Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Triffids Take Chop Suey!

Appearing now on the Staff Recommendations shelf at Chop Suey Books is John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids, one of the classics of post-apocalyptic literature, now available in trade paperback as part of the Modern Library's "20th Century Rediscovered" series. This reissue is not new -- it was first released circa 2003 -- but our ability to get it at Chop Suey sure is! (Before 2003, the book was out of print; so, as our friend Joel Control points out, there's some dissonance now in seeing it as something besides a beat up pulp tome with screaming B-movie queen on the front. But oh well; it sure is a handsome paperback the Modern Library has put together!)

Here's the plot: a few years after humanity has learned to contain a new species of walking carnivorous plants (the Triffids of the title), a spectacular meteor shower causes everyone who witnesses it to go blind. In the new sightless world, the Triffids begin to take over, and the few sighted folk that are left must mobilize their fellow survivors to safety. It's an extremely astute portrait of gradual social breakdown, narrated in the dry and somewhat befuddled voice of a protagonist attempting to face the end of the world like a proper gentleman. And it's a delight to read. Come check out one of the great overlooked novels of the last century!

And, if you're interested, here's a (Wikipedia) crash course on this John Wyndham fellow.

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