Stop me, oh-ho-whoa stop me, stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before: A man wakes up in a London hospital to find no one around, stumbles out into Piccadilly to find the world has gone all apocalyptic while he’s been sleeping.
Yep. Turns out this book was made into a movie called 28 Days Later, among others.
There’s a lot to recommend this book by John Wyndham, which details the attempts to rebuild civilization after a meteorological event renders most of the world blind, leaving them at the mercy of dangerous, scientifically-engineered plants known as triffids, which are tall clumsy things with vicious stingers that now run rampant over a population too sense-deprived to effectively corral them anymore. For one, I liked the author’s vocabulary, and the guy can actually write a nice sentence. For another, I thought a lot of this book was really well-imagined. The details and reactions to the events were nicely convincing, and I adored the second chapter, which discussed the origins of the triffids.
Unfortunately, the book as a whole was perhaps just a little too languid in its pace. It felt cozy and safe most of the time, and I wished that it could have been more exciting. Until very close to the end of the book, the triffids play a painfully minor role, and while it’s interesting that most of the conflict arises from the need to find a solution to meeting the needs of a population that’s gone blind … I just, what can I say, I wanted more triffids. I loved their design, I love the way Wyndham describes them moving with their long stalk swaying nearly comically front-to-back, but it annoyed me how little drama they ultimately provided.
I really want this killer plant book to be scarier. Alas.