Friday, August 11, 2006



Triffid (2002)

From this could all be written by trees Wikipedia:

The Day of the Triffids is a post-apocalyptic novel written in 1951 by the English science fiction author John Wyndham. The novel is written in the first-person, and describes in elegant detail what happens after civilisation collapses. It was later made into a radio series, a motion picture, and a television serial.

Triffids are very strange fictional plants, capable of rudimentary animal-like behaviour: they are able to uproot themselves and walk, possess a deadly whip-like poisonous sting, and may even have the ability to communicate with each other. Wyndham capably describes the triffid by breaking its appearance down into several more familiar elements: in fact he later suggests that the plant might be concocted of various different plants.


The story proper opens with the narrator Bill Masen in the hospital, with his eyes bandaged after having been stung by a triffid. He discovers that while he has been blindfolded, an unusual meteor shower has blinded most people on Earth (the sharp-eyed will notice close parallels in more recent apocalyptic sci-fi [like 28 Days Later --Yr. Blogger]). Bill later muses that the shower may have been some sort of space-based weapons system which misfired, though the true cause is never revealed (this intriguing technique of withholding ostensibly-critical background to the plot is a key Wyndham characteristic also present in that author's The Midwich Cuckoos and The Kraken Wakes). The protagonist finds people in London struggling to stay alive in the face of their sudden blindness, some cooperating, some fighting. After just a few days society is collapsing.

Meanwhile, in a "double-whammy" situation characteristic of the Wyndham style, triffids are quickly regrowing their stings and eager to take full Darwinian advantage of the new "edge" over humankind that chance events have given them. Undocked specimens in captivity break free. The handful of sighted survivors escape the general collapse, to be faced by the growing numbers of free, undocked triffids, which grow bolder and more aggressive every day. They are also forced into some far-from-cosy realisations about just how many of his/her blinded fellow men and women each remaining sighted person can possibly help, without being exploited into an early grave.

I'm no sap, baby.  Feel this foilage...

Sticks and stones may break my bones...

[Photographic still from The Day of the Triffids (1962)]

I still remember reading this book as a kid and being disturbed by Wyndham's story. Maybe it was because of how quickly the triffids were able to capitalize on the survival of the fittest angle. Some of the movie scenes stuck with me, too -- especially shots of what seemed to be hundreds of triffids -- swaying as they lined electric fences -- turning on their stalks to "face" the slightest sound.

Wikipedia also notes this fun fact:

In Mormon missionary culture, as well as among many foreign exchange students, a "triffid" is a young Japanese schoolgirl, so named because of their giggle which sounds eerily like the sounds the plants made in the movie, and because groups of them seem to appear at random intervals.

Darth, you are not our father.  These cell phone pics of tomato plants are...

See, Lord Vader. We are neither animal or mineral...

[Photograph seen on]


The Heretik said...

Monochromatic is good.

cruelanimal said...

Hi, Joe.

Sometimes, yes, especially when the mood calls for it.

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