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The kraken wakes by John Wyndham

The kraken wakes (original 1953; edition 1964)

by John Wyndham

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1,166306,950 (3.65)67
Title:The kraken wakes
Authors:John Wyndham
Info:Penguin (1964), Unknown Binding
Collections:Your library

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The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham (1953)

  1. 20
    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (generalkala)
  2. 10
    War with the Newts by Karel Čapek (bertilak)
  3. 10
    Flood by Stephen Baxter (bertilak)
    bertilak: Two different accounts of extreme increases of sea level.
  4. 00
    The Black Cloud by Fred Hoyle (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: There are similarities in style and content between Hoyle and Wyndham. Two classics of British Sci Fi.
  5. 00
    The Swarm by Frank Schätzing (divinenanny)
    divinenanny: Almost the same premis, but expanded and modernised.
  6. 00
    The Secret Masters by Gerald Kersh (SomeGuyInVirginia)
  7. 00
    After the Rain by John Bowen (edwinbcn)

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» See also 67 mentions

English (26)  Danish (2)  German (1)  All languages (29)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
We considered the charts again in silence.
‘People,’ I told him, ‘are continually quoting to me things that the illustrious Holmes said to my namesake, but this time I’ll do the quoting: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Which is to say that if it is no terrestrial nation that is doing this, then – ?’
‘That isn’t the kind of solution I like,’ he said.
‘It’s not the kind of solution anyone would like,’ I agreed.

Groups of red fireballs descend through the atmosphere, and when their trajectories are plotted it seems that they have all are likely to have landed in the deepest parts of the Ocean. Several years later strange evens start to happen at sea, and it takes a while for the two sets of phenomena to be linked.

The book starts with Mike Watson deciding to write a book about what has happened since the fireballs first appeared and then skips back to Mike and his wife Phyllis on their honeymoon cruise, seeing one of the earliest groups of fireballs land in the sea. Mike and Phyllis are radio journalists working for the EBC, and on their return to work they find that any stories related to the fireballs end up on their desks. They seem to have an unusually equal marriage for the early 1950s, indulging in lots of light-hearted banter and often working together, with Phyl's charm helping to get them information that they might not have got otherwise. They are present when the British navy attempts to send a manned bathysphere thousands of fathoms down at the place where a ship disappeared without trace, and after that ends disastrously things go from bad to worse, with the alien creatures in the deeps finding new ways to attack humanity over the next few years. Apparently the British and American versions of this book have different endings and I read the British version which ends on a hopeful note.

I hadn't read The Kraken Wakes since I was a teenager, but I always remembered it as being my favourite of John Wyndham's book, although I had forgotten all of the characters and almost all of the plot. But because I remembered so little I was able to enjoy it as if it was completely new to me. ( )
  isabelx | Sep 1, 2015 |
Consider this book a cross between Wyndham's most famous book, Day of the Triffids, and H G Wells' War of the worlds. Into an already edgy cold war climate come creatures which live in the deepest parts of our oceans and possess advanced technology. Weather it's our fault or theirs things escalate and only one species can survive.
There were two things I liked about this classic science fiction story. The first is Wyndham's playing with the media and the governmental spin put on the events being described in the book. He portray's his government and governments in general as completely useless when they are most needed. The other thing I liked was that Wyndham makes no attempt at any point to describe some monster from the deeps for us. He leaves everything up to our imaginations which, lets face it, can come up with all sorts of horrors to fill the gaps the author leaves. ( )
  ecumenicalcouncil | Jan 2, 2014 |
Fantastic stuff. I've started reading or-rereading Wyndham's novels this year (I recently read [b:The Midwich Cuckoos|826847|The Midwich Cuckoos|John Wyndham|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1178729404s/826847.jpg|812592]) and I'm struck by how low-key they seem. Not for Wyndham the heat-ray or giant mechanical monsters of [a:H.G. Wells|880695|H.G. Wells|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1201281795p2/880695.jpg]'s prototypic alien invasion, instead there's more of the mystery and foreboding with the realisation that there is a threat to be dealt with only coming when it's far to late to do anything about it even if anything had been possible before.

The fact that we never know what the 'bathies' look like or their motivations or really anything about them is ever known makes them all the more effective antagonists: creepy and unpredictable, unlike the more conventional human enemy of the Soviet Union, to whom at first their activities are linked. And again, these activities don't start on a flash-bang Hollywood movie set-piece scale - there are just some odd things happening at sea.

Meanwhile, the characters are also fantastic. Michael and Phyllis Watson both know which of them is in charge, and the strong character of the wife makes it all the more effective when she begins to break down and lose hope.

Great book. I think [b:The Day of the Triffids|530965|The Day of the Triffids|John Wyndham|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1283043614s/530965.jpg|188517] is next for me! ( )
  stevejwales | Apr 26, 2013 |
The Kraken Wakes is similar in tone to Wyndham's other invasion books -- The Day of the Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos. Similar in plot, too, I suppose, but I just don't get tired of this kind of story, apparently. There are similar themes in play about two intelligent species inevitably coming into conflict (which also arises to some extent in The Chrysalids).

The whole management of the media bit amused me rather, and made me wonder to what extent it's really true that any individual reporters would be trying to do that balancing act. Particularly when I see headlines like 'Paralysed dog taught to walk again' and 'Invisible hearing aid' when I'm watching my sister read the paper at lunch, for some reason, and it seems so very incongruous with the life or death stuff I'm reading... I just have to imagine them carefully deciding how much truth readers can take about, say, how the dog became paralysed.

Oh, except the sinking of a Russian ship that popped up on my twitter feed, from CNN, just as I was reading about the mysterious disappearances of ships in The Kraken Wakes -- that I could picture being carefully handled and spun by the reporters.

The ethics of these characters is particularly noticeable, I suppose, with the recent discovery of The News of the World's little breaches of ethics.

Once again, this rides the line between horror and SF, I think -- through both horrific imagery and a sense of the uncanny when ships disappear and strange things happen to them. It's not that scary though -- partially, I think, due to the measured pace and tone, and the fact that it's written after the events have taken place (so the characters must, perforce have survived). ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
Having read and enjoyed a number of John Wyndham's books when I was younger, I spotted this in the local charity shop and picked it up.

It builds very slowly, and for about two thirds of the novel I felt I was reading a fairly average, fairly unoriginal sci fi. But by the the last section I found myself thoroughly enjoying the book. The catastrophic scenario envisaged towards the end of the novel is genuinely frightening, especially since it is so close to many current scientific predictions concerning the melting of the polar ice caps and rising sea levels.

It certainly feels of its time (it was published in 1953) - the characterisation of the female characters is pretty poor and reliant on stereotypes, and the Cold War is an ever present theme. The presentation of Russia is actually very funny at times - "The sea, he [the Russian leader] appeared to be arguing, was causing a great deal of inconvenience to the West; therefore it must be acting on good dialectically materialistic principles."

Unfortunately, I found the ending pretty weak. It seemed a little rushed, and like Wyndham had tried to come up with a quick fix to prevent his readers coming away too depressed.

I would still recommend it, although don't expect the quality of H. G. Wells, as promised by the blurb on the back cover! It did though provide me with a few evenings light and exciting reading, which was just what I was after. ( )
  themayfly | Mar 31, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wyndham, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bacon, C.W.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buddingh', C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jennings, AlexNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kannosto, MattiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lord, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salwowski, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Willock, HarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The nearest iceberg looked firmly grounded.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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It all began with a series of fireballs falling into the oceans. When the Admiralty began to investigate, they found that their equipment and personnel disappeared deep underwater.

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