Follow TV Tropes

Following

History Literature / TheDayOfTheTriffids

Go To


Added DiffLines:

* IntroducedSpeciesCalamity: This is effectively what happens once triffid seeds become scattered around the world. Even then humans are able to control them, until they go blind and are no longer the apex predator on the planet, enabling the triffids to rapidly increase their numbers.


* BothSidesHaveAPoint: Bill Masen is initially somewhat shocked at the pragmatic abandonment of most of the blind population in London by Beadley and the Institute group, and sympathizes with Coker's more idealistic attempt to help them. Ultimately, he comes around to the Beadley position when RealityEnsues, as does Coker himself.

to:

* BothSidesHaveAPoint: Bill Masen is initially somewhat shocked at the [[ColdEquation pragmatic abandonment of most of the blind population population]] in London by Beadley and the Institute group, and sympathizes with Coker's more idealistic attempt to help them. Ultimately, he comes around to the Beadley position when RealityEnsues, as does Coker himself.



* ChekhovsGunman: The EvilRedhead who shoots at Bill's blind group later appears as a member of a new despotic government.

to:

* ChekhovsGunman: ChekhovsGunman:
**
The EvilRedhead who shoots at Bill's blind group later appears as a member of a new despotic government.

Added DiffLines:

* DeadlyLunge: Triffids have a slow means of locomotion, but once they are close they can strike a surprising distance by whipping their trunks forwards while simultaneously lashing out with their stinger.

Added DiffLines:

** Also cited by those convinced that [[AmericaSavesTheDay aid will come from the United States]], failing to realise the disaster is worldwide.

Added DiffLines:

* DeathWorld: What Bill fears and imagines the Earth may become through the proliferation of the triffids as he contemplates the future close to the end of the book. He wonders if humanity will be crushed into tiny gated enclaves permanently patrolled to stop the Triffids breaking in. It's not clear by the end of the novel whether or not that is going to be the case.


* HopeSpot: Bill references seeing a group who did find a sighted person they were agonizing over: a baby barley ld enough to talk who couldn't give them anything useful.

to:

* HopeSpot: Bill references seeing a group who did find a sighted person they were agonizing over: a baby barley ld barely old enough to talk who couldn't give them anything useful.



* ProperlyParanoid: At first Bill considers Stephen's efforts to gather guns and establish defenses for his groups base as unecesarry, but in the face of greater and stronger Triffid swarms, and the eventual emerge of Torrence's faction, begins to see this differently.

to:

* ProperlyParanoid: At first Bill considers Stephen's efforts to gather guns and establish defenses for his groups group's base as unecesarry, unnecessary, but in the face of greater and stronger Triffid swarms, and the eventual emerge emergence of Torrence's faction, begins to see this differently. differently.


* FateWorseThanDeath: Obviously, everyone who's been blinded. Even though Josella's heartbroken at her father being killed by a Triffid, she believes he would have preffered it to being blind - "He loved all this too much."

to:

* FateWorseThanDeath: Obviously, everyone who's been blinded. Even though Josella's heartbroken at her father being killed by a Triffid, she believes he would have preffered preferred it to being blind - "He loved all this too much."



* NeverLiveItDown: [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] by Josella and her "scandalous" novel ''Sex Is My Adventure''.


Added DiffLines:

* OnceDoneNeverForgotten: Josella and her "scandalous" novel ''Sex Is My Adventure''. Even the downfall of society doesn't save her from meeting people who go "oh, you're ''that'' Josella Playton".

Added DiffLines:

* ProperlyParanoid: At first Bill considers Stephen's efforts to gather guns and establish defenses for his groups base as unecesarry, but in the face of greater and stronger Triffid swarms, and the eventual emerge of Torrence's faction, begins to see this differently.

Added DiffLines:

** Ivan, a member of Beadley's group who found a helicopter is mentioned a grand total of one time before reappearing in the second or third to last chapter, encountering the main characters while in a scouting mission, updating them about the attempts to reform society [[spoiler: and giving them a place to run to when things fall apart]].


Added DiffLines:

* HopeSpot: Bill references seeing a group who did find a sighted person they were agonizing over: a baby barley ld enough to talk who couldn't give them anything useful.


