Creator / John Christopher

Christopher Samuel Youd (born Sam Youd, 16 April 1922 3 February 2012) was an English author best known for his science fiction published under the name of John Christopher. His works include The Death of Grass, The Tripods series, the Sword of the Spirits trilogy (The Prince In Waiting, Beyond the Burning Lands, The Sword of the Spirits), Dom and Va, and A Dusk of Demons.

Several of his novels have been filmed. The Tripods was adapted for television, although the series was cancelled before getting to the last book.

His works with their own trope pages include:

His other works provide examples of:

  • And Man Grew Proud: This attitude is rigidly on display in The Sword of the Spirits trilogy, but it is eventually revealed the disaster that shattered the world was a purely natural one and not caused in any way by man's technology or hubris.
  • Anti-Hero: His protagonists are often flawed; Luke in The Sword of the Spirits is a particular example.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: In Beyond the Burning Land, Luke fights and kills the Bayemot (a giant ameoba-like creature) by striking at the nucleus deep inside its body with a sword.
  • Cosy Catastrophe: The Death of Grass (disease wipes out all grasses, including those that are staple foods for humans), The World in Winter (an ice age) and A Wrinkle in the Skin (earthquakes).
  • Evil Luddite: In the Sword of the Spirits trilogy, most of civilization was destroyed by a worldwide ecological disaster. In what's left of England, all post-medieval technology is forbidden and anyone trying to use science is put to death. It turns out that people in Wales don't share this attitude, and by the end of the trilogy, 20th century level technology is rapidly returning to at least that part of the world.
  • Feudal Future: The Sword of the Spirits series is set mostly in England and Wales, centuries after a nuclear-war-like natural disaster. England is a bunch of warring city states ruled by princes, but with a dominant anti-technology religion in which people worship Spirits. Christians are an oppressed minority, and mutants are a lower caste.
  • Ghost City: London in Empty World.
  • Grows on Trees: In The Lotus Caves, the protagonists find a cave filled with plant life that responds to their desires. This includes a tree that reshapes itself to be a diving board over their swimming hole.
  • I Believe That You Believe It: In The Death of Grass, Roger tells Pirrie about a defensible farm in a valley.
    "And now?" John pressed him. "Do you believe us?"
    Pirrie sighed. "I believe that you believe it."
  • It's the Only Way to Be Sure: In The Death of Grass the British government decides to nuke cities to minimize the number of starving refugees that would otherwise roam across the countryside.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: In Fireball two cousins are transported to ancient Rome (later revealed to be an alternate timeline) by what they assume to be some form of ball lightning.
  • Lost Technology: In The Sword of the Spirits, it turns out that the heads of "the Spirits" religion have preserved what they could of pre-disaster technology.
  • Market-Based Title: Several of his novels were given different titles in the United States. No Blade of Grass, the US title of The Death of Grass, went on to be used as the title of the film adaptation.
  • Mayor of a Ghost Town: The protagonist of the post-pandemic London of Empty World.
  • Nasty Party: In The Prince in Waiting, the protagonist's father (ruler of the city where the action is set) is invited to a gathering and murdered.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: The Year of the Comet.
  • Possessive Paradise: The Lotus Caves, which shares a number of thematic similarities with the The Tripods books.
  • Saharan Shipwreck: In A Wrinkle in the Skin, massive earthquakes redistribute the balance of ocean and land, and the protagonist comes across a large tanker sitting in the desert which used to be the English Channel.