8/101 Votes Alchetron
Publisher Michael Joseph
Originally published December 1951
Followed by The Night of the Triffids
Publication date December 1951
|Genre Science fiction, Post-apocalyptic science fiction|
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Page count 304 (first edition, hardback)
Characters Bill Masen, Josella Playton, Michael Beadley, Florence Durrant, Susan
Adaptations The Day of the Triffids (1962), The Day of the Triffids (1981)
Similar Works by John Wyndham, Fiction books
The Day of the Triffids is a 1951 post-apocalyptic novel by the English science fiction author John Wyndham. It is about a plague of blindness that befalls the entire world, allowing the rise of an aggressive species of plant. Although Wyndham had already published other novels using other pen name combinations drawn from his real name, this was the first novel published as "John Wyndham". It established him as an important writer and remains his best known novel.
- Book review the day of the triffids by john wyndham
- Publication history
- Critical reception
- Cultural impact
- Film adaptations
- Game adaptations
- Print adaptations
- Radio adaptations
- Television adaptations
The story has been made into the 1962 feature film of the same name, three radio drama series (in 1957, 1968, and 2008), and two TV series (in 1981 and 2009). It was nominated for the International Fantasy Award in 1952, and in 2003 the novel was listed on the BBC's survey The Big Read.
Book review the day of the triffids by john wyndham
The protagonist is Bill Masen, a biologist who has made his living working with triffids – tall, venomous carnivorous plants capable of locomotion and communication, whose extracts are superior to fish or vegetable oils. Due to his background, Masen suspects they were bioengineered in the USSR and accidentally released into the wild. The result is worldwide cultivation of triffids. The narrative begins with Bill Masen in hospital, his eyes bandaged after having been splashed with triffid poison. During his convalescence he is told of an unexpected green meteor shower. The next morning, he learns that the light from the unusual display has rendered any who watched it completely blind (later in the book, Masen speculates that the "meteor shower" may have been orbiting weapons, triggered accidentally). After unbandaging his eyes he wanders through an anarchic London full of blind inhabitants and later becomes enamored of wealthy novelist Josella Playton, forcibly used as a guide by a blind man. Intrigued by a single light on top of Senate House in an otherwise darkened city, Bill and Josella discover a group of sighted survivors led by a man named Beadley, who plans to establish a colony in the countryside, and decide to join the group.
The polygamy implicit in Beadley's scheme appalls some group members, especially the religious Miss Durrant, but before this schism can be dealt with, a man called Wilfred Coker stages a fire at the university and kidnaps a number of sighted individuals, including Bill and Josella. They are each chained to a blind person and assigned to lead a squadron of the blind, collecting food and other supplies, while beset by escaped triffids and rival scavengers. When Masen's followers are dying of an unknown disease he attempts to find Josella, but his only lead is an address left behind by Beadley's group. Joined by a repentant Coker, Masen drives to the address, a country estate called Tynsham in Wiltshire, but finds neither Beadley nor Josella. After some days, Masen finds Josella at her friends' country home in Sussex, while Coker returns to Tynsham and later rejoins Beadley. En route, Masen is joined by a young sighted girl named Susan. Along with other refugees, some of them blind, they attempt to establish a self-sufficient colony in Sussex, menaced chiefly by triffids. Years pass until a helicopter pilot representative of Beadley's faction reports that his group has established a colony on the Isle of Wight. Masen and his followers are reluctant to leave their own colony but are provoked to do so by soldiers of a despotic new government. After feigning agreement with the latter's plans, the Masens disable the soldiers' vehicle and flee to the Isle of Wight, determined to one day destroy the triffids and reclaim Earth.
In the United States, Doubleday & Company holds the 1951 copyright. A 1961 condensed version of the book also appeared in Colliers Magazine. An unabridged paperback edition was published in the late 1960s, in arrangement with Doubleday, under the Crest Book imprint of Fawcett Publications World Library.
Wyndham frequently acknowledged the influence of H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds (1897) on The Day of the Triffids.
In regard to the triffids' creation, some editions of the novel make brief mention of the theories of the Soviet agronomist and would-be biologist Trofim Lysenko, who eventually was thoroughly debunked. "In the days when information was still exchanged Russia had reported some successes. Later, however, a cleavage of methods and views had caused biology there, under a man called Lysenko, to take a different course" (Chapter 2). Lysenkoism at the time of the novel's creation was still being defended by some prominent international Stalinists.
Karl Edward Wagner cited The Day of the Triffids as one of the 13 best science-fiction horror novels. Arthur C. Clarke called it an "immortal story".
In his book Billion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction, Brian Aldiss coined the term cosy catastrophe to describe the subgenre of post-war apocalyptic fiction in which society is destroyed save for a handful of survivors, who are able to enjoy a relatively comfortable existence. He specifically singled out The Day of the Triffids as an example of this genre.
Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas praised it, saying "rarely have the details of [the] collapse been treated with such detailed plausibility and human immediacy, and never has the collapse been attributed to such an unusual and terrifying source." Forrest J Ackerman wrote in Astounding Science Fiction that Triffids "is extraordinarily well carried out, with the exception of a somewhat anticlimactic if perhaps inevitable conclusion."
However, Groff Conklin, reviewing the novel's initial book publication, characterised it as "a good run-of-the-mill affair" and "pleasant reading... provided you aren't out hunting science fiction masterpieces."
According to director Danny Boyle, the opening hospital sequence of The Day of the Triffids inspired Alex Garland to write the screenplay for 28 Days Later (2002).
The short story "How to Make a Triffid" includes discussions of the possible genetic pathways that could be manipulated to engineer the triffids from Wyndham's story.
Simon Clark wrote a sequel, The Night of the Triffids (2001), set 25 years after Wyndham's book. Big Finish Productions adapted it as an audio play in 2014.