Added DiffLines:

* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Arguably Miss Durrant. While TheFundamentalist, overly prideful, and heavily obstructionist to the main cast (even giving them wrong directions out of spite) she did remain behind to try to nurse the people sick with the plague when she had a chance to flee, which ended up killing her.


Added DiffLines:

* NoNameGiven: Stephen's two companions, his girlfriend and the radioman.


Added DiffLines:

* TheRemnant: It's unclear as to whether the group Torrance is part of is a completely self-appointed version or did start out from some genuine structure, but they play this straight. The epilogue of the novel mentions that they themselves have left remnants, living in squalor and surrounded by Triffids.



* AbandonedHospitalAwakening: The story opens with Masen waking up in hospital following eye surgery, his eyes still bandaged, and discovering that everybody else has gone.



* BewareTheLiving: The triffids are a hazard, but the most dangerous threats faced by the protagonists are humans choosing to take advantage of the associated societal collapse.



* ButIReadABookAboutIt: A character known only as "the radio man" learns to fly a helicopter by reading books and practicing for half an hour. Coker and Masen are dubious when he initially proclaims confidently that he doesn't expect it to be hard to figure out, but "He seemed to have complete confidence that his instinct for mechanism would not let him down", and it doesn't.
* CelebritySurvivor: Josella Playton was briefly notorious for writing a sensational novel called ''Sex Is My Adventure'', which was widely deplored by people who mostly hadn't read it. When they meet, Masen finds her name familiar but can't remember why until she tells him.



* ComplainingAboutShowsYouDontWatch: Josella Playton was notorious for writing a novel called ''Sex Is My Adventure''. When she sees Bill Masen's reaction to realizing she's ''that'' Josella Playton, she sighs and asks him if he's actually read it. He admits he hasn't, and she says the same is true of most of the people who deplored it.



* DisabilityImmunity: Being temporarily blind for the duration of the meteor shower saves Masen from the permanent blindness inflicted on everyone who watched it.
* EverybodySmokes: Masen dedicates a paragraph or two of narration to lighting up every two to three pages until about two-thirds of the way through the book, when the general lack of supplies means he probably ran out.
* EveryoneKnowsMorse: On seeing a lit building in the otherwise uninhabited countryside, Masen sends a 'V' in morse using a portable searchlight. The inhabitants know morse well as per this trope, and respond with a detailed message... which he has no idea how to translate, because the only morse singals he knows are 'V' and 'SOS'. So he flashes back a few more 'V's for good measure and starts driving towards them.



* FictionalDocument: Josella Playton's novel.
* FireBreathingWeapon: Flamethrowers turn out to be the most effective weapon against the triffids, though since the crash of civilization it's increasingly difficult to find fuel.
* GhostCity: The eerily empty London that Masen explores in the early part of the story.



* IShouldWriteABookAboutThis: The novel ends by saying that it's an account written in-universe by Bill Masen for posterity. He also briefly mentions another character who did much the same thing, and a third who said he intended to, but didn't survive to get the chance.



* KillItWithFire / FireBreathingWeapon: Flamethrowers prove to be the most effective anti-Triffid weapon, although a lack of fuel is a major problem.

to:

* KillItWithFire / FireBreathingWeapon: KillItWithFire: Flamethrowers prove to be the most effective anti-Triffid weapon, although a lack of fuel is a major problem.



* LifesavingMisfortune: For Bill Masen, the accident that landed him in hospital with his eyes bandaged. Other survivors also have stories about how they were saved.
* LookOnMyWorksYeMightyAndDespair: Coker quotes "Ozymandias" as he contemplates the fall of civilization.



* {{Newsreel}}: Masen recalls having first heard of the triffids from a newsreel, which is depicted rather unflatteringly.



* {{Planimal}}: The triffids are plants, but with animal attributes such as the ability to walk about on their lower branches, and some degree of cognition.



* RuinsOfTheModernAge: The novel describes London being reclaimed by vegetation and buildings collapsing.
* SafeZoneHopeSpot: Several times, the protagonists find groups of people who seem to be getting things together, only to have to move on because they're impractical or malicious.



* SoundOnlyDeath: While hiding in an apartment building, Masen hears a young couple commit suicide by jumping out a window.



