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John Wyndham

Born: July 10, 1903, England.
Died: March 11, 1969.

One of my all-time favorite sci-fi authors and a master of the quick paced and tightly plotted disaster novel. His works deal with themes similar to Heinlein's: individual versus the group, moral dilemmas of survival, the imperatives of new environments, the adaptability of human norms, the artificiality of societal constraints, love, leadership, and the resilience of the human race. Highly readable and highly recommended.

The Day of the Triffids was made into a mediocre film that is best avoided and pretty good BBC TV series that is damn difficult to find. The Midwich Cuckoos was made into a semi-bearable film, retitled as Village of the Damned, which then spawned a straight horror film, Children of the Damned, the latter probably best remembered as source for an Iron Maiden song.

The John Wyndham Archive is housed by the University of Liverpool Library. Here's a list of my Wyndham collection.

There is an authorized sequel to The Day of the Triffids called The Night of the Triffids written by horror writer Simon Clark.

John Wyndham

The Books

The Day of the Triffids (1951)
Bill Masen wakes up to a world gone blind where genetially-engineered carnivorous plants, the triffids, are poised to take over by destroying the helpless humans. He teams up with Josella and little Susan to survive in an increasingly hostile world, closing in on them with both triffids and other people attempting to enslave or kill them. The classic disaster novel, permeated by Cold War fears, this one has lost none of its potency, urgency, or social relevance. Highly recommended, 10/10.
The Kraken Wakes (1953)
A race of aliens settles at the bottom of the ocean and quickly comes into conflict with the domineering humans. After several abortive attempts to nuke them out of existence, and an equally abortive attempt to kidnap people from coastal regions, the invaders melt the polar ice, plunging most of the inhabited world underwater. The social order breaks down, but how long will it be before humans kill this species too? Very nice, 8/10.
Trouble with Lichen (1960)
Diana Brackley and Francis Saxover discover that a rare lichen found in remote China can slow down ageing by a factor of up to five. He hides the discovery afraid that its revelation would cause major social unrest. She hides it because she is afraid that people would suppress it. As the story breaks out eventually, Britain has to face the gravest challenge to its very foundations. Slow, 5/10.