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John Wyndham


Chocky

John Wyndham

At first they thought that Matthew was just goining through a phase of talking to himself. And like many parents, they waited for him to grow out of it. But as time passed it became worse, not better. Matthew's conversations with himself grew more and more intense. It was like listening to one end of a telephone conversation while someone argued, cajoled and reasoned with another person you couldn't hear or see. Then Matthew began doing things he couldn't do before. Like counting in binary code mathematics. So he told them about Chocky, the person who lived in his head. Whoever or whatever Chocky was, it wasn't childish imagination. It was far too intelligent and frightening for that.

Consider Her Ways and Others

John Wyndham

Table of Contents:

  • Consider Her Ways - (1956) - novella
  • Odd - short story
  • Oh, Where, Now, Is Peggy MacRafferty? - novelette
  • A Stitch in Time - (1961) - short story
  • Random Quest - novelette
  • A Long Spoon - (1960) - short story

Jizzle

John Wyndham

Table of Contents:

  • 9 - Jizzle - (1949) - short story
  • 24 - Technical Slip - (1949) - short story [as by John Beynon]
  • 40 - A Present from Brunswick - (1951) - short story
  • 57 - Chinese Puzzle - (1953) - novelette
  • 82 - Esmeralda - short story
  • 97 - How Do I Do? - (1953) - short story
  • 117 - Una - (1937) - novelette (variant of The Perfect Creature)
  • 148 - Affair of the Heart - non-genre - (1952) - short story
  • 157 - Confidence Trick - (1953) - short story
  • 179 - The Wheel - (1952) - short story
  • 188 - Look Natural, Please! - short story
  • 198 - Perforce to Dream - (1954) - short story
  • 216 - Reservation Deferred - (1953) - short story
  • 223 - Heaven Scent - short story
  • 237 - More Spinned Against - (1953) - short story

Random Quest

John Wyndham

This novelette originally appeared in the collection Consider Her Ways and Others. It has been collected and anthologized numerous times.

It was the basis for the 1971 movie Quest for Love.

Sleepers of Mars

John Wyndham

Table of Contents:

  • 7 - The Fate of the Martians - (1972) - essay by Walter Gillings
  • 9 - Sleepers of Mars - [Stowaway to Mars - 2] - (1938) - novella
  • 61 - Worlds to Barter - (1931) - novelette
  • 89 - Invisible Monster - (1933) - novelette
  • 115 - The Man from Earth - (1934) - novelette
  • 140 - The Third Vibrator - (1933) - short story

Tales of Gooseflesh and Laughter

John Wyndham

Table of Contents:

  • 1 - Chinese Puzzle - (1953) - novelette
  • 20 - Una - (1937) - novelette (variant of The Perfect Creature)
  • 44 - The Wheel - (1952) - short story
  • 51 - Jizzle - (1949) - short story
  • 63 - Heaven Scent - (1954) - short story
  • 73 - Compassion Circuit - (1954) - short story
  • 84 - More Spinned Against... - (1953) - short story (variant of More Spinned Against)
  • 95 - A Present from Brunswick - (1951) - short story
  • 108 - Confidence Trick - (1953) - short story
  • 125 - Opposite Number - (1954) - short story (variant of Opposite Numbers)
  • 141 - Wild Flower - (1955) - short story

The Chrysalids

John Wyndham

The Chyrsalids is set in the future after a devastating global nuclear war. David, the young hero of the novel, lives in a tight-knit community of religious and genetic fundamentalists, always on the alert for any deviation from the norm of God's creation. Abnormal plants are publicly burned, with much singing of hymns. Abnormal humans (who are not really human) are also condemned to destruction-unless they succeed in fleeing to the Fringes, that Wild Country where, as the authorities say, nothing is reliable and the devil does his work. David grows up ringed by admonitions: KEEP PURE THE STOCK OF THE LORD; WATCH THOU FOR THE MUTANT.

At first he does not question. Then, however, he realizes that the he too is out of the ordinary, in possession of a power that could doom him to death or introduce h im to a new, hitherto unimagined world of freedom.

The Chrysalids is a perfectly conceived and constructed work form the classic era o science fiction, a Voltairean philosophical tale that has as much resonance in our own day, when religious and scientific dogmatism are both on the march, as when it was written during the cold war.

The Infinite Moment

John Wyndham

Table of Contents:

  • Consider Her Ways - (1956) - novella
  • Odd - short story
  • How Do I Do? - (1953) - short story
  • Stitch in Time - short story (variant of A Stitch in Time)
  • Random Quest - novelette
  • Time Out - (1953) - novelette

The Kraken Wakes

John Wyndham

Ships are sinking for no apparent reason, carrying hundreds to a dark underwater grave. Strange fireballs race through the sky above the deepest trenches of the oceans. Something is about to show itself, something terrible and alien, a force capable of causing global catastrophe.

Also published as Out of the Deeps.

The Midwich Cuckoos

John Wyndham

In the sleepy English village of Midwich, a mysterious silver object appears and all the inhabitants fall unconscious. A day later the object is gone and everyone awakens unharmed – except that all the women in the village are discovered to be pregnant. The resultant children of Midwich do not belong to their parents: all are blonde, all are golden eyed. They grow up too fast and their minds exhibit frightening abilities that give them control over others and brings them into conflict with the villagers just as a chilling realisation dawns on the world outside . . .

