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      A Cure for Suicide

      Jesse Ball 9781101870129

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Other titles in the Modern Library 20th Century Rediscovery series:

The Day of the Triffids (Modern Library 20th Century Rediscovery)


The Day of the Triffids (Modern Library 20th Century Rediscovery) Cover

ISBN13: 9780812967128
ISBN10: 0812967127
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

1. Some critics of The Day of the Triffids believe the novel is devoid of ideas and was written merely to please a destruction-hungry audience. However, there are many instances in the novel where morale, literature, and law and order are discussed and debated. Do you think this is a technique to simply further the action of the story or was Wyndham inserting political views?

2. Bill and Josella encounter a handful of new societies in their apocalyptic world. What are the social theories behind each? Why did they fail or succeed? If they did fail, could anything have been done to help the societies succeed? If any of these societies were formed in the present day, would they survive?

3. Which society would you yourself join and why?

4. Bill witnesses many suicides without interfering, and even helps three people kill themselves, actions that in the 1950s were against the law. How can he, from his own accounts a decent, law-abiding citizen, move so easily into depravity? Why, after we witness this depravity, do we still sympathize with him? Is Wyndham commenting on his countrys laws and culture?

5. The Day of the Triffidss main characters are all decidedly bourgeois, as are the casts of many other sci-fi novels. How does this affect the themes and action of the story?

6. Do you appreciate the love story between Bill and Josella? Did Wyndham intend it to play a role in the action or was he simply inserting some human interest into the plot?

7. The literary theory Marxism states a piece of literature cannot be critiqued without studying the politics, economics, and culture of the time period it was written in. Hence, no text is universal or forever timely. Do you agree with this theory? Is The Day of the Triffids universal or timely? If yes, is this inherent in the actual text or our present-day culture?

8. Some critics feel Wyndhams ultimate message is one of doom; humans are forced to live on a small island with no relief or chance for re-populating the earth. Other critics feel Wyndham meant his book to be hopeful; societys ills, including those which produced the triffids and mass-destruction weapons, are wiped out and society can start afresh. What view do you hold?

9. Many critics have compared Wyndham to H.G. Wells, who was actually one of Wyndhams favorite writers. Do you consider the two writers on the same level, both in their imagination and their writing talents?

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Gold Gato, March 26, 2014 (view all comments by Gold Gato)
It's always nice to know that sometimes I bring up the rear when it comes to reading certain books. Apparently, I am one of the last book lovers on earth to finish this sci-fi classic. Most appropriate, given the content.

"In the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king."

The Wellsian short story served as the basis for this Wyndham classic, but the author also reached further into the ways the industrial revolution had made functionaries of humans. Civil service. Existence with no focus. Overreliance on so-called leaders (noted here as 'The Americans'). Take away the normal daily routine of the average citizen and chaos ensues. Other times, other customs. The spectacular becomes the commonplace. The various themes explored by Wyndham are spot-on and rather scary. As a reader, I certainly worried more about the remaining humans than I did about the plants. The hero grew on me, especially with his ability to adapt quickly because of the new freedom he perceived.

I also have strange plants in my garden. Echium (Pride of Madeira), which is nasty when rubbed against. They have now re-seeded without my assistance and are taking over most of the remaining space. They should be learning to walk soon...I plan to be on their side.

NOTE: while there was a movie title with the book's name, the real movie related to this book is 28 DAYS LATER. Replace the zombies with the Triffs.

Book Season = Spring (the frog is never wrong)
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cwelgin, September 25, 2011 (view all comments by cwelgin)
In order to read this book and enjoy it, you have to put yourself back in the time period in which it was written. This is a 'classic' sci-fi novel. Its dated.

First of all, you have over reaching elements of early space exploration (Sputnik), the cold war, and limited communication. If you think about the plot and the meteor shower that opens this story and the subsequent blindness worldwide, its sort of stretching plausibility. But if you go with it and read on, your in for a historical treat.

Im sure your aware, The Triffids are these carnivorous plants that humans originally planted for the oils they produced. Only when everyone went blind, the plants were able to break out and hunt down the humans. They could think collectively.

This is sort of like a zombie novel before Romero and Night of the Living Dead. This is also written as a memoir... from the point of view of a survivor. Its well done and holds up well.
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patch, November 25, 2007 (view all comments by patch)
I read this knowing that it's on everyone's recommended reading list for great classic sci-fi, knowing I should read it, but I didn't really expect to like it. I got sucked into the plot and spat out again on the other side, looking at my garden in a very suspicious fashion. Some of the science and sociology seems a little naive, but the characterization is absorbing and the burning desire to find out "what happens next??" was more than enough to get me hooked.
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Product Details

Morris, Edmund
Modern Library
Introduction by:
Morris, Edmund
Morris, Edmund
Morris, Edmund
Wyndham, John
New York
Science Fiction - General
Science fiction
Plant mutation.
Science / General
Science Fiction and Fantasy-A to Z
Edition Number:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
20th Century Rediscoveries
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
7.98x5.35x.56 in. .45 lbs.

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Reference » Words Phrases and Language

The Day of the Triffids (Modern Library 20th Century Rediscovery) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 256 pages Modern Library - English 9780812967128 Reviews:
"Review" by , "My son's middle name is Wyndham. Does that tell you how much I respect and revere the late John Wyndham? And The Day of the Triffids is the best of them all. He was a wonderful writer who was able to reinvigorate science fiction with spectacle and true thrills, and do so with a writing voice that created both suspense and elegance. A true master."
"Review" by , "A thoroughly English apocalypse, it rivals H. G. Wells in conveying how the everyday invaded by the alien would feel. No wonder Stephen King admires Wyndham so much."
"Review" by , "John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids is one of my all-time favorite novels. It's absolutely convincing, full of little telling details, and that sweet, warm sensation of horror and mystery."
"Synopsis" by , Wyndham chillingly envisions biowarfare and mass destruction in an account that seems even more prescient today than when it first appeared in 1951 at the height of cold war paranoia.
"Synopsis" by , US
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