Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Simon Clark: The Night of the Triffids

Simon Clark
The Night of the Triffids
469 pages
published in 2001





It's been twenty-five years since Bill Masen with his family and others escaped the triffids by fleeing to the Isle of Wight, just off the  coast of England.  It was a wise move, for the triffids could not cross over to mount any sort of large scale attack.  Bill's son, David,  has grown up and is now a pilot of the few aircraft available to them.

This novel begins much like Wyndham's novel, with a celestial catastrophe.  Only instead of bright lights in the night which blinds all who see them,  David and the others now face a day of complete darkness. It is darker now this morning that it would ever be at night, for there is no sun, no moon, and no stars.  Only the Blind can function normally; the Sighted need lights.  In addition, some triffids have made it to the island, a rare occurrence, but still possible.  Is it a coincidence or is there a link there?

David is ordered to make a reconnaissance flight to determine if this darkness is caused by some sort of strange cloud.   At one point during the flight, he loses radio contact and becomes lost.  Forced to land, he finds himself threatened by triffids.  But he is rescued by a ship from New York City.  Initially they had promised to take him back to his island, but upon receiving a radio message, they head for their base, Manhattan Island to be exact.

He is not a prisoner and is treated well.  Of course he is trapped on Manhattan for the triffids are everywhere. But, then so is everybody else.   He is amazed at how well the people of NY live;  it's almost as though the triffid invasion and the Blinding never happened.  But there is a dark side to the life these people lead.

Shortly after David arrives, he is kidnapped by the Foresters, those who live outside NYC in small communities.   They lead a precarious existence for they are always under attack by the triffids.  At first David does not understand why they live out in the wilderness and not in NYC.   Shortly after he arrives, he learns that the triffids are not the only threat and that the communities are  threatened not only by the triffids but also by the military might of NYC.  It is from them that David learns of  the suffering and misery that underlies the apparent prosperity of NYC and the threat they present to those who oppose them. 

One point that wasn't resolved in the first novel was that of the intelligence of the triffids.  And, were they conscious?   David becomes increasingly convinced that the triffids are capable of planning and working together in their attacks on humans, especially on human settlements.   Another question  still remains unanswered: what, if any, is the relationship between the triffids and the blinding lights?

The Night of the Triffids has a different feel to it.  While it was interesting, I thought The Day of the Triffids was a better book.  But, then again, it's been years since I read it, so I might see it differently now. 



 

14 comments:

  1. Hmmmm. I marvel often about the imagination of authors who concoct such alternate realities. Thanks for your posting/review. If I had seen this book on the shelves, I probably would not have realized it is a sequel. I would see the word "triffids" and thought immediately and only of the movie. Now I know the difference. As to whether I would read either the original or the sequel is an open question. Much depends upon my erratic impulses. For example, just because of your posting/review, I'm going next to my library's website. Perhaps you've sufficiently baited the hook. Well, perhaps.

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    1. R.T.,

      If you decide to read it, I would recommend The Day of the Triffids first. It is a good intro. And, one important character in The Night of the Triffids first appears in The Day of the Triffids.

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  2. Wow. Your review sucked me right into this book. I don't know whether to thank you or resent it. As if I don't have enough books to read on my ever growing pile. And there's more than one book?

    Sigh...off to Amazon to find out who these Triffids are..

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    1. Sharon,

      I would recommend reading The Day of the Triffids first. See my reply to R.T.

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  3. I enjoyed 'Day of the Triffids' very much and even liked the movie adaptation. So, as a huge fan of Wyndham I'm always cautious of someone else - almost by definition less talented or (at the very least different) adding to some one of that caliber. It's a bit like someone 'completing' a series of paintings by Picasso. So obviously in two minds about this one.... [grin]

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    1. CyberKitten,

      I understand. I too had enjoyed the novel and thought the film was a decent adaptation of the novel, so I thought about for some time about readng it.

      This book has a different tone to it, partially no doubt because it's a different writer and it's written some 50 years after the first one.

      Another reason for the difference in tone is the difference in the situation. There was a lot more uncertainty and fear in the Day of the T because the crisis had just occurred. Now some 25 years later, the triffids are still a menace but they've now survived for a quarter century, so the initial fear/panic has dissipated to a considerable extent.

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  4. I have not read either Triffid book. I love the 1962 film however. I have heard that the book was very good. Your commentary has made me want to read the original at least.

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    1. Brian,

      Yes, I would recommend reading The Day of the Triffids first.

      The book is better than the film, which wasn't bad at all. It was closer to the book than some adaptations of other novels that I've seen. If you liked the film, I think you would like the book.

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  5. i like Wyndham, the Wanderer's of Time series was better than Triffid, i thought.... Midwhich Cuckoos was pretty scary- i don't think i finished it... i read several others, i think; Chocky rings a bell... all in all , he wrote some good old stuff... tx for the memories...

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    1. Mudpuddle,

      Is Wanderers of Time a collection of short stories? I've read three or four of his novels, but I don't think I've read any of his short stories.

      My favorite Wyndham novel is _Out of the Deep_, aka _The Kraken Wakes_.

      I found that there are two large collections of his short works: _The Best of John Wyndham (1932-1949)_ and _The Best of John Wyndham (1951-1960_).

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    2. yes, Wanderers is a series(five, i think) of related short stories...

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    3. Mudpuddle,

      The brief commentary said that there were five, but it didn't mention that they were related. But that's no problem.

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  6. book sounds very inviting and adventurous through your nice review!

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  7. baili,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Have you read the first one--The Day of the Triffids?

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