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The Library of Babel

A Spin-off of http://bookwormshead.blogspot.co.uk

The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham, Barry Langford
Wow, reading this one was good fun!

I still think that 'War with the Newts' by Karel Capek cannot be surpassed as a sci-fi dystopian novel, but - in its best moments - 'The Day of the Triffids' certainly get close to that model.

You have to agree that carnivorous aggressive two metres tall plants feeding themselves with the rotten corpses of the human beings they hunt down are pretty decent villains. The idea of making all the world population save a few souls blind is brilliant and not redundant at all as the author needed to explain why triffids managed to take the Earth over.

True, this book has a minor flaw. It is affected by a certain post-post Victorian mannerism that makes it less spectacular and apocalyptic that it could have been. Wyndham could have spared us with the unlikely love story subplot and put more gruesome and creepy descriptions in this novel rather than the odd peeping Tom moment.

Wyndham doesn't seem to take his triffids as seriously as they may deserve, but doesn't resort to irony in depicting them: which is a pity.

Nevertheless, the novel keeps an enjoyable pace - apart from a few unnecessary descriptions - and benefits from its metropolitan London and then countryside setting.
Wyndham pay his debt to 'The Scarlet Plague' by Jack London more than once, but manages to keep himself original on the whole.