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The kraken wakes by John Wyndham

The kraken wakes (original 1953; edition 1964)

by John Wyndham

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1,295356,051 (3.66)72
Title:The kraken wakes
Authors:John Wyndham
Info:Penguin (1964), Unknown Binding
Collections:Your library

Work details

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 Great Wash (UK) / The Secret Masters (US) by Gerald Kersh (SomeGuyInVirginia)
  7. 00
    After the Rain by John Bowen (edwinbcn)

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» See also 72 mentions

English (32)  Danish (2)  German (1)  All (35)
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Aliens from Jupiter invade the deep sea in the 1950s, we nuke them, they kidnap thousands then melt the ice caps. Much jolly japery about the Russkies. Interestingly prescient account of the horrors of rapid sea level rise. ( )
  adzebill | Apr 29, 2017 |
Typical Wyndham, which is a Good Thing. This one gets off to a slow start, building gradually over several years, before the world realizes that the situation is dire. Published in 1953, the Cold War is heavily present through most of the book, but almost everything that happens could just as well take place in the present. Outside of the use of radio as the primary method of disseminating news, most of the technology and attitudes are familiar. Which is pretty scary. There are strong, unavoidable parallels to the current situation with climate change, and the general attitude of "We don't know what to do, so let's pretend it isn't happening." We see governments acting as governments do, military acting as military does, regular people acting as regular people do, and media following the orders of government rather more than one would expect today. The hero is the usual competent, stoic type, but with an unexpected interlude of PTSD. Then there's his wife, the ever-resourceful Phyllis. She provides most of the personality in the book (although that isn't necessarily saying a lot). As much as I liked the pair of them, I wanted to take a pen and cross out the word "darling" every time they used it. Especially when it was used multiple times in a single conversation. While The Kraken Wakes is not going to replace The Day of the Triffids in my affections, I did like it very much. ( )
  SylviaC | Oct 25, 2016 |
Trilogy: The Day of the Triffids, The Kraken Wakes, The Crysalids.

the Kraken Wakes has nothing to do with a Kraken. It is an alien invasion story. Human never see the enemy. It is a story about specific sea-based threat, the ecological implication, the discovery of ways to disable the threat. The enemy is unseen, it is a battle based on symptoms, like medical battles.
  drbrendan | Jul 2, 2016 |
Every time I review a John Wyndham I can not resist defending him against the “Cosy Catastrophe” label foisted upon him by [a: Brian Aldiss|33297|Brian W. Aldiss|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1333457329p2/33297.jpg]. The allegation is that Wyndham tends to write books where the middle class white protagonist is not much inconvenienced by the catastrophe affecting the general populace. He just holes up somewhere nice, smoking his cigars until it is all over. I have always felt this is unfair as his central characters get into plenty of scrapes in the books I read.

Having said that, the first half of The Kraken Wakes really does seem to justify this denunciation. It starts off very cosy and shuffles along amiably until all hell breaks loose in the novel's second half. The basic storyline is that some mysterious fireballs from outer space fall into deep oceans and soon ships start disappearing in the middle of their voyage. The word "alien" is not used in this book but yeah, bloody aliens are at it again. On the whole The Kraken Wakes reminds me a little bit of Wells’ [b: The War of the Worlds|497179|The Time Machine/The War of the Worlds|H.G. Wells|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1357744876s/497179.jpg|1156369] in that some aliens show up, start decimating mankind with their weird death machines, then bugger off. I would say that on the whole Wells’ book is superior but the second half of this book gives Wells a run for his money.

The Kraken Wakes is split into three “phases” (excluding the prologue), in the first phase the fireballs appear and ships start disappearing, in the second phase the aliens begin their attack on coastal towns, and the third phase is the apocalypse. The book is quite nicely structured with the occasional jumps in the timeline to up the intrigue factor. There is an obvious tonal shift from the first half of the book to the second. Initially the first person narrative is written in rather jovial vernacular language. A lot of time is spent on investigating the underwater mystery through news reports and expositions from the novel’s main boffin, Professor Bocker. The two main characters Mike and Phyllis Watson are journalists through whose eyes we see the events of the novel. They are a lovely couple, always ready with their cute bantering and terms of endearment, some of their lovey dovey dialogue made me a little nauseous. In the meantime the scientists and the military spend half the book barking up the wrong tree.

I was getting a little tired of the cosy jocularity until the middle of Phase 2 when the aliens proceed with their land incursions. The book suddenly becomes quite thrilling with the advent of the invading “sea tanks” which are made from organic matter rather than metal; an early example of biotechnological machines. The war with the aliens takes up the rest of Phase 2 with humanity giving a pretty good account of ourselves though the war continues. In Phase 3 the aliens engineer a major global disaster and civilization has broken down. This is the most thrilling part of the book, as despair sets in and the cosy atmosphere is suddenly gone. The situation looks grim for mankind and even our middle class protagonists are in danger. The ending of the war again reminds me of [b: The War of the Worlds|497179|The Time Machine/The War of the Worlds|H.G. Wells|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1357744876s/497179.jpg|1156369] as it is almost a “deus ex machina”, even though it makes sense there is no build up to it and it feels like Wyndham just simply pulled the solution out of his posterior. Though I like the more epic feel of the story as the war with the aliens goes on for several years rather than just over a wild weekend, and life on Earth is never the same again afterwards.

By the end of the book my faith in John Wyndham is entirely restored. I feel like the lighthearted tone of the earlier part of the book is a misstep for the story Wyndham wanted to tell, once the tone shifts into darker apocalyptic territory he is firing from all cylinders. So 3 stars for the first half of the book, and 5 stars for the second, that averages out to 3.5 but as this is not actually maths I’d say 4 stars is more appropriate! ( )
  apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
I didn't exactly like this one. There were some really good parts but the majority of the novel was quite boring. Lots of deliberation surrounding what was causing it all (with an unnecessary focus on Russians) and continued focus on how every thing was affecting economies and politics. It was a tedious read for me. ( )
  ebethiepaige | Oct 20, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (6 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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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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Average: (3.66)
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