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45 of 49 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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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite ever novel!, 15 Sep 2007
By 
M. T. Gibbs - See all my reviews
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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 sums up in one sentence exactly why I love this book to the exclusion of all others.

I must have first read this at age 11/12 and having done so many times since it NEVER loses its appeal. A love story, a story of immense tragedy, of politics, of the fragility of modern life and above all of the undeniable essential nature of mankind Wyndham incorporates all these facets into a perfect tale.

Perhaps I am viewing it through rose tinted glasses because of the effect it had on me at such an impressionable age, but judging by everyone else's reviews I doubt this very much. I don't think I am being melodramatic when I say this novel opened my eyes to the true nature of the world. The characters are perfect, I felt like they were real people and at the end of every reading I am sad to close the last page and say good bye to them, if only for a short while.

My dog eared and much loved copy takes pride of place on my bookshelf. This is a novel for anybody out there who looked at the world around them and wondered... what if?
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pageturner that poses countless questions, 28 Jan 2006
By 
Mr. Paul J. Bradshaw (Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
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Forget all the mental images you may have of this book; forget the film; in fact, forget men-eating plants altogether. Because this book is not about any of those things.
What it is about is hard to pin down. About how thin the veneer of civilisation is; about the dangers of global weaponry; about how different people would react to an apocalypse; about how society itself is best organised, or why societies are organised the way they are. What is certain is that, at various points in reading this book, you are forced to ask yourself questions to which there are no correct answers. And that is the mark of truly classic fiction.
What's more, this is a terrific story, impeccably told. A true pageturner that had me desperate to know what happened next, and yet wishing it never to end. And enough twists and turns to pack it full of incident. I'm now off to read Wyndham's other works, but I recommend you buy this now.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Published in 1951 and continues to satisfy, 2 Mar 2005
By 
Sally-Anne "mynameissally" (Leicestershire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Some of the best sci-fi has a long shelf-life because it's long-sighted, prescient - prophetic even. Day of the Triffids is a fine example of a science fiction tale that has as much to say about what worries and frightens people today as it did over 50 years ago. It all starts in a comfortable, well ordered, peaceful Britain, where a man who has suffered an accident at work is waiting in his hospital bed, to have the bandages removed from his eyes. As far as he knows, everything is fine, except the clock has struck 8 O'clock and he hasn't heard any sign of the medical staff. The quiet, orderly peacefulness is deceptive though. Politics, economics, technology and, most of all, hubris have the world balancing on a knife edge and it will only take a chance slip or two to plunge human civilisation into chaos. The situation:
1) There are satellite weapons hanging in the sky - out of sight and out of mind, but threatening the world with germ-warfare, nuclear attack and other ghastly inventions of amoral science;
2) A plant has been bred or genetically modified by the dastardly enemies of democracy, to provide a very useful type of oil that is going to make fish oil and a range of other profitable oils obsolete, thereby threatening certain Western economic interests. The plant has some other more alarming qualities and therefore has to be 'imprisoned' and fastened to the ground;
3) An abortive attempt at industrial espionage spreads the interesting and profitable new plant over the whole planet;
4) Both accidents-in-waiting happen in quick succession: one or more of the satellites is (probably) struck by a comet, or something of the sort and explodes with a spectacular and devastating pyrotechnic display and possibly some virulent disease is also rained down - and then, when human-kind is incapacitated by the after effects of the previous evening's illuminations, the GM crops escape confinement and attack;
5) Civilisation turns out to be a thin veneer and desperate people adopt desperate measures in order to survive.
These nightmarish events are just the beginning. The tale is related by that hospital patient who started his record of events puzzling about where the medical staff had got to and why he hadn't had his breakfast or had his bandages removed. He's a biologist whose job in cultivating the new oil-rich plants had landed him in the hospital, where he was recovering from a blinding sting when the comets hit the satellites. When he emerges from the hospital, he finds a terrifyingly changed world. He tells how quickly order unravelled and how the few survivors devised strategies to stay alive.
John Wydham must have put a lot of thought into how people would behave under these conditions. He clearly gave careful consideration to the sorts of behaviour that would make the difference between continued survival and slow or sudden death, the psychological and physical demands of adjusting to a catastrophically changed environment, how people would have to change their way of thinking about ethical and moral issues. He highlights some of the best and the worst of human nature. It's an excellent book and I highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Brilliant, 5 Oct 2007
This review is from: The Day of the Triffids (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Academics have written enough about this novel to fill an entire shelf at least, and that is perhaps not a good thing since it tends to detract from the fact that this is a marvellously entertaining and thought-provoking work, maybe the single best British SF novel of the Twentieth Century.
For those not in the know, triffids are genetically engineered six foot mobile plants whose main stalk ends in a trumpetlike `flower' from which a prehensile stinger can lash out. The stinger contains venom strong enough to kill a man. The triffids can also uproot themselves and walk on their three ambulatory roots. Also, they have sticklike growths which drum against the main stem, creating a rattling noise with which some believe they communicate among themselves.
For reasons we needn't go into, some years before the opening of the novel a large number of triffid seeds was accidentally released into the upper atmosphere ensuring that they were dispersed across the planet. Not so long after, triffids began growing and multiplying everywhere.

