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Monday, August 13, 2007

Cosy Catastrophes

I was going to talk about John Wyndham and Beki beat me to it. To be fair her link was a darn sight better than mine!

Anyway BBC4 have repeated the excellent adaptation of "Day of the Triffids" and on Saturday did a new Adaptation of Wyndham's short Story "Random Quest" (this was filmed in 1971 starrung Joan Collins). The adaptation on Saturday was quite enjoyable.

Wyndham had a long career as a Science Fiction writer but he is 'famous' today for just 4 novels ("Day of the Triffids", "The Kraken Awakes", "The Midwich Cuckoos" and "The Chrysalids"). He was seen as a safe writer (his works were on the Curriculum when I was at school) and horribly middle class. Brian Aldiss coined the term cosy catastrophe about imparticular Wyndham's work.

Curiously when I re-read Triffids a few years back it struck me as a grittier novel than I expected. It was certainly very readable.

Sadly Wyndham, like the excellent american writer Clifford D Simak, is a writer who is out of favour. I'd suggest doing yourself a favour and rereading one of the above novels and discover some truly British Science Fiction.

Oh and why you are at it may I point you at the excellent "Way Station" by Simak.

2 comments:

Anna said...

I devoured John Wyndham as a teenager, during my sci-fi phase!

I re-read some of it recently and I'm not so keen now as I was. It's rather stuffy and middle-class for me. But I still enjoyed it.

Mo said...

I read lots of his stuff as a teenager too and really enjoyed it then. I'm not sure how I'd enjoy it now though. I remember watching the Day of the Triffids with John Duttine on the BBC over 20 years ago