* TrickedToDeath: Masen overhears someone leading their blinded partner to what they're told is an exit. It is -- the window of an upper story apartment.
* TripodTerror: The triffids have three leg-branches. The narrator goes into a bit of detail about how they move, comparing them to a man on crutches and specifically noting that it's not an especially fast or stable method of locomotion. Being plants, of course, they don't really need to move very often or over a great distance.
* UndisclosedFunds: During an extended flashback, a somewhat shady individual is proposing to acquire the seeds of a Soviet-developed cash crop for a British corporation. The CEO of the corporation, idly doodling on a blotter-pad as he discusses the matter over the phone, asks for a specific price. Said shady individual, "named a figure that stopped his doodling abruptly."
* WeJustNeedToWaitForRescue: The primary source of conflict in the first third of the story. There are two notable groups of survivors of the blindness; one is trying desperately to keep those blinded alive until some official relief effort arrives, while another has deduced that there's not going to be one and that they need to get the hell out of London while they still can. [[spoiler:A deadly plague renders the question academic after a few weeks, but the second group were quite right]].
* WeakToFire: Bullets and piercing weapons don't have much effect on triffids, since they don't have vital organs or apparently pain receptors, but fire will get them -- if you can find the fuel.



* ZombieApocalypse: Triffids aren't undead humanoids, but in terms of behavior and threat level they share more than a passing resemblance.

to:

* ZombieApocalypse: Triffids aren't undead humanoids, but in terms of behavior and threat level they share more than a passing resemblance. The sighted and unsighted alike struggle to scavenge a living while being hunted by this new predator. Eventually the sighted protagonists retreat to the countryside and barricade themselves in a farm house, fending off repeated Triffid attacks. The book is heavy with social commentary and contains memorably hellish imagery of shambling, groping masses of humanity. The Triffids themselves have a rickety, limping gait and are slow moving, awkward creatures of little threat individually (unless they catch you unawares). In large numbers, however, they are a serious menace; able to force their way in anywhere and seemingly capable of rudimentary communication and organization.


The novel has been adapted for film three times, first by a very loosely-adapted [[Film/TheDayOfTheTriffids 1962 feature film]]; then by a [[Series/TheDayOfTheTriffids1981 1981 BBC miniseries]] which, while low-budget, is quite faithful to the original work; and [[Series/TheDayOfTheTriffids once more by the BBC in 2009]], again with the plot deviating a great deal from the original.

to:

The novel has been adapted for film three times, first by a very loosely-adapted [[Film/TheDayOfTheTriffids 1962 feature film]]; then by a [[Series/TheDayOfTheTriffids1981 1981 BBC miniseries]] which, while low-budget, is quite faithful to the original work; and [[Series/TheDayOfTheTriffids [[Series/TheDayOfTheTriffids2009 once more by the BBC in 2009]], again with the plot deviating a great deal from the original.


The novel has been adapted for film three times, first by a very loosely-adapted [[Film/TheDayOfTheTriffids 1962 feature film]]; then by a 1981 BBC miniseries which, while low-budget, is quite faithful to the original work; and [[Series/TheDayOfTheTriffids once more by the BBC in 2009]], again with the plot deviating a great deal from the original.

to:

The novel has been adapted for film three times, first by a very loosely-adapted [[Film/TheDayOfTheTriffids 1962 feature film]]; then by a [[Series/TheDayOfTheTriffids1981 1981 BBC miniseries miniseries]] which, while low-budget, is quite faithful to the original work; and [[Series/TheDayOfTheTriffids once more by the BBC in 2009]], again with the plot deviating a great deal from the original.