At the start of the novel however, triffid researcher Bill Mason, who has been in hospital after an accidental triffid sting to his eyes, awakens to a strangely silent world. As his eyes were bandaged he was one of the few people to miss a worldwide display of cometary debris burning up in the earth's atmosphere.
Soon he discovers that the strange fireworks have burnt out the retinae of everyone who witnessed them. In the days that follow, the very few who have kept their sight attempt to reorganise, but it is only Bill who realises that now the infrastructure of civilisation has disappeared, the triffids may now become masters of the earth.
Wyndham's three major works - this, `The Midwich Cuckoos' and `the Chrysalids' -all deal in their different ways with evolutionary issues and the battle between species for territory. It is here that the message is clearest, and shows an extinction event in which the triffids, until now contained and controlled by a more successful species, are suddenly given an evolutionary advantage. Triffids are carnivorous plants which may or may not have some form of rudimentary intelligence. It has been noted by Mason's colleagues that when attacking humans they inevitably aim for the eyes. Therefore, by a combination of circumstances, Wyndham quite chillingly shows us how a more successful species (which need not necessarily be a more intelligent species) could, in evolutionary terms, supplant us.
Much is made of Wyndham's rather quaint middle-class viewpoint and the fact that many of the survivors seem to be professional middle-class types. The interesting point about this is that it gives Wyndham a chance to have a swipe at some of the complacent attitudes of Middle England, such as the lady in charge of Tynsham Manor who would rather her community fail than surrender to immoral unchristian practices.
If nothing else it is an exciting page-turning wonder, in which we travel with the protagonists through the ruin of a Nineteen Fifties Britain, battling against not only the ubiquitous triffids, but the dark side of human nature.
Quite brilliant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly classic book that's still got relevance today, 13 May 2007
By 
Mr. Stuart Bruce "DonQuibeats" (Cardiff, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is a book that really does deserve the term "classic".

It is best remembered for the haunting scenes of the first few chapters, in which Bill Masen wakes up in a hospital bed to find the world he knew yesterday has changed utterly and that mankind is suddenly in a struggle for survival (scenes which are borrowed wholesale for the opening of the film "28 Days Later").

The premise 'Attacked By Killer Plants That Walk!' might sound like a B-movie but this is in fact an extremely clever novel, and immensely ahead of its time. The triffids themselves are for most of the book a symbolic and menacing distant threat, not Star Trek-style talking aliens with an evil masterplan. The real danger in the books comes from human flaws rather than killer plants.

The novel touches on all sorts of themes, including genetic engineering and Dr Strangelove-style missile stand-offs. Wyndham has spent a lot of time on a post-apocalyptic re-think of everything from religion and morality, industry and farming, the role of children, to the role of the military. This is all packed into a relatively short and extremely entertaining narrative.

It is 'science fiction' but should be read broadly, not just by science fiction fans, as although it is now more than fifty years old, it has aged surprisingly well. It is, as another reviewer has said, crying out to be made into an up-to-date film that does justice to the story.

It's a excellent book that's difficult to put down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful, dramatic & fast paced piece of post-apocalyptic fiction, 6 Dec 2006
By 
Chris Hall "DLS Reviews" (Cardiff, Wales) - See all my reviews
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Back in 1951 John Wyndham first published his novel "The Day Of The Triffids". Since then the novel has been hailed as a sci-fi masterpiece and has become one of the cornerstones in the post-apocalyptic fiction subgenre.

Within "The Day Of The Triffids" Wyndham explores humanities need for power and its inevitable downfall towards its own destruction. Wyndam probes away at our lustful need for supposed `civilised development' whilst pointing towards greed as the real motivation towards such advancements.

Tackling the idea that humanity could potentially wipe itself out with not just one dramatic incident but the combination of two or more events feeding off each other, the novel's fictional premise holds key ideas for the state of the real world.

