10 Most Crucial British Science Fiction Novels 5

The Day Of The Triffids

By John Wyndham
1951

There’s something decidedly hokey about John Wyndham’s fiction. That’s not just true of the stories he wrote for the pulps in the era before World War Two, it also applies to his major novels.

Sacrilege? Think about The Day Of The Triffids in more detail. Here’s a post-apocalyptic novel (how very 1950s…) featuring carnivorous plants, a meteor shower, or possibly a space weapon, that renders humanity blind and a stolid hero.

So why has Wyndham’s best work endured? Try this: he’s an SF writer – and by this we mean a novelist who seems firmly of the genre rather than someone experimenting with it – who is less concerned with whizzy technology than with ordinary people in extraordinary situations. The future, Wyndham makes clear, won’t just happen to a select few rocket scientists but to all of us.

If you like this, why not try?
The Death Of Grass by John Christopher (1956)
Because it shares Wyndham’s abiding concern with mankind as part of nature, not separate from it.

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