Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

I have recently watched the film version of Day of the Triffids starring Howard Keel. It is based on the novel of the same name by John Wyndham and is a cautionary tale concerning a carnivorous plant species. It features Bill Masen (Keel) a biologist who has made his living working with triffids – tall, venomous carnivorous plants capable of locomotion and communication whose extracts are superior to fish or vegetable oils. After experimenting with one such Triffid Bill Masen is taken to hospital, his eyes bandaged, after having been splashed with triffid poison. Overnight an unexpected and spectacular meteor shower takes place.

At first Bill is disappointed to have missed the spectacle however The next morning, he learns that the light from the unusual display has rendered any who watched it completely blind. After unbandaging his eyes he wanders through an anarchic London full of blind inhabitants, and later becomes enamored of wealthy novelist Josella Playton, forcibly used as a guide by a blind man. Intrigued by a single light on top of Senate House in an otherwise darkened city, Bill and Josella discover a group of sighted survivors led by a man named Beadley, who plans to establish a colony in the countryside, and decide to join the group. Then a man called Wilfred Coker kidnaps a number of sighted individuals, including Bill and Josella. They are each chained to a blind person and assigned to lead a squadron of the blind, collecting food and other supplies, while beset by escaped triffids and rival scavengers.

Unfortunately Masen’s followers start dying of an unknown disease so he attempts to relocate Josella, but his only lead is an address left behind by Beadley’s group. Joined by a repentant Coker, Masen drives to the address, a country estate called Tynsham in Wiltshire, but finds neither Beadley nor Josella. Masen eventually finds Josella at her friends’ country home in Sussex, while Coker returns to Tynsham and later rejoins Beadley

En route, Masen is joined by a young sighted girl named Susan. Along with other refugees, some of them blind, they attempt to establish a self-sufficient colony in Sussex, menaced by triffids. Beadley meanwhile establishes another colony on the Isle of Wight. Masen is reluctant to leave his colony in Sussex and journey to the Isle of Wight however a series of events beyond his control mean that Masen and his followers eventually do leave their colony and flee to the Isle of Wight. Mason posits that the Triffids were first bioengineered in a secret research facility, and managed to escape and with no natural enemies, have rapidly spread worldwide and are running amok, now he is determined to destroy the triffids and reclaim Earth…

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