John Wyndham and Dystopian Fiction

John Wyndham and Dystopian Fiction

I have said this many times before but I really love dystopian fiction. From ‘The War of the Worlds’ to the ‘Time Machine’, I’ve always enjoyed reading about a twisted dark future for humanity. Although I’m an optimist I’m intrigued to read other people’s ideas about it.  Without a doubt, my favourite dystopian author is John Wyndham. His most famous work would be the Day of the Triffids and he wrote during the 1930s. He is a highly talented writer known for the originality of his ideas and his eloquence. So here are my recommendations for reading any of John Wyndham’s works.

Exiles on Asperus

This is a novella with 3 interesting stories. My favourite one was ‘Exiles on Asperus’ itself. The story centres around an exploratory mission to a far off planet inhabited by a species called the battracks. Just see how they have turned man’s adaptability against him. This story sent shivers down my spine. The venus adventure was interesting. I have to say evmus sounded pretty bleak but the theme of how the grass is greener on the other side made for a thought-provoking read. I’d really recommend it. In the final segment called ‘No Place like Earth’, I highly enjoyed it too.  The story revolved around a colonial mission to venus where the crew were surprised by the local inhabitants. What I liked the most about this story was the way the two different groups of humans had followed completely different paths and the contrast between the very different directions they’d chosen.

The Secret People

This was an absolutely fantastic novel. The premise is that in the future the Sahara has been sunk to create a lake for rich Europeans. The main protagonist’s plane crashes and he and his girlfriend find themselves trapped in a cave network, are taken prisoner by an indigenous race of pygmies and have to escape before they are all eventually drowned. The setting of this novel was very interesting The gloomy laberyhtine descriptions of the subterranean caves were enchanting and terrifying. The setting felt very alien and disturbing. I loved the ancient race of pygmies the couple encountered probably because of my interest in anthropology. The added sense of danger made the plot a truly riveting one.

The Chrysalids

This was equally a grabbing read. Set in a future where genetic mutation is rife, people who have inherited mutations must hide them. David lives in a strictly religious community that values purity. His visions tell him there is another place that accepts mutants out there so he embarks on a journey to reach this mystery land where he feels he belongs. His journey through a devastated post-apocalyptic world is filled with thrilling twists and turns and I’d highly recommend it. David’s connection and pull to somewhere else really struck a chord with me. The opening paragraph of the description of a different strange place was a really powerful one.

If deadlines are getting you down or you just fancy getting lost in a really good book or novella then check out the above titles or really any of John Wyndham’s works. They won’t disappoint.