!!Examples specific to the 1981 Television Series:
* AdaptationDistillation: The slightly patronising depiction of Coker is done away with, as is the whole ''Sex Is My Adventure'' sub-plot with Josella.
* AdaptationInducedPlotHole: Those orbiting {{KillSat}}s that are mentioned so prominently in the original book [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_Space_Treaty never really came to pass]], yet in the last episode Bill attributes the blindness plague and whatever mysterious sickness wiped out the survivors in London to some of them going off accidentally. Although it's downplayed significantly by the fact he's only speculating.
* ApocalypticLogistics: Lampshaded by Coker.
* BritishBrevity
* CompressedAdaptation: Characters and sub-plots are ruthlessly pruned to fit the whole story into six hours. Arguably an improvement, as the novel had a tendency to meander a bit.
* LargeHam: John Duttine as Bill Masen, in noticeable contrast to every other version.
* TheMagnificent: Torrence turns up as Chief Executive Officer of the Emergency Council for the South-East Region of Britain. Masen, who clearly remembers him as the hoodlum who opened fire on a group of blind and unarmed people, is not impressed.
* MrExposition: Masen is killing time in the hospital dictating about triffids into a tape recorder for a friend who is writing a book on them.
* NoFEMAResponse: A plot point. The first third of the series is driven by the conflict between one faction of sighted survivors who are desperately trying to hold things together until an official relief effort of some sort arrives, and another group who have concluded that there isn't going to ''be'' one and they should salvage what they can and get out while the going is good. [[spoiler:The second group turns out to be right, and the desperate attempts to keep hundreds of blinded and near-helpless people alive were [[ShootTheShaggyDog all for nothing]].]]
* SettingUpdate: It's not clear when the original novel is supposed to take place, but it was clearly NextSundayAD from the perspective of TheFifties. The producers took the decision to set it very definitely in TheEighties instead, which was probably for the best.
* SovietSuperscience: The controversial Soviet biologist Lysenko is suggested to be the inventor of the triffids. While an appropriate MadScientist, in reality Lysenko was a crank whose "[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism theory]]" rejected natural selection and even ''genetics'' in favour of a mixture of [[LamarckWasRight Lamarckism]] and ideologically-motivated BlatantLies, and would have been rightly consigned to the dustbin of crackpottery in the Twenties if Stalin hadn't been taken in by it.
* TimePassesMontage: The last episode has a series of still shots of an overgrown London six years on.
* TrailersAlwaysLie: The anti-triffid guns showed up in a lot of publicity stills, but only ended up being fired once on-screen. This was probably because the firing effect had to be done with CGI, which looked ''extremely'' unconvincing.


The novel has been adapted for film three times, first by a very loosely-adapted 1962 feature film; then by a 1981 BBC miniseries which, while low-budget, is quite faithful to the original work; and [[Series/TheDayOfTheTriffids once more by the BBC in 2009]], again with the plot deviating a great deal from the original.

to:

The novel has been adapted for film three times, first by a very loosely-adapted [[Film/TheDayOfTheTriffids 1962 feature film; film]]; then by a 1981 BBC miniseries which, while low-budget, is quite faithful to the original work; and [[Series/TheDayOfTheTriffids once more by the BBC in 2009]], again with the plot deviating a great deal from the original.



!!Examples specific to the 1962 film version:
* AdaptationalAlternateEnding: The movie ends with Goodwin discovering a weakness by which the Triffids can be easily defeated. It essentially gives the plot a "God will provide" ending similar to George Pal's ''Film/TheWarOfTheWorlds''.
* AdaptationExpansion: Brutally shows the horror of those first few days in two scenes; one shows an ocean liner, helplessly adrift, and the second an aeroplane pilot begging for someone to talk him down, as the entire crew is blind. The plane crashes near Mason's ship, but we never find out what happened to the liner. It also adds a subplot of American marine biologist Tom Goodwin and his wife Karen (played by Janette Scott), who are trapped in a lighthouse because the relief ship didn't came as a result of the blindness and are eventually besieged by Triffids.
* AmericaSavesTheDay: The American biologist Goodwin eventually fights off the triffids with the lighthouse's firehose out of sheer LastStand desperation and thus discovers their the WeaksauceWeakness--''sea water''.
* ChekhovsGun: The "SEA WATER -- EXTREMELY CORROSIVE -- FOR FIRES ONLY" water hose that is used by Goodwin to kill the Triffids in the final act is shown very deliberately in an early scene.
* DeathOfAChild: Kept mostly to off-screen insinuation, but the scene with the airliner that crashes because of the pilot being blind and the passengers rioting when they figure it out prominently has a kid amongst said passengers (the air hostess tries to reassure the kid but the passenger right next to him instantly catches up that it means the pilot is blind, starting the riot, and the kid is tossed aside as they all scramble to the front of the plane).
* EvilDetectingDog: One of these starts barking at a triffid, only to be killed by it offscreen.
* KillItWithWater: Bizarrely used as the monster-killer.
%%
%% Note: The conversation about whether it makes a difference that it's salt water
%% has already been added and deleted at least once. If you want to recapitulate it,
%% please use the discussion page next time.
%%
* MoralDissonance: Mason returns to the chateau to find sighted convicts holding the blind women at gunpoint and sexually assaulting them. He gets Christine Durrant and Susan into the truck and drives away, making no attempt to save the helpless women. Even Durrant - who earlier had vowed not to abandon the others - never mentions the chateau incident again.
* PlantAliens: The original novel didn't establish where they came from (casually speculating on aliens and SovietSuperScience); the movie version explicitly made them into aliens.
* PromotedToLoveInterest: After Josella was removed from the 1962 movie version for God knows what reason, they decided to replace her role in the story with ''Durrant'' of all people!
* ScreamingWoman: Janette Scott as Karen Goodwin. And despite that famous line from "Science Fiction / Double Feature" in ''Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow'', she doesn't actually do any fighting.
* TouchOfTheMonster: The advertising poster.
* WeaksauceWeakness: The movie ends with the discovery that the triffids can be destroyed with water. Or maybe seawater; the narrative isn't very clear on this point, possibly because the whole subplot was allegedly added on rather late in production as quite literal {{filler}} because they needed additional run-time for a theatrical release. [[MST3KMantra Try not to think about it too hard.]]


