The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham, introduction by Jeff VanderMeer, cover illustration by Anders Nilsen / ISBN 9780593450086 / 256-page paperback from Modern Library
The influential masterpiece of one of the twentieth century’s most brilliant—and neglected—science fiction and horror writers, whom Stephen King called “the best writer of science fiction that England has ever produced.”
“[Wyndham] avoids easy allegories and instead questions the relative values of the civilisation that has been lost, the literally blind terror of humanity in the face of dominant nature. . . . Frightening and powerful, Wyndham’s vision remains an important allegory and a gripping story.”—The Guardian
What if a meteor shower left most of the world blind—and humanity at the mercy of mysterious carnivorous plants
Bill Masen undergoes eye surgery and awakes the next morning in his hospital bed to find civilization collapsing. Wandering the city, he quickly realizes that surviving in this strange new world requires evading strangers and the seven-foot-tall plants known as triffids—plants that can walk and can kill a man with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers.
John Wyndham (1903-1969) is considered a pioneer of science fiction and horror, though he preferred to think of himself as a “logical fantasist.” He began writing science fiction and detective stories in the 1920s, but shifted to science fiction post-WWII, focusing on themes of disaster, invasion, and first contact. His best known works include The Day of the Triffids (1951) and The Midwich Cuckoos (1957). A pacifist and socialist, Wyndham—unlike a lot of mid-century genre fiction authors—was alive to the impact of sexism, classism, and prejudice and his novels reflect his liberal politics.