I read The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham as a young teenager and I was completely intrigued by this story. I re-read a few years ago when I went through a John Wyndham phase and read all of his books, some for the first time and some for the second.
The Day of the Triffids still fascinates me. It is the story of a man who, by sheer good luck, ends up one a the few sighted people left in the world. A meteor shower one evening delights the whole world and people turn out in droves to watch the natural spectacular. The following morning all those who watched the “show” wake up blind.
The human race has discovered an unusual meat eating plant with a vicious sting that can injure, or even kill, human beings. The plants also have the ability to move. Despite their threatening nature, the plants, called triffids, are grown so that their very desirable oil can be extracted for use by humanity.
In a world of mainly blind humans, it soon becomes apparent that the triffids are no longer the inferior species but have an advantage of the majority of the humans. The triffids also reproduce very prolifically.
To me, the most interesting aspect of this book is how quickly human society starts to break down under duress. Many of the remaining sighted humans take advantage of the blind, abusing them and forcing them to work for them. It is an insightful story about the fragility of human society and provides an interesting philosophical point of view.
I have seen variations of this story idea in more modern books.
John Wyndham is a English writer who died at the age of 66 on 11 March 1969. He is well know of his post-apocalyptic landscape books including The Chrysalids, The Kraken Wakes. He also wrote the well known Midwich Cuckoos which was filmed twice as The Village of the Damned.