I came across The Day of the Triffids on my friend’s bookshelf, (the same friend who recommended Ben Elton’s Inconceivable). I read the back cover and it filled me with dread: An apocalyptic meteor light shower renders nearly the entire human race blind, while flesh-eating plants come to life and roam the streets looking for prey.
The premise stuck with me, and a few weeks later I purchased the book. Published in 1951, I was keen to read another 1950s sci-fi horror, having enjoyed Richard Matheson’s I am Legend from 1954.
So too did I enjoy The Day of the Triffids. It’s practical, scientific and filled with action. This book is a great against-the-odds bid for survival in a world where most of the population is blind, dying or dead. All modern communication and sanitation is gone. Every foot set outside could be your last, as the ravenous triffids encircle every building.
Thinking back to the early 1950s, televisions were still in their early development with limited broadcasts, and life was only just creeping out from the shadow of rationing. It’s not hard to imagine therefore, how this story would have provided thrilling entertainment.
It is clear to me how John Wyndham developed a following, and it is my intention to read more of his work. (I have since purchased The Midwich Cuckoos.) I would also highly recommend Richard Matheson’s novella I am Legend, for another post-apocalyptic survival story, this time featuring vampires. For modern horror, try Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff.