Literature: The Midwich Cuckoos

The Midwich Cuckoos is a 1957 science fiction novel by John Wyndham.

All the women of childbearing age and capability in the village of Midwich simultaneously become pregnant with alien children who all share the same uncanny appearance and have the ability to mentally manipulate people.

It has been filmed twice under the title Village of the Damned.

This novel provides examples of:

  • Aliens in Cardiff
  • Asshole Victim: The wifebeater father of one of the babies is forced to repeatedly punch himself in the face after striking his infant son hard enough to leave a bruise.
  • Bizarre Baby Boom
  • But I Can't Be Pregnant!: Virgins and a faithful wife whose husband has been away for several months are understandably perplexed. Rather horribly, at least one of the virgins is a "woman" in that she's started menstruating but is really little more than a child herself.
  • Blondes Are Evil: The alien children.
  • Creepy Child: Although, unlike the examples in both film adaptations, they don't stay that way, at least not physically.
  • First-Person Peripheral Narrator: The narrator, Richard Gayford, is a fairly uninspiring and relatively uninvolved observer. If the book can be said to have a protagonist, it would have to be Zellaby.
  • Hive Mind: At the very least, all of the male children and all of the female children are linked together. Zellaby suggests that they might not be individuals at all, but rather one male and one female example of their species with several bodies.
  • It's the Only Way to Be Sure/Nuclear Option: An entire Russian village that has undergone a similar baby boom is nuked by the military. They can't even warn the innocent parties to leave, because if they did, the babies would be tipped off and do something about it...
  • Kids Are Cruel: A suggestion for why the response of the Children to any attack is so grossly disproportionate. Their powers allow them to act out the cruelty associated with this trope against adults and even the military.
  • Kill It with Fire: The villagers attempt to destroy the Grange with torches. It ends with their being forced to fight one another, in a few cases to the death.
  • Super Intelligence
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: When born, the alien babies seem human except for their uncanny gold eyes.
  • Would Hurt a Child: An adult intentionally harms one of the Children early in the book, while it is still a baby. This does not end well for him.