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Book review on "Day of the Triffids" By John Wyndham.

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Introduction

BOOK REVIEW: by Matthew Mcbriar DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS by John Wyndham First published 1951 An ecological disaster of unimaginable scope...A world wide crisis over oil production...A laboratory created strain of plant life, genetically altered to increase production, proves deadly both to humans and all forms of large animal life...Biological warfare in the form of a new and deadly plague accidentally unleashed, wipes out the majority of the human population... This sounds like a 21st Century novel, a quickie aimed at taking advantage of the latest headlines. Everything in it expresses our current fears of biological warfare, of ecological disaster, of the unforeseen results of genetically engineering (manipulation of an organism's genetic material to modify the proteins it produces). The novel however is The Day of the Triffids, first published in 1951. While it was immediately popular, it was popular as a good the-monsters-are-taking-over-the-earth story. It's deeper meanings and its real quality were ignored. Unfortunately, it was then made into a really bad monster movie. If you're only familiar with it from the 1953 movie, be aware that that movie bears no resemblance to the novel beyond the title and the general idea of the triffids. ...read more.

Middle

He is overwhelmed. It is the same question raised by the movie, Titanic. In the movie, when all the lifeboats are launched and the ship sinks, there are 1500 people in the water about to die. Should the lucky ones in the lifeboats try to rescue some of them? If they do, what if too many try to climb aboard, sink the lifeboat and no one survives? Yet, to do nothing is to let the people in the water freeze and drown. It's a moral question with no easy answers and it is at the heart of the book. Within a few days he meets a well-organized group who, like him, are able to see because, for various reasons they failed to watch the meteor shower. Their leaders show a matter-of-fact ruthlessness. Survival is all that counts. The group will move to an isolated country house. One man objects violently. He wants the sighted people to help the rest of the blind population. He is so desperate in his compassion that he kidnaps as many as he can, including Bill. ...read more.

Conclusion

Bill, as a biologist begins to have ideas about ways to destroy the triffids, but there is possibility of developing his ideas unless he can find a group large enough to help him. To say what happens next would be to reveal too much of the plot. The difference between 1952 and today is that then the triffids only as a menace. Today, with our new eco-awareness, a defense can be made for the triffids. They were created by the technology of modern man and then exploited. Like any exploited minority group in history, their true talents were ignored or abused and even their intelligence was denied. They were kept in absolute slavery until modern technology in the form of war machines that caused blindness and a plague gave them a chance for rebellion. As in all riots and rebellions by a group that has been kept down too long, what follows is an explosion of violence. The triffids have no thought but to get rid of man once and for all. The point is, while that makes them a horrible and brutal enemy, it was man that made them the enemy. ...read more.

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