I don’t know why it has taken me so long to sit down and write this review. I’ve been battling my way through so much YA fantasy recently, and The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham was a nice, horrific change of pace. Let me just say, I never get scared by books, there might be a quick jolt of excitement or giddy nervousness, but nothing has ever frightened me. This book’s portrayal of blindness is frightening.
TDOTT is a book that kind of floated in the literature aether, something I recognized, knowing there was some importance, but no idea what it was all about.
Walking plants and blindness.
That’s essentially what is boils down to. Russians have created a sentient plant that can walk and eats flesh. Others attempt to steal the triffids for commercial gain. Whoops, those plants fall into the ocean and now we’ve got baby triffids in backyards. Everyone is able to keep the dangerous plants at bay, until a comet makes a pit stop one night and blinds the majority of the humans who come out to gawk at it.
Our main character (I can’t be bothered to remember his name) wakes up in a hospital alone with bandages wrapped around his head from a previous injury. No doctors or nurses answer his call. The hallways and streets are silent except for the occasional yell into the void. Bob (let’s call him Bob) pulls the bandages off and finds that he can see, and no one else can. From there, we spiral into a The-Walking-Dead-28-Days-Later-every-apocalypse-movie-or-book-you-have-ever-seen-or-read experience. The difference being that this is the original. In fact, the opening scene is one that has directly influenced both opening scenes in The Walking Dead and 28 Days Later.
Why do we love the hospital scene? Well, we see someone at their most vulnerable point. They have come to an institution that we rely on to keep us safe, and the character now has to scramble to make sense of the broken, puzzle pieces of an apocalyptic world. Though the opening is one that has seen recreated many times, it was is very, very effective in this book.
Bob meets a wide variety of survivors and the barely-hanging-on. People handle the end of the world in many different ways (naturally). As interesting and introspective as the second half tried to be, nothing could beat the first half. I guess that is why so many creators copy it.
So yeah, this was a weird one folks. I could write more, but I think this is one that you have to experience for yourself. There are a lot of questions about being human. When do you let go of the civility of human nature in an apocalyptic circumstance? Honestly, I feel like it wouldn’t take much for me to a let go of my human side. There is also some talk about science blindly (hint hint) looking to progression and not weighing the consequences, but you guys should just read it because the plants eat people.