E man spirit and one woman spirit each far powerful than we understand that they share between them What then are they They have the ook of the genus homo but not the nature Zellaby acknowledges the conundrum particularly since the Angels Whiskey law has not foreseen application to a non human form of higher intelligence Mr Leebody continues And from that one must go further If they are another species are we not fully entitled indeed have we not perhaps a duty to fight them in order to protect our own species Zellaby muses all the interplanetary invasions he had read about in science fiction feature forthright attacksike HG Wells Martians He has never come across an account of an insidious invasion Ritual Alliances of the Putian Plain: Volume Two: A Survey of Village Temples and Ritual Activities like the one they are evidently dealing with at the momentOn top of everything else shortly thereafter a government official overseeing the Midwich phenomenon ever since the Day Out makes a shocking startling revelation to Gordon Zellaby and a few others What exactly For John Wyndham to tell The Midwich Cuckoos for someoneike myself who enjoys a gripping story aced with philosophy a novel not to be missedBritish SF author John Wyndham 1903 1969 But as I understand it your God is a universal God He is God on all suns and all planets Surely then He must have universal form Would it not be a staggering vanity to imagine that He can manifest Himself only in the form that is appropriate to this particular not very important planet John Wyndham The Midwich Cuckoos John Wyndham s books are often described abeled or tagged as cozy catastrophe I am not sure what that means as the two books I have read so far of his are rather unsettling My guess is the Englishness of his prose style and the politeness of his characters As something of an anglophile I very much appreciate this style of writing it is very comforting and old school especially with a nice cuppa tea in my hand The only serious problem with this book is that the plot is so well known It was filmed a couple of times as Village of the Damned adapted for radio plays and is reuired reading in many schools If you really really have no idea what this book is about here is my ridiculously simplified synopsisThe women in an English village are implanted with alien babies while the entire village is put to sleep for a few days The babies grow into hive mind children with mental powers Another great Mark Salwowski coverThese days the hive mind idea is old hat to sci fi fans with Star Trek TNG s The Borg and Doctor Who s Cybermen being the most famous examples as far as I know In sf iterature beside The Midwich Cuckoos Theodore Sturgeon s classic More Than Human is probably the best known The main difference is that the Sturgeon s book concerns a small group of homo gestalt people who operate as one being but are also non homogeneous individuals In any case you are not ikely to have your mind blown by this bookThe book was published in 1957 in those days they tell stories with such economy a The Day Christ Was Born lot of story is packed into about 250 pages The drawback is that there isittle room for character development so the polite inhabitants of this book tend to be somewhat two dimensional As mentioned earlier I was already well aware of the plot from the movie versions so there is no surprise in store for me but I still find the book worth reading and immersive If you are unfamiliar with the story when you read this fine sf classic I envy you The other one being The Day of the Triffids also a must read classicNoteThere are two movie adaptations of The Midwich Cuckoos that I know of1960 s Village of the Damned And John Carpenter s 1995 remakeI uite enjoyed both versions but the 1960 s one is better in term of atmosphere and subtletyOh There is also a Thai ripoff adaptation There is no official English title the Thai title translates as Cuckoos at Bangpleng Wikipedia calls it Blackbirds at Bangpleng for some reason Here is an interesting review of this movie by Variety I haven t seen it don t really fancy it to be honest I can t remember when I first read The Midwich Cuckoos but it was certainly within 30 years of the end of World War II Now almost 40 years 5 Nights: Sinful Delights Boxed Set later the postwartime feel is even present in this short novel despite the book itself being published in 1957 The way the army moves in immediately the jeeps on the road meetings between people who clearly think of themselves as the elders of the village the conseuent emphasis on protecting ordinary people the Grange with its important secret work all these contribute to a work redolent with the stiff upperip feeling of post war British fictionAlthough this novel is class ridden and the women s roles are very much of their time it is told with a wry humour which I had forgotten in the aftermath of all the adaptations The first of these goes by the name of Village of the Damned from 1960 and was followed shortly by a seuel Children of the Damned John Carpenter then remade Village of the Damned in 1995 All these are good chilling films but they are bound to The Seventh Witch lose the feel of the original textThe British reserve is very much in evidence in the novel and Wyndham conveys the clipped BBC accent beautifully with his Ihad or Ithink in reported conversation At the beginning too when the cuckoos are perceived there is much embarrassment and avoidence of discussing how this might have happened One exchange between the doctor and the vicar is