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Creator / John Wyndham

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John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris (10 July 1903 – 11 March 1969) was an English science fiction writer known for writing The Day of the Triffids, the novel for which Brian Aldiss (perhaps unfairly) coined the term "Cosy Catastrophe".

His other novels include The Kraken Wakes, The Chrysalids, The Midwich Cuckoos (filmed twice as Village of the Damned), Trouble With Lichen, and Chocky (adapted for TV).

He also wrote several collections of short stories.

Works by John Wyndham with their own trope pages include:

Other works by John Wyndham provide examples of:

  • Action Survivor: The Kraken Wakes
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: Spiders, in the posthumously-published Web.
  • Brand X: In The Kraken Wakes, the main character works for the EBC (English Broadcasting Company). It gets extensively lampshaded — a Running Gag is that every character is introduced saying "don't you mean BBC?", and later gets subverted, when the government takes over the media and the narrator explicitly mentions that the EBC and BBC are now one and the same.
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  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: The antagonists in The Kraken Wakes.
  • Gendercide: The novella "Consider Her Ways" features a world in which men have been killed off by a virus, etc, etc.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The short story "Compassion Circuit" concerns a robot nurse designed to always act for the benefit of its patient. The robots concludes that it would be a great benefit for as much as possible of the patient's body to be amputated and replaced with hard-wearing prosthetics, thus preventing further injuries — and when the patient disagrees, it takes matters into its own manipulatory appendages.
  • Guinea Pig Family: In Trouble with Lichen, a scientist who has created an anti-aging drug uses it on his children, telling them it's a vitamin shot.
  • Hidden Supplies: In The Kraken Wakes, the narrator Mike learns that his wife's "hobby" of bricklaying was cover for her bricking up a cellar-full of food supplies in case of disaster. "Did you really think that someone like me would be doing all that bricklaying just for fun?"
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  • Hostile Terraforming: In The Kraken Wakes, humanity sees indirect evidence that the invaders are reshaping portions of the ocean floor. They also melt the polar icecaps, but that is more likely an attempt to disrupt human civilization rather than terraforming.
  • Inscrutable Aliens: In The Kraken Wakes a group of aliens invades the Earth's oceans. They never contact the human race in any way and the two sides engage in a war without either side ever seeing the other face-to-face.
  • Lady Land: The setting of the novella "Consider Her Ways".
  • Mental Time Travel: In the novella "Consider Her Ways", the protagonist travels to the future while experimenting with out-of-body experiences.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: In the short story "Survival", a group of people are marooned for a year on a space station. As their desperation increases, they resort first to drawing lots, then to cannibalizing the losers' frozen bodies. When rescuers finally arrive, the one demented survivor sees them only as food.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: The title character of Chocky.
  • Red Scare
    • Mocked in The Kraken Wakes with the minor character of Tuny; she continues to insist the Russians are behind the book's ever-escalating attacks on humanity from the depths of the sea, when it's soon made clear they couldn't possibly be doing it.
    • This is in fact a fairly common theme in Wyndham's works, unsurprisingly when you consider that he was writing disaster fiction (mainly) at the beginning of the Cold War. It's notable however that, apart from some gentle mockery of the Soviet Union's rhetoric and bluster, they are never actually responsible for any of the disasters that take place (unless they did in fact originally create the Triffids), and in fact in The Midwich Cuckoos they realise much sooner than anybody else a) what is going on and b) what has to be done about it.
  • Same Face, Different Name: John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris published various works as John Wyndham, John Beynon, and Lucas Parkes.

Alternative Title(s): John Beynon


Example of: