's sequel to John Wyndham
's vastly superior novel The Day of the Triffids
. Published 2001
by Hodder and Stoughton
I was twelve years old when I discovered John Wyndham's awe-inspiring Day Of The Triffids. For me, standing between the world of childhood and the mysterious new world of adulthood, it was a revelation.
The Day Of The Triffids wasn't merely a good story; it was such a powerful transforming experience that the hero's struggle for survival has stayed with me ever since.
And yet, as always, always, when I re-read this great book, I feel an aching sense of loss as I reach the end. The characters were leaving me. But deep down I knew their stories continued. For years I dreamed about their future adventures.
Now, at long last, I can slip into the hero's shoes to explore the ruins of a great civilization which dies just a few years before the birth of rock and roll, moon landings and colour TV. I can face the menace of the murderous triffid again and learn that the battle for humankind's survival is far from over.
Writing this book was a real labour of love, and I dedicate it with true respect and admiration to John Wyndham, 1903--1969.
from the blurb on the back cover of The Night of the Triffids
Touching words that convinced me to buy the book while it was still in hardcover. Big mistake. While Clark set out on this project with lofty sentiments, the end result is disappointing. to say the least.
Set thirty years after the events of The Day of the Triffids, Clark's novel opens on the Isle of Wight, settled at the end of Wyndham's book, where David Masen, the son of Wyndham's protagonist, has grown into a fine, strapping example of manhood.
As Clark correctly surmised, it is indeed fascinating to see what happened to the shattered world Wyndham left us. The opening chapters set in the community on the Isle of Wight generate some of the feeling of Wyndham's post-apocalyptic world, the focus shifts all too soon, and implausibly, to New York and degenerates into a bloodbath of submachine guns and the ALL-NEW! forty-foot high ULTRA-TRIFFID! Not to mention the megalomaniac, slave-driving evil mastermind. By half way through the book the only sensation I was experiencing was slight tremors in Southern England, the result of John Wyndham spinning in his grave.
John Wyndham ended his most famous novel at the point he did for very good reasons. Simon Clark disregards those reasons and constructs a tale that, to my mind, Wyndham would look upon with disapproval.