Dan Sandman

01: The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham

In Books, Fiction, Science Fiction on 03/01/2014 at 12:00 pm

The Midwich Cuckoos by John WyndhamThis science fiction novel, written in 1957, takes place in a small and quiet village called Midwich. Nothing much happens in Midwich, it is the quintessential conservative outpost of Little Britain. However, once a group of golden-eyed babies are miraculously conceived, unsettling events start to unfold.

Written during the Cold War, John Wyndham’s story skillfully dealt with government conspiracies and cover ups within the sci-fi genre. Throughout the book, the spectre of military intelligence looms over proceedings. Characters are controlled by the state, in addition they are controlled by stranger forces. As the book progresses, at a good pace, the mysterious plot is slowly and carefully unraveled, creating a strong sense of tension. Dialogue is frequently used to spark philosophical debate, to represent the intellectual views of the time, and perhaps reflect those of the author.

In 1971 Penguin Books sold slim paperbacks for 30p – such as this one I found secondhand in a library book sale. They are a great size for putting in your pocket and for enjoying on train journeys. Nowadays, books are pricey, rising far above inflation, and e-books aren’t much cheaper. I think these perfectly formed little editions represent a rose-tinted and nostalgic Great British past. A time before the internet when the library was still king and quiet villages slept in peace amongst green meadows.

A simpler time, unreal and never-lasting.

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