The Day of the Triffids

by JOHN WYNDHAM | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0140009930 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Fellraven of Redditch, Worcestershire United Kingdom on 5/20/2006
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Fellraven from Redditch, Worcestershire United Kingdom on Saturday, May 20, 2006
A very old edition for a quid from a National Trust second hand bookshop. Hang on - it's so old it only cost 50p new. I wuz robbed.

Journal Entry 2 by Fellraven from Redditch, Worcestershire United Kingdom on Sunday, July 30, 2006
Before embarking upon reading this, I had it in mind that I had read it before, many years ago and probably as a set work at secondary school. After finishing it, however, I'm convinced that I was mistaken so this has been my introduction to Wyndham's work.

The Day of the Triffids has been one of this year's real discoveries. Published in the early 1950s, it could by now have been ridiculously dated but what struck me was just how prescient was Wyndham's vision of his dystopia.

Over the past 50 years the idea of the "triffid" has become part of popular folklore and in British English denotes any weird or unfamiliar plant, especially a large one, yet we seem to have lost Wyndham's idea of what his triffids actually were - walking creatures six to ten feet tall which effectively hunted the blinded humans of the novel, killing them with a lash of their long, retractable stings and then waiting around until the corpses were sufficiently rotten to be pulled apart and eaten, and communicating between themselves in ways that are never quite explained but which amount to a drumming on their own stems.

What is astonishingly (and alarmingly) prescient about this novel this novel is its uncanny parallels to the current controversy over GM organisms which was, at the time the novel was written, decades away and well out of sight over a distant scientific horizon.

In chapter 2, The Coming of the Triffids, Wyndham has his narrator, Bill Masen, the triffid biologist and expert, comment upon the various theories as to their origins and then opine:

Nevertheless, their true origin still remains obscure. My own belief, for what it is worth, is that they were the outcome of a series of ingenious biological meddlings - and very likely accidental at that.

And thereby hangs the warning which threads its way through the novel. Gentically modified maize today, triffids tomorrow.

The Day of the Triffids is a novel which is probably due for a film adaptation, whether it's already had one or not, as the subject is too topical and raises too many important issues for the present day for it to be ignored.

If anything could set off a public debate about the environment and our tinkerings with biochemistry and genetics, this book and a film derived therefrom are they.

Journal Entry 3 by Fellraven at Notcutts Garden Centre in Solihull, West Midlands United Kingdom on Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Released 12 yrs ago (8/15/2006 UTC) at Notcutts Garden Centre in Solihull, West Midlands United Kingdom

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Amongst the house plants of course. You should never trust a rubber plant.

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