I came across a rather odd question, recently. I will admit that I couldn’t quite understand why it was being asked. On reflection, perhaps I was being unfair – making assumptions based on my own ways of thinking. The question was, in essence: how do you write alternate histories/futures? I hope that I can put right any fault my initial reaction might have revealed.
I was browsing, this morning, when I had the delightful experience of discovering that I had received three new reviews, on Goodreads, for the first three of my short stories in the Thief series. And here, I might sound somewhat critical, but I’m simply making an honest observation: Unlike some authors, I don’t ‘cherry pick’ only five star reviews. I can say with hand on heart that I am grateful when anybody takes the time to leave any kind of comment or review against one of my books! Whatever their verdict – from “it sucks” (not in those words, please) to “I love it” – I am happy. You see, I like to know that somebody has taken the trouble to deliver their verdict, good, bad or indifferent. I don’t expect to please everybody. If we all liked the same things, we might only have one book to read! Honesty is a very important trait, as far as I’m concerned.
All that said, here are the review links:
I would like to thank Magda for taking the time to comment. It is very much appreciated.
I am very close to finishing my new mild horror/supernatural/future fiction tale in the G1: The Guardians series! It will be my first novella. I say finishing, but of course, I’m talking about the writing part of it. The reading, editing, fixing and repairing are to come. Before anybody says anything, I don’t have the option of getting any help from an editor or such. Operating with a zero budget prohibits such things, unfortunately. I have to rely on myself to act as impartially, and accurately, as possible. It isn’t ideal, and I really would do things properly if I could afford it. I am not inclined to beg for freebie help in these arduous tasks. I’m also not interested in joining a ‘critique’ group, or similar. My experience with such groups, in the field of art, have not been happy, with too many members having their own agendas and with motives that are sometimes questionable. So I will continue as I must.
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham is one of the great examples of future fiction. Written in the first person, we follow the hero as he wakes to find a world gone mad. An expert worker on a triffid farm, he suffered damage to his face that threatened his sight. In an ironic twist, he is cured, but he discovers that the vast majority of the population has been rendered blind by a peculiar meteor shower.
Society is collapsing rapidly, as the few fortunates who have retained their sight are faced with a choice: try to help the blind or abandon them. Even those who seem to want to help the blind prove to be malign, as the hero spends a period as captive, tethered to a blind man, and forced to help his group of afflicted people scavenge for essential supplies. Following the hero, we meet people who are broken and lost, desperate ones who can’t understand how their world has crumbled, and those who go on a wild adventure of satisfying all their desires. But there is a greater menace still: the triffids. These giant carnivorous plants are capable of movement and demonstrate a frightening intelligence as they break free from their captivity on the farms. They hunt for food, and the most abundant source of that is the human population. In groups or singly, they stalk their prey, or lie in wait, ready to strike.
Escaping his captivity, the hero becomes part of a small group of survivors. Fleeing London, they establish a refuge in the country. But the triffids are spreading quickly and soon the small band are under siege.
Even with the hero’s expertise with triffids, can the group survive?
Mr Wyndham tells his tale with great expertise. I have no great liking for first person narratives, but he succeeds in engaging the reader very quickly. It isn’t long before you find yourself needing to know what will happen next. We are shown how pathetic we can become when Society falls apart, leaving us with a se3nse of isolation. We see the worst and the best in the people the hero encounters. From the generous to the selfish, it’s all there. And throughout it all the eerie triffids march. Monsters capable of pushing humanity into extinction. Terrifying, they are a warning too. As far as the triffids are concerned, the message is surely : just because we can, it doesn’t mean we should.
Five stars seems an inadequate measure of the book. If I could, I would give the book, and Mr Wyndham, six stars.
I can highly recommend this book, even for those who have an aversion to ‘science fiction’.