By the end of 1950, I was reading Astounding, F&SF, Galaxy and Groff Conklin anthologies. Just when I was thinking that wasn't enough, Collier's landed in the mailbox, and I was gone with the Wyndham, entranced by the slow dance of the killing plants.
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (1903-69) first appeared in Collier's (January 6, 1951) as Revolt of the Triffids, an abridged serial. Above, courtesy of Canadian-based art historian and cartoonist Leif Ping, is Fred Banbery's illustration for the serial's conclusion in Collier's (February 3, 1951). Banbery (1913-99) also created covers for Alfred Hitchcock books, including a compelling composite of Hitchcock's head with a Psycho-like house.
With an Earle Bergey cover illustration, Revolt of the Triffids was published by Popular Library in March 1952. In 1957 it was adapted for BBC Radio, followed by the disappointing 1962 movie starring Howard Keel. It was effectively dramatized by the BBC in a 1981 television mini-series of six episodes. Now the BBC has announced a TV remake scheduled to air in 2009 in two feature-length parts. This new version will be set in the year 2011. Meanwhile, Steven Spielberg has acquired the film rights to another Wyndham novel, Chocky.
The startling synchronicity described below was in the Comments section beneath an article on the new remake at BBC News Archive.
My very freaky Triffids story... I first saw this when I was eight and it has haunted me ever since. Finally I found it in 2005 on DVD in a local store. I rushed home and started to watch what I'd waited so long to see. But it wasn't as scary or haunting as I remember. Then, out of nowhere, came the most frightening thing. In the scene where Bill is taken to a hotel with a group of blind people to look after, the scenery starts to look very familiar. It's my street. The minibus then pulls up to the hotel. And guess what? The hotel is my house! The shot freezes on my bedroom window - the very room where I'm watching the DVD, 24 years after it was filmed. My apartment is in an old building that used to be a hotel. So I must have seen my future home when I first saw the series back in 1982. What does it all mean? Any ideas? Is it the end of the world?
G Ben, London, UK
Below is part one of The Invisible Man of Science Fiction, a documentary about Wyndham which was telecast in 2005 on BBC Four. See YouTube for the other parts.
Discussion of triffids terror on The Colbert Report:
Junot Diaz: Cane fields are scary. Any time you drive by them, they're like triffids. They clack in the wind. I guess as a kid I was terrified of them.
Stephen Colbert: You're the very first guest to ever make a triffids reference.
Diaz: I don't know if that's the saddest thing I ever heard.
Colbert: It's a great honor. You've achieved a level of nerddom that is heretofore... We might have to check the building for structural damage. You geeked out so hard on me. People at home are rushing to Wikipedia to find out what triffids are.