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Posted July 1, 2012
Posted September 25, 2011
"We (humans), like the other lords of creation before us, will one day be replaced"
It happened one late September night around 1947 in Midwich, an English village of no significance. Every inhabitant of the town went unconscious for hours. Something that might have been a space ship was photographed resting on the ground by a distant aircraft. People trying to enter Midwich ran through a force field that knocked them out without permanent damage. And every woman capable of it woke up pregnant. *** For the next eight or nine years, the three score women who had given birth to human-look-alike aliens became stoically resigned to rearing them without receiving their love in return. Women who took their infants (called "the Children" with a capital C by author John Wyndham) away from Midwich were each compelled by their Child's will power to return to the village. Very smart local men (the women are not portrayed as intelligent enough to contribute much) try to make sense of what has happened. Local males include the doctor, the vicar, the professional writer who narrates the 1957 sci-fi novel THE MIDWICH CUCKOOS and especially the absent-minded, bloviating resident Renaissance man genius and hero Gordon Zellaby. Fleshing out local masculine insights are an army First Lieutenant who marries Zellaby's alien-impregnated daughter, a British military Intelligence official, scientific researchers and a handful of others. *** By the time they are eight, the Children look 16, learn a 100 times faster than humans and can collectively radiate intimidating, indeed fatal will power when they feel threatened. The plot is so slight that it could be told in a short story: like cuckoos laying their eggs in other birds' nests to be fed and raised to adulthood, aliens have implanted their young in human wombs. But THE MIDWICH CUCKOOS is a slow-as-molasses, didactic, speculative, even philosophical novel for which plot is mere framework. For the baffled villagers and the secretive UK Government there are a few concrete options: (1) should we kill the alien Children; (2) should we keep them alive, study them and learn how to improve our own DNA; (3) should we accept that they are not here to do good things for us; and (4) should we prepared to let them rule over us? *** At a higher level of abstraction, Gordon Zellaby guides the other human males in Socratic dialogs about "the big picture of what is going on." Is a cosmic evolutionary process at work? If the survivors of this alien-human interaction will be "the fittest," it is not going to be the humans. Oh, well, every top dog has its day. Once the dinosaurs ruled the land. Someday after nuclear annihilation it may be the cockroaches. What will be will be. Earth was probably picked to be colonized because the aliens know that we humans are too chicken, too moral to wipe out the greatest threat ever to our very existence. In a small circle of friends toward novel's end, third wife Anthea being present, polymath Gordon Zellaby says that weak-minded women simply assume that humanity will exist forever. Males are more thoughtful: "We do occasionally contemplate the once lordly dinosaurs and wonder when and how our little day will reach its end. ... But ... one must take it that we (humans), like the other lords of creation before us, will one day be replaced. ... Well, here we are now, face to face with a superior will and mind. And what are we able to bring against it?" (Ch. 19) *** Read THE MIDWICH CUCKOOS and find out. -OOO-Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 11, 2010
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