In 2001, the author Simon Clark wrote a sequel to the book entitled ''Night of the Triffids'', which attempted to be a pastiche of Wyndham's style, and details the adventures of Bill and Josella's son.

to:

In 2001, the author Simon Clark wrote a sequel to the book entitled ''Night of the Triffids'', ''Literature/TheNightOfTheTriffids'', which attempted to be a pastiche of Wyndham's style, and details the adventures of Bill and Josella's son.



!!Examples specific to Simon Clark's sequel:
* AcquiredPoisonImmunity: [[spoiler:The revelation of how humanity can take Earth back from the triffids. Small doses of triffid venom, combined with eating triffids, can help immunize people from the venom.]]
* AmericaSavesTheDay: Subverted. [[spoiler:Partially DoubleSubverted when the Native Americans that live near a LaResistance base help David to discover the solution to how to take the planet back from the triffids.]]
* BabyFactory: A non-enforced version appears in the Isle of Wight, where blind and sighted women live in great houses together, having children with any man ''they'' choose, and taking care of the children communally. [[spoiler:The New York community has women basically treated as slaves, forced to have many multiple pregnancies.]]
* BigApplesauce: Seems to be an utopian community, protected from triffids thanks to blocked bridges. [[spoiler:The utopia part is a lie: there is a segregation system between white sighted people and the rest and slavery runs rampant in northern Manhattan (where factories manned by blind people, those who made the mistake of complaining about the system and those who are too weak run 24/7) and some other places (where the workers are forced to work non-stop to cut trees for ethanol or to mine coal) and many women are forced to become a BabyFactory. Being the child of New York's leader won't save you, and in fact he will send you to that destiny because of his relation to you.]]
* CallBack: The beginning is a call back to the beginning of the original novel: both characters wake up unable to see anything, and think that when the situation is similar to what is going on then, something very bad is happening.
* ChekhovsGunman: General Fielding, the leader of the New York community in the sequel, is mentioned about still having some red hair amongst the white hair, and a blind eye from being hit there by a triffid. [[spoiler:He is actually Torrence, the BigBad of the first book, who managed to survive the triffids' attack at the end of the first book.]]
* {{Foreshadowing}}: [[spoiler:David finding Christine alive in the floating triffid island despite the fact that she has probably been living with triffids for most of her life. It is the signal that people can become immune to the venom.]]
* KillItWithFire: There is a special anti-triffid squad armed with flamethrowers, always ready to go at the first signal of one or more triffids making their way to the Isle of Wight, or when there is an expedition to Britain.
* {{Irony}}
** Bill Masen comments with David about the irony of triffids being both their greatest enemy and their greatest source of fuel.
** Since all the fuel the Isle of Wight uses comes from triffids, it means that the anti-triffid squads' flamethrowers must be fed with triffid oil. [[DontExplainTheJoke So, they are killing triffids with the remains of their fellow triffids.]]
** [[spoiler:Torrence, who hates blind people and the Masen for their role in leaving him half-blind, is finally toppled thanks to a march by blind people whose children are soldiers, and ends up being blinded by David Masen.]]
* LaResistance: A group with bases somewhere in the East Coast and in the Great Lakes is opposed to the semi-fascistic New York regime.
* MedievalStasis: Bill Masen tells David that the Isle of Wight community has hardly changed in the thirty years since it was established, and that, apart from a few things, the only thing they are able to do is to restore old things. He predicts their community will die if something is not done soon.
* NothingIsScarier: At the start of the novel, it is completely dark, and David only has a lamp without mirrors to see the path. He can't see the triffids that he knows are coming, which adds to his nerves.
* SequelHook: [[spoiler:at the end of the novel, a transmission is detected from somewhere else in the world, and an expedition is announced to find those people.]]
* TheNightThatNeverEnds: The novel begins at 9 AM in summer, and when the main character awakens it is as dark as midnight in winter. [[spoiler:A combination of very dense clouds and an asteroid cloud passing between the Sun and Earth is the cause. Later in the story, when the clouds leave, there is light, but the sun looks like it is dying.]]
* UniversalPoison: The triffid venom is shown '''not''' to be this. A lecture in the first chapter tells that it is not an instant killer, but the antidote has to be injected into the carotid artery very soon.
* UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans: [[spoiler:General Fielding (also known as Torrence) thinks this.]]
* WildChild: Christine manages to survive surrounded by triffids for more than ten years, after her father died of cancer when she was four.


