few have been mixed up, maybe, but nothing has been annoyingly changed, and that's saying a lot for most dramatizations of novels.

The casting is perfect: Peter Sallis captures Bill Masen perfectly, and the rest of the cast are just as good. The one fault with the voice-acting is that no children were employed - thus Susan is voiced by an adult woman pretending to be a child, and this can grate sometimes (as a result, one star has been deducted from the rating).

`The Day Of The Triffids' has always been described as a "cosy catastrophe", and indeed I can think of worse things happening to the world than a generation of humans being blinded - but this version manages to make the disaster believable, and some moments become particularly creepy when they cannot be seen (a glimpse of the streets at night, in the second episode, should not be listened to in the dark!). The problem of the triffids is also solved, since in film and television they often seem painfully fake.

Don't even bother with the films made of this book - stick with the radio adaptation, and it will bring the characters to life in a way that not even the old television series could do. I would heartily recommend this CD set for anyone who enjoys science fiction, and/or enjoys radio plays.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SCI-FI CLASSIC!!!!!, 14 July 2001
By A Customer
Written from the perspective of the survivor - this is an absolute classic - the sci-fi cliches are here and published 50 years ago has had many imitations over the years.
Human Society has gone as we know it - social skills and survival are the name of the game. Do you help the helpless? Help yourself? Or try and start from scratch? These are the questions asked in this book. Wyndham addresses science and greed and what happens when both meet.
Why did this disaster happen? you never really find out but the asumptions are there - The Triffids really are the 'back-seat' storyline of the book and only appear as these pysedo-intellingent 'things' - but the menace is there throughout.
Classic sci-fi - YES . Classic novel - YES. If you've read it before - read it again. If you haven't - What has taken you so long??!!?
BUY IT -- A 100% CLASSIC!!!!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational Sci-Fi Genius, 13 Feb 2007
By 
DB (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Day of the Triffids (Paperback)
After first hearing The Day Of The Triffids on BBC7 a while ago, then seeing the TV adaptation on BBC4 I was delighted to find this among those 'unknown hidden items' under the Christmas Tree!

From the start it is written in a brilliant style. Seeing through Bills eyes it really brings the destruction of 'The Comet' over very well. The Triffids, the tripod walking plants, although sound more like a joke, are deadly serious and with mankind lost in the dark, the Triffids and the men who can do battle in a race to survive. However it is not just the Triffids, but his own kind who Bill finds himself racing in the sprint for survival

Quite unlike any Sci-Fi I've ever read (Asimov, Adams, Doctor Who stuff etc) Wyndham had an amazing talent for writing, and The Day Of The Triffids has got to be one of the best books I have ever read
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Wyndham does it again..., 6 Dec 1999
By A Customer
This book is probably John Wyndham's best known book. If you remember the TV series or have seen the (dire) 1960's movie then you should read this. The book is nothing like these and is infinitely better. If you liked Stephen King's "The Stand", you'll like this as the stories are both on the same premise (disaster wipes out most of humanity, what happens next...). Wyndham had a way of making the unlikely (the fictional Triffids becoming top of the food chain) seem plausable and keeps the reader gripped throughout the whole story. You feel a mixture of emotions while reading this book and it is a must for everyone. This is how books SHOULD be written!!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic disaster novel - and hardly dated, 16 May 2007
By 
M. W. Stone (peterborough, cambs england) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I first encountered "the Day of the Triffids" when I was ten years old - and can still read it with enjoyment at 59. For me that says it all.

Add to this that the book itself was seven years old when I read it, and its quality is brought home even more. Published in 1951, it is still believable in 2007, perhaps more credible now than when it was written. How many novels are there, sf or otherwise, of which this could be said?

The triffids of the title are a new breed of plant, produced by some unspecified means as a source of oil. The term "Genetically Engineered" was not known in the 50s, but would instantly spring to mind today. Despite their vicious sting, capable of blinding or even killing a man, and the fact they are carnivorous, they are no particular problem until a new disaster strikes. A meteor shower of incredible brilliance draws almost the whole population out at night to watch - and gives off harmful radiation which blinds all those who see it.

