This book has been on my reading list for over two years now, so it’s very satisfying to be able to finally cross it off the list. I put it on my TBR list after reading a “Best sci-fi and fantasy books of all time” post from The Telegraph. Books on lists like that tend to be of higher than average quality, so any I hadn’t read I put on my TBR list. As a bonus, it’s also on the BBC’s The Big Read list. I chose to read it now because it gave me a W author that I’m still lacking.
Genre: post-apocalyptic science fiction
Length: 216 pages
Setting: London and its environs, late 1940s
Summary: One morning, our narrator, Bill Masen, wakes up and realizes nearly everyone has gone blind. He quickly has to make a decision to help the many blind people around him or try to find other sighted individuals and rebuild some sort of society. Realizing the rules of society have changed, he helps free Josella, a sighted woman, from a man beating her and joins up with a group of people at the University. Just before the group heads out of London to a defensible country estate, they are ambushed by a group of blind people and forced to help. Bill escapes when plague strikes his group, and starts looking for Josella. They eventually reunite and start to become self-sufficient. Hampering their efforts are the constant attacks by triffids, a large, mobile plant that has a deadly sting.
Final thoughts: An interesting, classic post-apocalyptic story. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that other generations have written post-apocalyptic stories, especially after WWII, but they’ve always seemed like a more modern invention. I found the addition of triffids to be an interesting twist to an otherwise pretty mundane apocalypse. Deadly plants are not your typical villain. Of course, they reproduce easily and make their own food, which makes them very difficult to eradicate once they are established.
And then there’s the cause of the apocalypse. Some kind of meteorological phenomenon causes everyone to go blind. I must admit, I prefer my apocalypses with a bit more explanation to them, but at least there was a defined cause. I wonder how the story would work in this day and age. Would more people go out to see the impressive meteor shower because of social media, or would less because people are more interested in their devices? I do think the average modern person couldn’t move to a farm and become self-sufficient, even if they could find the right books. But, at the same time, we have more people living off the grid than in the 40s. Makes you wonder how people would survive, but then that’s always the question associated with post-apocalyptic books, isn’t it.
Title comes from: Once humanity was blinded, the triffids ruled the earth and took over.
Reading challenges fulfilled: #95 in my Maybe 100 This Year Challenge, and a W in my Author Reading the Alphabet Challenge
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