* CosyCatastrophe: Perhaps the most famous example. Which is not to say it doesn't have its [[NightmareFuel not-at-all cozy moments...]]

to:

* CosyCatastrophe: Perhaps the most famous example. Which is not to say it doesn't have its [[NightmareFuel not-at-all cozy moments...]]CosyCatastrophe



* NothingIsScarier: The first chapter is a chillingly effective example. Lying in bed with his eyes bandaged, knowing that ''something'' bad is happening but with no idea what it is and trying to keep his imagination from running away from him is so harrowing for the protagonist that TheReveal almost comes as a relief.
* RealityEnsues: One of the greatest and earliest examples of this trope in apocalyptic literature. The author takes the general "survive the Zombie Apocalypse" horror story (using plants instead of zombies or nuclear war), and extends it forward for several years. Quite simply...scavenging for canned food in the ruins of major cities is ''not'' a viable survival strategy on an extended time scale. Crowds of blind people scavenge in the early days, but there's a finite supply of canned food and they run out eventually. Nor do the more lucky survivors simply flee to a pastoral existence raising their own crops in the countryside. The author repeatedly underlines the point that even those who survived long enough to plow their own fields, need to learn how to forge their own iron to make their own plows. If they're just scavenging old plows, they're not much better than the blind people scrabbling for cans in ruined shops. The entire set of interconnected relationships that are required for civilization are needed for long-term survival.

to:

* NothingIsScarier: The first chapter is a chillingly effective example.chapter. Lying in bed with his eyes bandaged, knowing that ''something'' bad is happening but with no idea what it is and trying to keep his imagination from running away from him is so harrowing for the protagonist that TheReveal almost comes as a relief.
* RealityEnsues: One of the greatest and earliest examples of this trope in apocalyptic literature. The author takes the general "survive the Zombie Apocalypse" horror story (using plants instead of zombies or nuclear war), and extends it forward for several years. Quite simply...scavenging for canned food in the ruins of major cities is ''not'' a viable survival strategy on an extended time scale. Crowds of blind people scavenge in the early days, but there's a finite supply of canned food and they run out eventually. Nor do the more lucky survivors simply flee to a pastoral existence raising their own crops in the countryside. The author repeatedly underlines the point that even those who survived long enough to plow their own fields, need to learn how to forge their own iron to make their own plows. If they're just scavenging old plows, they're not much better than the blind people scrabbling for cans in ruined shops. The entire set of interconnected relationships that are required for civilization are needed for long-term survival.

Showing 15 edit(s) of 86

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report