The Day of the Triffids Background

The Day of the Triffids Background

The Day of the Triffids became the first novel that author John Wyndham published under his own name and started readers immediately upon its appearance in 1951 with its memorable opening sequence. A man wakes up in a hospital amidst a strange sense of disquiet partially because no one has yet arrived to change the bandage around his head. He was in the hospital for procedure he hoped would restore his sight. He gradually comes to realize that when he arrived he was a blind man in a building filled people who could see. Now, due to bizarre and wondrous green meteor shower, he is a man with who can see in a building filled with blind people.

The day that the protagonist is endowed with vision is also the day of the titular triffids: very tall, weirdly mobile and highly toxic plants. It just so happens that these two opposing figures that come into conflict are perfectly suited for the match: the once blind man who now can see is a biologist already equipped with the requisite training to make him the ideal hero to save mankind.

The Day of the Triffids immediately hooked the imagination of readers and whirled its author into the cream of science fiction authors. He would publish two more bona fide classics in the genre: The Chrysalids and The Midwich Cuckoos. In the meantime, his triffids almost took on a life of their own in the real world much like within his fictional construct. “Triffids” quickly entered the British lexicon for any plant deemed overly large or possession a threatening appearance. The novel was adapted into a disappointing film in 1962 as well as two different television miniseries in 1981 and 2009. The chilling opening sequence in the hospital directly inspired the equally chilling opening sequence of the film 28 Days Later.

In 2001, a sequel to Wyndham’s novel penned by Simon Clark was released with the title The Night of the Triffids.

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