Ships are sinking for no apparent reason, carrying hundreds to a dark underwater grave. Strange fireballs race through the sky above the deepest trenches of the oceans. Something is about to show itself, something terrible and alien, a force capable of causing global catastrophe.
Matthew's parents are worried. At eleven, he's much too old to have an imaginary friend, yet they find him talking to and arguing with a presence that even he admits is not physically there. This presence - Chocky - causes Matthew to ask difficult questions and say startling things: he speaks of complex mathematics and mocks human progress. Then, when Matthew does something incredible, it seems there is more than the imaginary about Chocky. Which is when others become interested and ask questions of their own: who is Chocky? And what could it want with an eleven-year-old boy?
Francis Saxover and Diana Brackley, two scientists investigating a rare lichen, discover it has a remarkable property: it retards the aging process. Francis, realising the implications for the world of an ever-youthful, wealthy elite, wants to keep it secret, but Diana sees an opportunity to overturn the male status quo by using the lichen to inspire a feminist revolution.
As each scientist wrestles with the implications and practicalities of exploiting the discovery, the world comes ever closer to learning the truth . . .
Trouble With Lichen is a scintillating story of the power wielded by science in our lives and asks how much trust should we place in those we appoint to be its guardians?
A millionaire English lord dreams of founding a Utopian community on a remote Pacific island. Among the forty-odd men and women selected for the project are a pestologist named Camilla and the narrator. Within hours of the group's arrival on the sunny isle their radio has been destroyed. Within days several members of the group are dead. Dream turns to nightmare as they discover the island is overrun by a species programmed to resist and dominate any invader.
It was just a smooth round metal ball, less than a metre in diameter. Although it was still hot from its journey through the huge nothingness of space, it looked quite harmless. But what was it, exactly? A meteor, perhaps - just one of those pieces of rock from outer space that occasionallyfall down on to the planet Earth. But meteors don't usually make strange hissing sounds . . . In this collection of four of his famous science-fiction stories, John Wyndham creates visions of the future that make us think carefully about the way we live now.
In the sleepy English village of Midwich, a mysterious silver object appears and all the inhabitants fall unconscious. A day later the object is gone and everyone awakens unharmed – except that all the women in the village are discovered to be pregnant.
The resultant children of Midwich do not belong to their parents: all are blonde, all are golden eyed. They grow up too fast and their minds exhibit frightening abilities that give them control over others and brings them into conflict with the villagers just as a chilling realisation dawns on the world outside...
The Midwich Cuckoos is the classic tale of aliens in our midst, exploring how we respond when confronted by those who are innately superior to us in every conceivable way.
John Wyndham wrote strong, imaginative fiction years before fame came his way, and this is a collection of some of his pieces from those days.
Already remarkable are his sense of movement, his sense of invention, his sense of style. The title story of this collection foreshadows frighteningly such later novels as THE KRAKEN WAKES and THE MIDWICH CUCKOOS with its suggestion of time when man is no longer the dominant creature on Earth.
And The Last Lunarians and The Derelict of Space show how well he researched his material, long before space ships had struck out for the moon and the idea of inter-planetary travel had become commonplace.
This is truly another fascinating piece of evidence of John Wyndham's remarkable talent as a seer and storyteller.
The "New Sea" was teeming with a secret life. It was the greatest engineering feat -- the flooding of part of the Sahara Desert. But the new waters that covered up the land also threatened to destroy an ancient, secret civilization beneath the earth. When Mark Sunnet's plane crashed into the New Sea, he and his beautiful companion, Margaret Lawn, were taken prisoner by these secret people. They were taken deep beneath the earth into strange, dark caverns. Caverns that seemed to hold no hope for escape. But Mark and Margaret had to escape. For now, suddenly, they were faced with two terrors -- the secret people who were to be their executioners and the merciless New Sea that threatened to kill them all. . . .
In 1951 John Wyndham published his novel The Day of the Triffids to moderate acclaim. Fifty-two years later, this horrifying story is a science fiction classic, touted by The Times (London) as having “all the reality of a vividly realized nightmare.”
Bill Masen, bandages over his wounded eyes, misses the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. Removing his bandages the next morning, he finds masses of sightless people wandering the city. He soon meets Josella, another lucky person who has retained her sight, and together they leave the city, aware that the safe, familiar world they knew a mere twenty-four hours before is gone forever.
But to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids, strange plants that years before began appearing all over the world. The Triffids can grow to over seven feet tall, pull their roots from the ground to walk, and kill a man with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers. With society in shambles, they are now poised to prey on humankind. Wyndham chillingly anticipates bio-warfare and mass destruction, fifty years before their realization, in this prescient account of Cold War paranoia.
The 'outward urge' was a factor in the Troon inheritance. Successive generations of Troons, looking up at the stars, heard the siren voices that called them out into Space. And, as the frontiers of Space receded, there was usually one Troon, if not more, out there, helping to push them back.
The four exciting episodes related here deal with the parts they played in the building of the Space Station, the occupation of the Moon, the first landing on Mars, and the trouble about Venus.
John Wyndham, author of The Day of the Triffids and The Kraken Wakes, stays strictly on the tram-lines of future possibility in this book, which he has written in collaboration with Lucas Parkes as technical adviser. In an age in which what goes up need not necessarily come down, the likely adventures of the Conquistadors of Space are every bit as exciting as any world menaced by triffids.
'The story is, given its fiction status, quite credible and is most readable' - World Science Review.
N.B. Penguin number is 1544.
The six stories in Consider Her Ways: And Others, the second collecton of John Wyndham's short tales, continue his exploration of the science fiction staple - what if?
In the title story we are introduced to a world where all the men have been killed by a virus and women continue to survive in a strict caste system - bottom of the heap are the mothers. In others we meet the man who accidentally summons a devil and then has to find a way of getting rid of him without losing his immortal soul, as well as the woman who, thanks to an experiment in time, discovers why her lover abandoned her.
Oh Where, Now, is Peggy MacRafferty? is a social satire on Hollywood glamour in which a bright, individual young Irish woman becomes part of the celebrity circuit, and loses all that makes her special in the process of becoming a star.
Random Quest combines romance and parallel universes.
A Long Spoon is the story of how a demon is summoned by mistake and the lengths the couple that invoked him have to go to get rid of him without losing their souls in the bargain.