hilarious as neither seem to want to spell out what they actually mean It becomes obvious that the situation of every single female being pregnant at the same time is scientifically inexplicable Nothing has ever really happened in Midwich apart from some amusing historical episodes referred to in a droll fashion right at the start yet the villagers just accept it and go on with theirives Again this is typical of the period It s dangerous to ask uestions The authorities know best You keep uiet and carry onAnd indeed the elders of the village do get together and form a committee to discuss what is the best way to proceed for the good of them all The key figures here are Gordon Zellaby an educated and insightful character if this had been set any earlier he would have been the Lord of the Manor Doctor Willers the village s GP the vicar and Bernard Westcott the middle man between Midwich and the military who is usually himself represented by the narrator Richard Gayford a published writer who represents EverymanWe are thrust into the novel right in the middle of the Dayout when the village of Midwich seems to have been put to sleepview spoiler Army manoeuvres reveal that a hemisphere 2 miles in diameter surrounds the village Then aerial photography shows an unidentifiable silvery object on the ground in the centre of the created exclusion zone hide spoiler One day vanishes off the calendars of a peaceful village of Midwich When everyone goes to sleep for an entire day and wakes up to find all the women of the village to be pregnant The children when born are all identical physically with golden eyes and sharing only two consciousness one shared. E village of Midwich one night in September proved to possess a monstrous will of its own It promised to make the human.
What a strange story An easy read at first glance with dated And the Miss Ran Away with the Rake language and characters But there is to it than meets the eyeI absolutelyoved the opening sentenceOne of the Trickle Down Tyranny: Crushing Obama's Dream of the Socialist States of America luckiest accidents in my wife sife is that she happened to marry a man who was born on the 26th of SeptemberIt is such a great homage to chance which played a major role in the main characters The Pocket Wife lives in The Day of the Triffids as well One of the characters happened to be spared blindness but only by accident and thus was able to take aeading role in the ensuing action In Midwich the ordeal is of a different kind From the start it is uite clear that the main protagonist of the novel is the village itself the collective of Midwich proudly present in almost all chapter headings And it is caught in a fairy tale style beauty sleep in the beginning thus displaying its innocence or as one might feel tempted to say virginityMidwich was almost notoriously a place where things did not happenHowever after an incident soon to be called the Dayout when all inhabitants are put out of action the village is shocked to find out that all women except for the one who had The Color of Our Sky left town to celebrate her husband s birthday are pregnantThis marks the start of the story showing in a sympathetic way how Midwich copes with the problem As it is a science fiction novel the reader expects the cuckoos to have super powers and a secret agenda so their telepathic will force doesn t come as a surprise and neither does the violence that erupts after a decade of nurturing and educating the Children with the golden eyes As the novel is written during the Cold War it is also uite unsurprising to find a Soviet twist triggering the ultimate showdown So far so sterile and boring I would say But it is a strangely compelling plot despite the predictability of some storylines The main reason is that there are ethical uestions of a higher order to consider Faced with threats both the human and the cuckoo population fall back on primitive defence mechanisms and set in motion a blood feud They create a deadlock where ethical values clash with biological instinctsThe cuckoos use their superior will power to keep villagers hostage in order to prevent them from evacuating Midwich and enable the state to strike against the foreign species withoutosses for themselves The most important human inventions according to one character humour and compassion as well as deeply rooted beliefs in civilisation make it impossible for them to kill off their own innocent people to avoid ong term domination by a stronger species slowly developing and growing to full powerHowever in the end Wyndham turns the whole power balance around again and ets the cuckoos show one single sign of humanity which immediately makes them vulnerable trust All it needs then is one human with a superior mind to think Obsession like the aliens and to reflect on the ultimate conseuences of the situationIf you want to keep alive in the jungle you mustive as the jungle doesThe Cabaret: A Roman Riddle logicalast step is for this man to become a hero in the ancient definition and to sacrifice himself to save the main characterThe collective of Midwichuite interesting as a thought experiment and ending on an ambiguous note Is trust good or bad Should the individual or the collective be valued Where humanity brought destruction upon itself in The Day of the Triffids ruthlessly playing with nature and technology The Midwich Cuckoos on the other hand celebrates human inventiveness compassion and humour as superior to pure intellectual capacitiesAs for trust Not to be trusted All these sixty golden eyed children we