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John Wyndham: The Chrysalids

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John Wyndham is a British science fiction author best known for his novels The Day of the Triffids and The Chrysalids. Born in 1903, Wyndham began his writing career in the 1930s, but it wasn’t until the publication of The Day of the Triffids in 1951 that he gained widespread recognition. The Chrysalids, published in 1955, is considered one of his most important works and is a testament to his skill as a storyteller.

John Wyndham

The Chrysalids is set in a post-apocalyptic world where deviations from the norm, whether physical or mental, are not tolerated. The novel follows the story of David Strorm, a young boy living in a small, isolated community, as he discovers the truth about the world outside and the true nature of the “deviations.” Through David’s eyes, Wyndham explores themes of tolerance, acceptance, and the dangers of dogma.

One of the most striking things about The Chrysalids is the way Wyndham is able to create a believable and fully-realized world that is both terrifying and all too possible. The society he depicts is one where deviations are hunted down and eliminated, and where conformity is the only acceptable option. This serves as a chilling reminder of the dangers of extremism and the importance of tolerance and acceptance.

The Chrysalids

Another important aspect of the novel is the way it explores the concept of what it means to be human. Through the characters of the “deviations,” Wyndham challenges the reader to question their own assumptions about what it means to be human, and to consider the idea that true humanity is not determined by physical or mental characteristics, but by one’s ability to think, feel, and empathize.

The Chrysalids is a novel that is both thought-provoking and entertaining, and it is a testament to Wyndham’s skill as a storyteller. It is a novel that will stay with the reader long after they have finished reading it and it is a fitting legacy for one of the most important science fiction authors of the 20th century.

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One thought to “John Wyndham: The Chrysalids”

  1. At the risk of spoiling a 68-year-old novel, the ending shows that the ‘good guys’ can be just as bad as the bad guys. Even worse, perhaps.

    Wyndham doesn’t make it explicit. He counts on readers to figure it out themselves.

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