Archive for June, 2019

THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS By John Wyndham – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2019 by stanleyriiks

In my much younger days I watched the BBC dramatisation of this book. It gave me nightmares. I remember it to this day, many many years later. So I approached this novel with some trepidation.

The original, the book, is somewhat different to my memories of the mini-series though.

I think in my young mind it’s been partially merged with Arthur Dent in his dressing gown, but those deadly plants I remember far too well.

Bill Masen wakes up in hospital to silence. It’s strangely quiet. And while he waits for his blindfold to be removed after his operation he gradually becomes aware that things have changed overnight. The nurses are not at their stations, the hospital and outside are strangely quiet. When he heads out tentatively to investigate, his blindfold still in place, he realises that much of the rest of the hospital is blind too.

As Bill ventures outside he realises that the blindness is not restricted to the hospital, and that soon London will become an apocalyptic wasteland, run by gangs of criminals…

The Triffids, flesh eating man-sized plants that have a whip-like stinger are only part of his apocalyptic world. This is really the story of man’s descent when the world becomes blind overnight.

This is The Walking Dead but with killer plants instead of zombies, and set in 50s Britain.

I’m sure the TV series made more of the killer plants, in the book they are a mere part of the hysteria and menace of post-normal life. The Day of the Triffids is a classic SF apocalypse novel, and the precursor to virtually every post-apocalypse story ever since.

Tragic, quietly brilliant, and disturbing.

FRAGILE THINGS By Neil Gaiman – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2019 by stanleyriiks

I have a strange relationship with short stories. On the one hand they are fun, easy to read, short and can be read in one sitting. On the other hand they blend into each other, lack impact and are generally easily forgettable.

I read this collection a few weeks ago and apart from remembering that the final novella of the book is related to American Gods, I can’t really remember any of them. I know there were a few poems in here, none of which really stuck a chord for me (I’m not a big poetry fan).

So, how can I review it? If you like Neil Gaiman, or short stories, then you’ll probably enjoy this. I like his comics, I really enjoyed his novels, and some of his children’s stories.

This book was easy to read, and if you like short stories then you’ll relish this book from this master fantasist. But none of the stories really stands out. There is the usual sense of being told a fairy tale, but… I don’t know. The book seems to be lacking something. Definition may be. It’s all too vague, too limp, too directionless. I suppose that’s why most anthologies have a theme nowadays.

A nice stop-gap between novels, but hardly riveting reading and nothing memorable. A bit disappointing from Gaiman.