have here are intruders changelings they are cuckoo children So speaks Gordon Zellaby well educated resident of the British village of Midwich when discussing the nature of a arge group of highly unusual children born some nine years prior to village women of childbearing age The Midwich Cockoos John Wyndham s 1957 masterfully constructed highly philosophic tale of alien invasion was made into a science fiction horror film Village of the Damned in 1960 and then again in 1995 Filming of the novel proved both fortunate and unfortunate fortunate since the story became instantly famous unfortunate because being film the horror elements and sensational visuals took over thus relegating philosophy to the backgroundAgain such a masterfully constructed tale Spoiler alert I l touch on a number of revelations made in the course of the plot however I suspect many readers are already familiar with the happenings in Midwich at east in broad outlineThe first mysterious occurrence is what people in Midwich refer to as the Dayout within a certain invisible boundary surrounding Midwich all iving beings humans cows birds et al slump to the ground unconscious for a considerable time and thereafter regain consciousness with no apparent ill effectsSome months afterwards Midwich women discover they re pregnant and eventually give birth to a batch of babies with striking physical traits including distinctive golden eyes Eually alarming none of the children have their mothers features Of course the villagers are all astir at what could have caused such an unaccountable phenomenon Meanwhile the men and women in neighboring towns chuckle knowingly reckoning the folks in Midwich had themselves one of those fabled old farmers hoots that turned naughty after midnight The babies grow into extraordinarily bright toddlers Alarmed sensing something definitely off Gordon Zellaby conducts experiments on these exceptional but odd toddlers and concludes gulp they don t have individual consciousness rather the 31 boys partake of one general consciousness they share memories All Roads Lead Home learning skills and a hyper awareness and the 30 girls partake of another similar unified consciousnessAnd so it goes until the Children eventually recognized as a separate group thus the capital C areiving in their own village dormitory and receiving advanced instruction from a special teacher with a background in psychology and sociologyThings come to a head when tragedy strikes riding along a ane in his car a villager young Jim Pawle turns a corner and accidentally runs over one of the Children The Children s response is immediate and extreme they cause young Jim to accelerate and crash into a wall causing instant death The aw can place no blame on the Children Dissatisfied with the verdict Jim s brother grabs a gun and takes aim at the Children but immediately turns the shotgun on himself and fires Gordon Zellaby and others recognize the Children posses non human powers of the mind And in important respects they also acknowledge the Children s actions even murderous violent actions are beyond the reach of the aw Now the serious philosophical issues and implications are manifest and something must be done Here are a couple of snatches of tension filled dialogueMr Leebody the village vicar addresses Gordon Zellaby But you have told me and on the evidence I came to believe it that the Children do not have individual spirits that they have on. Alternate cover for ISBN 0140014403Cuckoos ay eggs in other birds' nests The clutch that was fathered on the uiet ittl.
By all the females and the other by all the males Apart from that they are not normal children They are children with a capital C having super psychic powers and such reasonable arguments to make as are unable to grasp by any normal person iving on the planet The people of the village are terrified shit and manage to control the situation somehow but still are unable to prevent the inevitable I am glad I read it as a classic because no matter how strongly it failed to terrify me out of my wits this book does shower ight philosophically on the condition of humans And also tells that how much a need is there for man to be politi The dawn of the 27th was an affair of slatternly rags soaking in a dishwater sky with a gray ight weakly filtering through Nevertheless in Oppley and in Stouch cocks crowed and other birds welcomed it melodiously In Midwich however no birds sangIn Oppley and Stouch too as in other places hands were soon reaching out to silence alarm clocks but in Midwich the clocks rattled on till they ran downIn other villages sleepy eye Sci fi horror dystopian A bit of all of themThis is a straightforward and somewhat eisurely story that touches on very deep and difficult themes mostly indirectly but explicitly in the ast uarterTypical English IdyllMidwich is a sleepy English village in the Just Cause late 1950s One day everyone in the village blacks out They awake apparently unharmed only to discover that all the fertile women are pregnant but the children they give birth to are notike other human children and turn out to have extraordinary and disturbing powersIt starts off by establishing the uneventful normality of the village With dawning awareness of what has happened most people indulge in denial and eventually a degree of acceptance The abnormal becomes normal and things get stranger stillWomenThe big flaw of this book is its neglect of female characters especially given that it is the women who are violated in such a profound way More understandable is