The Chrysalids

John Wyndham
The Chrysalids Cover

The Chrysalids


I have no idea how the title relates to the story. I had expected some sort of pupation.

In the far future, long after an apparent atomic holocaust, A agrarian culture in has survived in Labrador. The people's strict religious dogma prohibits any kind of mutation. Deviant crops and livestock are destroyed. Imperfect babies are taken from their mothers. Any one not perfect, not made in God's image, is banished or worse. It is a crime to harbor a deviant. David and a small group of his friends are able to communicate with one another telepathically. They must keep it secret for fear of the consequences of being different. When finally they are discovered, they must flee. David's young sister, Petra, has extreme power but no finesse in her telepathic ability. She is able to summon help from telepaths in, apparently, New Zealand, who are too distant for communication with David and his friends. The Zealanders arrive in the nick of time in their helicopter-like machine to rescue David, Petra, and a couple of their friend, kill their pursuers (their own kinfolk) and whisk them away to safety where they live happily ever after.

It really is a good story, with a strong plot. I could hardly put it down and read it quickly. I must say that I was disgruntled by the deus ex machina ending, which seemed out of harmony with the overall tenor of the book. It was, nevertheless, quite a worthwhile read. The only book of John Wyndahm's I had read previously was The Day of the Triffids, which is very good. The Chysalids is every bit as well written, I just wish Wyndham had given us a different ending.