Midwich Cuckoos

( 3 )

Overview

Richard and Janet Gayford happened to spend the night of September 26 in London, not returning to their home in the village of Midwich until the following day. Only they have difficulty getting back into Midwich, and -- in ways that are difficult to isolate -- the village does not seem to be the same place it was the day before. The nightmare that descends on Midwich has dire implications for the rest of the world, sowing the seeds of a master race of ruthless, inhuman creatures bent on total domination. John ...
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Overview

Richard and Janet Gayford happened to spend the night of September 26 in London, not returning to their home in the village of Midwich until the following day. Only they have difficulty getting back into Midwich, and -- in ways that are difficult to isolate -- the village does not seem to be the same place it was the day before. The nightmare that descends on Midwich has dire implications for the rest of the world, sowing the seeds of a master race of ruthless, inhuman creatures bent on total domination. John Wyndham's The Midwich Cuckoos, published in 1957, is better known by the more sensational title of its two film adaptations, Village of the Damned. In the author's typically elegant and calm manner, the novel explores the arrival on earth of a collective intelligence that threatens to eliminate humankind. The eerie change that befalls Midwich manifests itself in strange ways. On the surface, everything seems normal but there is a vague sense of dread everywhere and in everyone. Also, suddenly and inexplicably after the night of September 26, every woman of the appropriate age is pregnant. They will give birth at the same time, to children who are all alike -- their eyes mesmerizing, devoid of emotion, innately possessed with unimaginable mental powers and formidable native intelligence. The children develop into an unstoppable force, capable of anything, far outstripping mere humans in guile and cunning. The threat to the human race is unmistakable. Wyndham writes his fantastic story in a precise, almost bemused manner that sometimes seems almost droll. London's Evening Standard called The Midwich Cuckoos "humane and urbane with a lightly sophisticated wit putting the ideas into shape." The Spectator noted that Wyndham "provides just that right amount of semi-realistic data ... to soothe his readers into a mood of acceptance, and his poker-faced attitude towards the strange and improbable events which he records is also exactly calculated.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780899683874
  • Publisher: Buccaneer Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/1999
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 981,402
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris (1903-69) was a British novelist who wrote under the name John Wyndham, although he had at least seven other pen-names. Wyndham began publishing stories in the early 1930s, often in American magazines, but did not really find his stride as a writer as John Wyndham until he returned from serving for World War II.

The War changed the world drastically and it was now in the grips of nuclear apocalypse, a scenario that both terrified and fascinated Wyndam. His 1951 novel, The Day of the Triffids transformed him as a writer. While Wyndham's approach to writing is best classified as fantasy and science fiction, his work is often said to transcend both genre and category.

Following The Day of the Triffids in 1951, Wyndham wrote a series of remarkable novels that include The Chrysalids (1955) and The Midwich Cuckoos (1957), as well as several short story collections. As noted, Wyndham did write under several of his other pseudonyms, and several of these titles were released after his death in March of 1969. There were two film versions, both titled Village of the Damned, made from The Midwich Cuckoos.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 1, 2012

    Pretty good

    Well worth reading, but not nealy as good as The Day of the Triffids.

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  • Posted September 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    "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-

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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