The tale follows the character, Bill Mason, as the world around him slowly collapses leaving just a few survivors who were lucky enough to escape blindness by not witnessing a once in a lifetime event. With ninety-nine percent of the world's entire population now sightless, the remaining visually sighted are left with an enormous moral dilemma as well as the seemingly impossible problem of survival.

The storyline delivers twists and turns throughout the tale, as groups of individuals attempt to reclaim what is left of humanity. The reader quickly learns that no two answers are right, with difficult decisions often seemingly harsh, are perhaps the only real solution.

From the outset, "The Day Of The Triffids" keeps up a fast and nail biting pace, that never seems to let up. With each decision comes an unforeseen outcome that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Running for just 272 pages, Wyndham crams in a tight storyline that will swallow you in to this desperate new world.

Like in much post-apocalyptic fiction, the story has a bleak and downbeat atmosphere, with every positive action bringing a beaming ray of hope. Wyndham cleverly plays on this, until finally ending the novel with a question mark to the final outcome of humankind's survival.

This is an important and powerful novel that can be enjoyed by all ages. It's a book that you'll find yourself returning to time and again. This is one of the best pieces of post-apocalyptic fiction ever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars seminal sci-fi, 3 Feb 2004
By 
S. Hapgood "www.sjhstrangetales.com" - See all my reviews
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Reading this at last after having seen the old 1960s film numerous times, I had to banish memories of Howard Keel from my mind! The film wasn't bad at all, (I've seen much worse), but reading the book it was clear how drastically it had deviated from John Wyndham's original, and the book is undoubtedly better by a mile. I had never appreciated before quite how influential Wyndham's work was. Reading this I could see how it has influenced numerous films I've seen in recent years, from "Dawn Of The Dead", to "Threads", to "28 Days Later", and books such as Richard Matheson's "I Am Legend", and James Herbert's apocalyptic novels such as "The Fog", "Domain", and "1948".
"The Day Of The Triffids" is pure class from beginning to end. It moves at a cracking pace, and is told in the first person by Our Hero, Bill Masen, who reacts in a way to situations in this new world he finds himself in that I found completely believable. He runs the whole gamut of emotions, from excitement at first at finding himself free of Society's restrictions, (I think most can identify with having the freedom to run into shops to grab what you want, plus just snatching any vehicle and having the roads to yourself), to despair that human beings can ever carve out a new life with such odds stacked against them, to a worldly optimism that the new life is going to be extremely difficult, but not perhaps impossible.
Taking into account the age of it (it was first published in 1951) it hasn't dated that much when all is said and done. Bill's new life, finding himself one of the fortunate few that are still sighted in a world that has largely been struck blind overnight, will be very recognisable to anyone writing such a scenario now. It's rare for me to find a novel that I find completely absorbing these days, to the extent where I can't wait to find out how it all ends, but this one did the trick. It's a good old-fashioned adventure story, a survival against the odds, with enough similarity in it to make it recognisable to the modern reader. After all, the triffids in this are simply a terrible by-product of Man's urge to manipulate Nature for his own ends, and I certainly don't mean to preach when I say that. Just that whereas the film had the triffids almost as an accidental result of a meteor shower, the book is much more subtle. I would even go so far as to say it should be regarded as one of the most exciting, thought-provoking pieces of fiction of all time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars End of the world drama at its best., 4 May 2003
By 
Majuran Umapathee (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
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Very 'British' science fiction written (you can tell by the style in which it is written) from around the time of the cold war, reflecting a lot of paranoia from that era. The main character wakes up to find out that nearly everybody else on the planet has been stricken blind. 'In the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is king.' So think about it- if everybody but a select few people were sticken blind tonight, what would happen to the world?
If society were to break down, how would that come about? What would we be left with? Would it be any different in the less populated countyside to the cities?
If you were one of the gifted few to be able to see, what do you do? Do you help the helpless? (people stricken blind overnight would have problems finding food. There's even the possibility that they'd get together as groups to help each other. What if a blind mob found a seeing indiviual?) Do you look after yourself and leave everyone to their fate? Or leave the general area to try and find other people in a similar situation to yourself and try and start from scratch?
Add to the equation the 'triffids' (just a minor addition in the background IMHO)- deadly plants probably as a result of genetic engineering by the Russians by accident, kept as household items to look good, but need in need to trimming every so often in order to keep them safe.
Good science fiction challenges us, making us think what would happen if... This is no different and comes highly recommended.
End of the world drama at its best.
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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 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
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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The Day of the Triffids (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Day of the Triffids (Penguin Modern Classics) by John Wyndham (Paperback - 22 Feb 2001)
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