The Day of the Triffids, Book Review

Who remembers the Cold War with Russia, global food shortages, or science fiction speculations of the 1960s? John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids takes readers back to such times; were they really half a century ago? Were those events different than current emergencies?

The human population’s COVID-19/Coronavirus responses were similar enough to events in this novel that Robbie Cheadle (of Roberta Writes) noted that, and therefore piqued my interest. I bought the book and read it during our family’s weekend trip to California.

©Chel Owens -some Triffid-looking plants near San Diego, CA

Wyndham’s story takes place in England in the 1950s. Our protagonist is Bill Masen, an everyman who starts us off with his whining (er… whinging). Everything’s quiet, he can’t see, he’s in hospital, no one’s been ’round to feed or bathe him or finally take the bandages off his eyes, and HE MISSED THAT METEOR SHOWER EVERYONE KEPT GOING ON ABOUT LAST NIGHT.

Don’t worry; Bill figures out how to function like the adult male he is. Problem is, the other adults aren’t as functional.

Apparently, Bill reflects later, he’s lucky that he didn’t get to see the shower (if there was one) because every person who watched it is now blind. Being blind, they are completely helpless. Despite this, most are maturely handling the situation by committing suicide, looting easy foods, and moaning in the streets whilst expecting an outside party to rescue them.

Oh, and there are 7-foot-tall walking plants called Triffids.

Oh, and Triffids also have a venomous stinger.

Buuut, that stinger was removed by farmers.

Buuuut, then stingers weren’t removed because that made their oil better.

Oh, yeah -backstory: the Triffids were the product of Russia breeding a new source of oil for the worldwide shortage of foodstuffs so we’re not sure how they came out exactly and then some Russian defector offered viable seeds for sale and he probably blew up over the ocean on delivery so anyway now Triffids are all over the world and everyone has one in his garden like a sort of sunflower that could kill his children.

We are, however, going to spend most of the book discussing other topics, like how people behave in crises. We’ll also discuss people in charge making shortsighted decisions. Furthermore, we will describe more people in charge and their foolish decisions.

Oh, and there’s also a sickness some people get. And they die.

In all, I loved the book. It moves at much the same pace and has the same feel as The War of the Worlds. It’s not Jurassic Park, although maybe the film adaptation was….

The 1963 film’s movie poster

©2022 Chel Owens

44 thoughts on “The Day of the Triffids, Book Review

  1. Annette Rochelle Aben March 15, 2022 / 10:31 am

    Oh my goodness… My sister watches a television show every Saturday night and this sounds like it should be included in the line-up.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chel Owens March 15, 2022 / 11:40 am

      I don’t know how good the show is but I’m sure it would be interesting!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim Wingrove March 15, 2022 / 11:02 am

    I should read this…👍

    Liked by 2 people

      • Jim Wingrove March 15, 2022 / 1:23 pm

        It’s on my list now because of your review 👍👍

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Bruce Goodman March 15, 2022 / 11:38 am

    Gosh! I haven’t read this book since I was at high school in the 1960s! It sounds like a revisit is called for. From memory the movie is scary, but I get scared with grandma saying peek-a-boo so am no judge of scary movies!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chel Owens March 15, 2022 / 11:43 am

      Did you find War of the Worlds scary? It’s definitely a scary premise but the way the protagonist describes everything is definitely more like that style -like Jules Verne a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bruce Goodman March 15, 2022 / 11:50 am

        I’ve never seen War of the Worlds, I find it difficult in a movie to “suspend disbelief”. That’s why I left the first LOTR’s movie after 20 minutes and never went back! “Jaws” and “Phantom of the Opera” (not the Andrew Lloyd Webber version but the first movie that came out long before that) were two movies that I became engrossed in. But I haven’t watched a movie now for maybe almost 20 years.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chel Owens March 15, 2022 / 12:30 pm

          I watched some of the film. I meant the book when I commented. Books are better. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • obbverse March 15, 2022 / 2:27 pm

            There is nothing like the readers imagination to make the perfect version in the mind.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Nope, Not Pam March 15, 2022 / 1:02 pm

    I’m confused, are we talking about the original? That was just plain creepy and very underrated

    Liked by 2 people

      • Nope, Not Pam March 16, 2022 / 3:40 am

        I think I did, but I don’t remember it

        Liked by 1 person

  5. pkadams March 15, 2022 / 2:59 pm

    Did you read The Tripod series? I blogged about it. Also I just read The Death of Grass. I’ll send them to you if you want.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chel Owens March 15, 2022 / 3:59 pm

      I’ve read War of the Worlds, I think. I will look into The Death of Grass. I just don’t get much time to read. ❤

      Like

      • pkadams March 15, 2022 / 8:28 pm

        The Tripods is not the same as War of the worlds. It’s a YA series from 1967 by John Christopher . Your kids can read it , too.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. petespringerauthor March 15, 2022 / 7:44 pm

    Very well-written review, Chel! I mean, were you expecting otherwise, Springer?😊

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Ian Kay March 16, 2022 / 4:38 am

    The Howard Keel film is not the story in the book. Wyndham spent 18 months finding a satisfactory ending to Triffids and the film completely ignores it; it couldn’t have the humans not winning the war! There was a British TV drama adaption which was more faithful to Wyndham’s story, but I feel it was a while back and probably forgotten now.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chel Owens March 16, 2022 / 6:33 am

      Thank you, Ian. I wondered, and I agree that we wouldn’t have humans conquering all!

      Like

  8. Norah March 16, 2022 / 4:46 am

    I have read the book but I watched the television series years ago. Talk about scary – the attack of the killer flowers.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. joanne the geek March 16, 2022 / 6:29 am

    I read it when I was a teenager. I don’t remember much of the book, but there’s been two different TV series adaptations, so I know the story quite well. In the older TV series the triffids made this scary tapping to communicate with each other. It was closer to the book than the more recent one. Even to this day I get slightly unnerved when I hear a similar tapping…

    In fact I’ve read a lot of the English Disaster Novels (as they came to be known) by John Wyndham and also John Christopher (different guy, but wrote books like The Death of Grass and The World in Winter. Worth checking out).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chel Owens March 16, 2022 / 6:35 am

      Thank you, Joanne! I’ve not heard of the Disaster Novels but they sound excellent. And, yeah -the tapping part makes for great horror. I’m glad to hear that was an element in the TV series.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Pam Webb March 16, 2022 / 7:02 am

    We are fans of all those campy movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I will need to read this source material first, of course. I doubt Triffids would flourish in our cold climate so I don’t feel threatened.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chel Owens March 16, 2022 / 9:29 am

      We’d have to be wary during growing seasons! 🌼

      I’ve heard of “Body Snatchers” but haven’t seen it.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Priscilla Bettis March 16, 2022 / 11:52 am

    I loved the movie! I haven’t read the book, though. Good review. I can’t believe you found a photo of real-life triffid plants.:-)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chel Owens March 16, 2022 / 12:44 pm

      😀 I know! I saw them in the courtyard and had to take a picture!

      Like

  12. CarolCooks2 March 16, 2022 / 5:54 pm

    Wow, Chel you have taken me back a few years and yes there was an old tv programme which had more similarities to the book like the tapping, scary stuff…

    Liked by 2 people

  13. robbiesinspiration March 20, 2022 / 7:36 am

    Hi Chel, The Day of the Triffids is an interesting read. It is fascinating to speculate how quickly things would fall apart in such a situation. Thanks for sharing your review. I was surprised and delighted to see this title pop up.

    Liked by 2 people

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