Bill Masen, temporarily blinded by a triffid sting, spends the crucial night in hospital with his eyes bandaged, and removes them the morning after to find a world gone blind (at least it seems to be the world. Were there no overcast skies anywhere that night? Never mind) and searches frantically for the handful of others who can see. They are faced with a terrible moral dilemma. Do they just clear off and leave the blind ones to (mostly) die? Or should the sighted stay to help the blind - and almost certainly end up dying with them? And of course not all, even among the sighted, are content to leave this to individual choice. There are those prepared to kidnap and enslave the sighted and force them into helping the blind - and equally those who see a not so brave new world with themselves as masters and the blind majority as serfs.

If all this weren't enough, the triffids are on the loose. With their deadly stings, they commit mayhem on the helpless blind humans, and soon develop into a major problem even for the sighted, who must search desperately for some refuge which can be defended against them. The rest of the novel is devoted to their finding one.

I have a few gripes here and there. Would the triffids really be much threat to sighted people, if the latter had sense enough to wear crash helmets, goggles and heavy coats? And where's the Navy? Did every submarine in the world surface to look at the meteors? I'd expect a sub or two to come moseying up the Thames before too long. Quibble, quibble, Mike.

I also feel that Wyndham made a mistake, later, in implying that the "comet" was a secret weapon that went wrong, and the meteors an official cover story. I don't trust government either, but this doesn't really fit the facts. Were it so, those in the know would surely have taken shelter, and ordered Army and police to do the same. Yet there's no sign whatever of this having happened. No mention of the Royal Family, Cabinet, or Armed Forces, who evidently all went out and got blinded along with the rest. Even for a British government, that's an improbable degree of stupidity. While fully sharing Wyndham's distrust of the Powers That Be, I feel we have to acquit them of this particular crime.

Finally, though appreciating how Wyndham liked his disasters "cosy" and localised, I'd have liked to see just a little more (either in this book or the sequel he never wrote) about how the world at large was getting on. Was everywhere as badly hit as England? Being plants, the triffids wouldn't fare too well in deserts, so Americans and Mexicans might hold out in the southwest, and the Moslems (Oh dear!) in N Africa and the Mideast, while the sighted Australians could retreat into their arid interior. Dry grasslands might also be unsuitable, and even if triffids could live there, a human would see them on the horizon long before they got near enough to detect him, so on steppes or prairies, or even in the Scottish highlands, human and triffid would generally meet only when the human wanted it. These, rather than the Isle of Wight, seem to me the "best hope of mankind".

But enough grousing. It's a really great novel, rivalling "Earth Abides" as the classic post disaster yarn. If you haven't read it, you are missing out big time!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good comes from bad, 29 Jan 2010
in that hopefully the abomination that was the Christmas BBC adaptation will lead people to what is undoubtedly a modern sci-fi classic in the book. Awarding it only 5 stars isn't being fair to it and it is easily in the top 10 of my favourite books.

A meteor shower (or was it?) leading to worldwide blindness to those who viewed it, the collapse of society, a plague and to top it off the rise of a new form of carnivorous plant life. It doesn't rain but it pours.

The book focuses on Bill Masen, a triffid expert, who survives the blindness from being in hospital with a triffid sting injury to the eyes. It then traces how he initially explores and then comes to terms with the collapse of society up to the 6th year afterwards.

He quickly comes across the few sighted survivors left who embark on differing ways of surviving. This is where some other readers seem to have become confused, a number of social structures are considered and debated between the characters and their pros and cons clearly spelt out. What is considered to be the best post-disaster structure requires the abandoning of certain social norms, most of which the characters are on the whole not in agreement with. But in the world that Wyndham created existing social norms and standards don't and can't exist, mankind is close to extinction and that is clearly highlighted.

The characters also act and think intelligently, in stark contrast to Earth Abides. They identify quickly that allowing the gradual descent back into savagery cannot be allowed to happen and that the emerging communities have to be structured and organised to prevent this happening. This is what I would of expect to be done and makes Earth Abides even more preposterous in its futile apathy.

Surprisingly the triffids themselves do not take centre stage, which in itself makes them more menacing. In many parts of the book they are only mentioned in passing and there aren't that many direct confrontations with them. They are in the background as a continuous and growing threat that will eventually wipe mankind out, but there are more pressing dangers in the short-term. What they also are is one of the best sci-fi monsters ever created, with little other than what the characters can deduce known about them.

So if you have seen the 'adaptation' and are wondering what the book would be like or have simply not got around to reading it, I can highly recommend this and would be very surprised if you didn't thoroughly enjoy it and read it again in the future.
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The Day of the Triffids
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (Paperback - 28 Jun 1973)
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