The Times wrote of John Wyndham’s terrifying post-apocalyptic thriller The Day of the Triffids that it had, “All the reality of a vividly realized nightmare.” It may best serve our purposes to tell what triffids actually are. Triffids are odd, interesting little plants that grow in everyone’s garden. Triffids are no more than mere curiosities until an event occurs that alters human life: what seems to be a spectacular meteor shower, turns into a bizarre, green inferno that blinds everyone and thus renders humankind helpless. What follows is even stranger: spores from the inferno cause the triffids to suddenly take on a life of their own and they become large, crawling vegetation with the ability to uproot itself and roam about the country attacking humans and inflicting pain and agony. William Masen somehow managed to escape being blinded in the inferno (yet he was still hospitalized, eyes bandaged following surgery), and he is now one of the few surviving human beings who can see and who can avoid being attacked by the triffids and who just might be able to save mankind from the terrible chaos as well as possible extinction. The Day of the Triffids is generally held to be Wyndham’s finest novel, and it was his first truly significant work. Wyndham’s writing style has aptly been described as “speculative fiction”. However, the real power of this book lays not in its pure invention but rather in its matter-of-fact depiction of such bizarre phenomena happening so suddenly in the midst of day-to-day life. The narrative voice of William Masen is calm and reasoned as he describes the ongoing nightmare and the attempt of those who try to prevail as he recalls the struggle from an almost historical perspective. The story is therefore mesmerizing and has never lost its quiet terror.
'One of those books that haunts you for the rest of your life' Sunday Times When a freak cosmic event renders most of the Earth's population blind, Bill Masen is one of the lucky few to retain his sight. The London he walks is crammed with groups of men and women needing help, some ready to prey on those who can still see. But another menace stalks blind and sighted alike. With nobody to stop their spread the Triffids, mobile plants with lethal stingers and carnivorous appetites, seem set to take control. The Day of the Triffids is perhaps the most famous catastrophe novel of the twentieth century and its startling imagery of desolate streets and lurching, lethal plant life retains its power to haunt today.
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This title is part of a series that presents retold, shortened versions of classic novels that are suitable for children working at Key Stages Two and Three. The stories are retold so as to lose none of the strength and character of the originals.
The triffids are a monstrous species of stinging plant; they walk, they talk, they dominate the world. The narrator of this novel wakes up in hospital to find that, by missing the end of the world, he has survived to witness a new world. But the new world that awaits him is fantastic and horrific.