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.
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….
©2022 Chel Owens