The Midwich Cuckoos is the classic tale of aliens in our midst, exploring how we respond when confronted by those who are innately superior to us in every conceivable way.

The Midwich Cuckoos was made into a feature film title The Village of the Damned.

The Outward Urge

John Wyndham

Published as by John Wyndham and Lucas Parkes (Lucas Parkes is a pen-name of John Wyndham)

Contains: (original publication had 4 stories, later editions 5)

  • The Space Station: A.D. 1994
  • The Moon: A.D. 2044
  • Mars: A.D. 2094
  • Venus: A.D. 2144
  • The Emptiness of Space: The Asteroids A. D. 2194

The Seeds of Time

John Wyndham

Contains:

  • The Chronoclasm
  • Pillar to Post
  • Dumb Martian
  • Compassion Circuit
  • Survival
  • Pawley's Peepholes
  • Opposite Numbers
  • Wild Flower
  • Time to Rest
  • Meteor

Trouble with Lichen

John Wyndham

The plot concerns a young woman biochemist who discovers that a chemical extracted from an unusual strain of lichen (hence the title) can be used to retard the ageing process enabling people to live to around 200-300 years. Wyndham speculates how society would deal with this prospect.

The two central characters are Diana Brackley and Francis Saxover, two biochemists who run parallel investigations into the properties of a specific species of lichen after Diana notices that a trace of the specimen prevents some milk turning sour.

She and Francis separately manage to extract from the lichen a new drug, dubbed Antigerone, which slows down the body's ageing process. While Francis uses it only on himself and his immediate family (without their knowledge), Diana founds a cosmetic spa, and builds up a clientele of some of the most powerful women in England, giving them low doses of Antigerone, preserving their beauty and youth. When Saxover finds out about the spas, he erroneously assumes that Diana's motive is profit. Diana's aim, however, is actually female empowerment, intending to gain the support of these influential women, believing that if Antigerone became publicly known, it would be reserved only for the men in power.

After a customer suffers an allergic reaction to one of Diana's products, the secret of the drug begins to emerge. Diana tries to cover up the real source of the drug, since the lichen is very rare and difficult to grow, but when it is finally discovered, she fakes her own death, in the hope of inspiring the women of Britain to fight for the rights she tried to secure for them.

Francis realizes that she may not really be dead, and tracks her down to a remote farm, where she has succeeded in growing a small amount of the lichen. Diana plans to rejoin the world under the guise of being her own sister, and continue the work she left off.

Wanderers of Time

John Wyndham

Table of Contents:

  • 7 - Before the Triffids... - essay by Walter Gillings
  • 9 - Wanderers of Time - (1933) - novelette by John Wyndham [as by John Beynon Harris]
  • 61 - Derelict of Space - (1939) - novelette by John Wyndham [as by John Beynon]
  • 90 - Child of Power - (1939) - novelette by John Wyndham [as by Wyndham Parkes]
  • 117 - The Last Lunarians - (1938) - short story by John Wyndham (variant of The Moon Devils 1934) [as by John Beynon Harris]
  • 135 - The Puff-Ball Menace - (1933) - novelette by John Wyndham (variant of Spheres of Hell) [as by John Beynon Harris]

Web

John Wyndham

The island of Tanakuatua seems like heaven to the 40 people who go there in order to create a utopian society, but soon they start to die in a horrible way and it seems that something strange and deadly is out there in the jungle.

Plan for Chaos

Liverpool SF Studies: Book 38

John Wyndham

Plan for Chaos is a never-before published novel by post-apocalyptic British science fiction writer John Wyndham (1903-69), best known for his "cozy catastrophe" novel about a venomous class of fictional plants, The Day of the Triffids. Written simultaneously with that well-known volume, which has been in print continuously since its publication in 1951, Plan for Chaos makes a fascinating companion to the author's most famous work and offers a new angle on a writer often considered the direct descendent of the legendary H.G. Wells and an influence on such innovators as Ray Bradbury and Margaret Atwood.

In a city that could well be New York, a series of identical women are found dead in suspicious circumstances. Magazine photographer Johnny Farthing, who is reporting on the suspected murders, is chilled to discover that his fiancée looks identical to the victims too - and then she disappears. As his investigations spiral beyond his control, he finds himself at the heart of a sinister plot that uses cloning to revive the Nazi vision of a world-powerful master race... Part detective noir, part dystopic thriller, Plan for Chaos reveals the legendary science fiction novelist grappling with some of his most urgent and personal themes.

The Day of the Triffids

Masters of Science Fiction: Book 36

John Wyndham

In 1951 John Wyndham published his novel The Day of the Triffids to moderate acclaim. Fifty-two years later, this horrifying story is a science fiction classic, touted by The Times (London) as having "all the reality of a vividly realized nightmare."

Bill Masen, bandages over his wounded eyes, misses the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. Removing his bandages the next morning, he finds masses of sightless people wandering the city. He soon meets Josella, another lucky person who has retained her sight, and together they leave the city, aware that the safe, familiar world they knew a mere twenty-four hours before is gone forever.

But to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids, strange plants that years before began appearing all over the world. The Triffids can grow to over seven feet tall, pull their roots from the ground to walk, and kill a man with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers. With society in shambles, they are now poised to prey on humankind. Wyndham chillingly anticipates bio-warfare and mass destruction, fifty years before their realization, in this prescient account of Cold War paranoia.

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