Monday, 15 March 2010

John Wyndham, Day of the Triffids (1951)

Today's Punkadiddle subtitle ('punkasubtittle'): 'won't somebody please remember the children!' I've read this book twice (I re-read it recently to write an introduction for a new edition), and have seen various adaptations, but this blindingly obvious point had never struck me before:
The meeting at the University: the talk is of regenerating through creating children through polygamy etc - what nonsense. There must be thousands of babies and toddlers who never saw the green lights (safely tucked up in bed) and who would be sighted - the pressure must be to find as many of them who could be saved.
Why did this never occur to me? Of course it's right. I wonder if it has something to do withthe novel's skill in drawing a line under the old world? Or is it a function of cosy-catastrophism? Which is to say: is it that babies and toddlers are fundamentally obstacles to the bright-young-things-dashing-about-having-adventures vibe?

3 comments:

Rich Puchalsky said...

Haven't read the book, but in general in SF when there's a catastrophe and all of a sudden the characters are talking about how they just have to have polygamy, there's a much more basic male fantasy going on even than rushing around having adventures.

Adam Roberts said...

I'm wondering if it's a kind of mirror-relation to kid's books -- which, famously, start with child protagonists who are either orhpans or else magically free of parental interference, so as to enable their fun.

David J. Williams said...

Day of the Triffids is so good at making us feel the catastrophe that I think in some ways we just kinda FORGET about any of the trappings of future. We no longer believe in it.

Having said that, I haven't read this book in a long long time. Be interesting to see how it dates. .