the overprotective attitudes of some of the men exercising benign censorship especially for the ess educated women That may not be acceptable now but surely typical of the period It also oddly omits almost all mention of older and younger siblings of the Children the capital C is used and barely mentions the pain of the putative fathersHowever in in the collection Consider Her Ways and Others see my review HERE a couple of the stories have a strong femalefeminist slant Philosophical ScopeThe strength of the book is the way it raises so many philosophical issues in a relatively ight way and barely 200 pages Fear of tabloid exploitation The nature of self and individuality and how it is affected by mind control and shared consciousness Whether scientific dogma overrides religious dogma Societal and biological pressures on mothers to bond with their babies Original sin Triumph over adversity and the desire to see good in situations Whether ends justify means What it means to be human Evolution versus creationism The nature of evil and what can be done in the name of self preservation The politics of colonisation and revolutionThe ultimate uestion is whether humanitarianism trumps biological duty and hence whether civilisation could ultimately be our downfall in a hostile environment ProgenitorA sci fi writer should be ahead of their time But there s a downside One of the problems Wyndham suffers nowadays is that to modern readers his work can seem derivative which is a dreadful injustice when in many cases it s because modern writers have derived ideas from himVillage of the DamnedThere are two film versions 1960 black and white classic starring George Sanders See details on imdb here 1995 starring Christopher Reeve Kirstie Alley and also featuring Mark Hamill See details on imdb hereWyndham s Next Take on These IdeasEleven years after publishing this Wyndham published Chocky which takes very similar themes but puts them in a realistic setting and a single cuckoo child who is firmly human See my review here This was one of the coolest sci fi horror stories I ve ever read and was the basis for the 1960 film Village of the Damned and John Carpenter s remake It centers around the small English village of Midwich where the entire population and all within a 2 mile radius of the village are suddenly rendered unconscious for a day and a half When the phenomena passes all women of child bearing age are pregnant and nine months ater give birth to oddly emotionless blonde haired children with golden eyes and terrifying abilities I won t spoil it for anyone who hasn t seen the movies or isn t familiar with the story but it s a tense and creepy exploration of how we as the dominant species on the planet would react if we were to suddenly find among us a vastly superior race that presented an existential threat to our survival and that threat bore the resemblance of children The cuckoo in the title is an analogy it draws to a nefarious bird which ays its eggs in another bird s nest and the hatchlings after being raised by the mother bird as her own dispense with the mother s real offspring 5 stars 25 started solid ended rather tediously stars This is my 2018 Halloween read and I chose it off an internet ist of this century s best horror novels This is also the book that the films Village of the Damned is based on One was 1960 and the other was 1995 I have yet to see eitherHere is a trailer of the 1995 filmhttpswwwyoutubecomwatchv0WzcWWorth seeing just to see the ittle girls wigs This book seemed sci fi than horror to me and is about a night where all the village women in a small community become pregnant after a night of deep sleep and the discovery that a flying ship had anded close to a aboratory The women are merely hosts and 31 or so children are born and ook identical with uminous yellow eyes As they grow they develop physically and intellectually very rapidly and seem to share one consciousnessI will stop there as ominous things begin to happen to the village folk The first three uarters was fairly interesting but staid and ponderous and not at all frightening but the ast uarter became uasi philosophical pseudo political sort of intellectual and uite frankly duller than a burnished doorknob The ending was also rather sudden and uite frankly insultingly expected This is a classic that I could have done without but am still sort of glad that I read Now I have read this book I did try and add the ink but it wouldn t work hey ho a number of times and it is one of my faves This however was not someone reading or narrating the book now I did know that but it was another isten whilst garden audiobook So the book is a 5 star read no doubt about that This was a BBC dramatisation of an abridged version of the book hmmm That said it was an enjoyable isten with the amazing Bill Nighy in the starring role always a winner for meSooo I will definitely re read the book 5th time as the abridged version is just not as good but this was a strong 4 stars overall despite the abridged versio. Race ook as dated as the dinosaur'Exciting unsettling and technically brilliant' SpectatorCover design by Harry Willock.
John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris was the son of a barrister After trying a number of careers including farming law commercial art and advertising he started writing short stories in 1925 After serving in the civil Service and the Army during the war he went back to writing Adopting the name John Wyndham he started writing a form of science fiction that he called 'logical fantasy'