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My short answer to your question, "eucatastrophe"! Thanks so much for this intro to Wyndham. I recently came across "The Kraken Wakens" in a Little Free Library box and took it along as it looked intriguing. I'll be placing it higher on my "to read" mountain now :) Also, I have heard many people recommend A Canticle for Leibowitz recently - is this novel on your review list?

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A Canticle for Leibowitz. One of the best. The Fondation Trilogy (Asimov) and Stranger in a Strange Land (Heinlein) are also some seminal works in the genre.

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I’ve got Stranger and Harsh Mistress on my shelf and I eye them now and again, but I’ve never committed to digging in.

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"To read mountain" YES! That's a much better visual for what I have going on here!

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I should write something about nemesis titles—books that dare me to complete them but for whatever reason I can’t seem to muster it. Canticle for Leibowitz is one of those books. So is The Name of the Rose. I should probably gird my loins and attempt it again.

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Nov 9, 2023·edited Nov 9, 2023Liked by Joel J Miller

The same thing happened to me with The Name of the Rose. I was determined to read it, but eventually felt that it Eco was somehow actually writing a doctoral thesis trying to show off his subject expertise (without capturing my attention).

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That’s somewhat humorous because Eco actually wrote a book about how to write a doctoral thesis!

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Canticle for Leibowitz: currently the Close Reads podcast subject. Helpful.

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Good to know!

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I remember reading Wyndham for school years ago. 'Triffids' and 'Midwych Cuckoos'. I'm not a fan of science fiction, but peculiarly, I never considered Wyndham to be science fiction then. More a sort of wild reality....which, I guess is what sci fi/fantasy is!

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Wild reality! I love that description, and that’s pretty accurate for Wyndham’s books.

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Nov 8, 2023Liked by Joel J Miller

I've read Day of the Triffids, but nothing else by Wyndham. I'm going to have to check his other works out now. From your descriptions, he sounds similar to J G Ballard (The Crystal World is an eerie apocalyptic novel). Thanks for the consistently good recommendations - although I may have to stop reading your posts, because I can't keep up with them! :)

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LOL. Thanks for the Ballard tip.

My favorite of the bunch above is Trouble with Lichen, followed by The Midwich Cuckoos.

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I read The Chrysalids for school some thirty years ago as a teen in school and loved it. I rediscovered it and read it with my 12 year old and still loved it and so did he. I am definitely hunting down his other books they sound like great fun. Thanks for the heads up on the rereleases!

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That’s cool to be able to share something like that with your son.

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And now I have several more books on my TBR list!

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You’re welcome! I recommend starting with Trouble with Lichen and The Midwich Cuckoos.

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Day of the Triffids was required reading in Grade 10 (so long agoooooo) and I enjoyed it, but totally forgot it existed until I read your article. Looks like I'll be adding some more books to my 'classics' collection!

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I had so much fun reading all those Wyndham books. He was utterly new to me.

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I liked how The Day of the Triffids didn't completely explain where the Triffids came from because sometimes you don't know how these world-altering events begin.

I also recently read Stowaway to Mars. It was very modern for a novel written in the 1930's and I loved the Martian robots. Pre-1940's robots are really interesting because we didn't have modern computers and robot literature so they had to imagine what robots would be like.

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Yes, I thought the depiction of the robots was fascinating, and you’re right: All that stuff had to be imagined first of all, and it was people like Wyndham who created the first “robot literature” that others would imitate and build on.

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Nov 8, 2023Liked by Joel J Miller

The Chrysalids is one of my favorite books. David Harrower adapted the novel into a play and I directed a production of it with teens at a summer theater camp.

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That sounds great. I’ve heard good things about that one. I’m looking forward to it.

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Inkling Qwen Barfield’s Eager Spring, not SF, has a strong Woman protagonist.

Have you read his science fiction, the only one, I think. People are living a dystopian future in underground sewer tunnels, a society obsessed with security and biology, I think, owing to crowds. But also of course he is a philosopher, the author. Philosophy is in there.

Ever have a last lines thread? From NIGHT OPERATION: “What happened after that, how far they maintain their joint resolution, what influences they were able to exert, and what effect, if any, it had on the destiny of that closed society of sickness and the smell of sickness, from which they had momentarily emerged, is a tale that cannot be told for the sufficient reason that it is not yet known.”

When I read the book in 2009 I was thinking of telling the rest of it. Has not happened!

E. M. Forster’s The Machine Stops has a dystopian underground scenario, published 1909. That one is also claustrophobic but technology driven.

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Nov 8, 2023·edited Nov 8, 2023Author

I had no idea Barfield had written sci-fi, even if only one. I’ll have to check that out. Thanks!

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Nov 8, 2023Liked by Joel J Miller

I am

Just commenting that as 69 years old, john Wyndham was introduced to me as a young girl and THAT was when the love of science fiction began , i devoured all his books then, and my continued enjoyment if them throughout life . And the enjoyment of more boyish books. Boys need good literature too! So glad you wrote about JW as his books are still amazing. I hope the young these days will read him .

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His stuff holds up pretty well I thought!

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This is why my TBR list will live longer than me...Every one of these sounds amazing!

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deletedNov 29, 2023Liked by Joel J Miller
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Thanks, Mitchell! I don’t know Macko’s work. Thanks for pointing him out!

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