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The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

The Chrysalids (1955)

by John Wyndham

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 205 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 74 (next | show all)
One of John Wyndham's classics. A must-read for anyone who likes science fiction. ( )
  turtlesleap | Dec 12, 2013 |
Published in England as The Chrysalids, this book was one of my early favorites. Notable for providing lyrics to one of the early Jefferson Airplane songs, "Crown of Creation" (and one of my favorite understated quotes). ( )
  Lyndatrue | Nov 26, 2013 |
Brian Aldiss is supposed to have coined the term cozy catastrophe to cover John Wyndham's books, but I've never been able to see anything cozy about The Chrysalids, which is my favourite of all Wyndham's books and one of my overall favourite reads from my teenage years. Set in a much warmer Labrador of the far future after a nuclear holocaust has engulfed the world, it depicts an agrarian society where mutations (clearly caused by the high radiation levels) are common. But having no understanding of radiation, and very little understanding of the civilisation that preceded them, people have interpreted its destruction as 'Tribulation' sent by God to punish an evil world. And the only way to prevent tribulation from revisiting them is to root out all mutations, whether human, animal or plant, which depart in any way from the norms laid down by their forefathers. No matter how human a mutant might look, no matter how small might be their departure from the norm, they are merely soulless copies sent by the devil to tempt humans away from the true path laid down for them by God.

Into this world comes David Strorm: seemingly born to a secure life as the only son of a prosperous farmer who owns the biggest farm in the district. But his father is also strict in his persecution of mutants, strict to the point of bigotry some would say, and as the young David realises that he is different from virtually all others around him, even though apparently physically normal, his life becomes a struggle to hide his true nature. And when his younger sister Petra is born, the struggle becomes nearly impossible.

This is a book which, although short, deals with a lot of underlying questions of what it means to be human. Without giving anything away, I can say that I've always found the ending thought-provoking and disturbing. And even though I've read this several times before I enjoyed it equally as much when re-reading it again. Highly recommended. ( )
  SandDune | Apr 20, 2013 |
I've been meaning to read The Chrysalids since it was mentioned in Among Others (reading books Mori mentions hasn't steered me wrong, so far). I'm glad I got round to it. I enjoyed Wyndham's Day of the Triffids, but I enjoyed The Chrysalids rather more: I fell in love with the way he created a whole post-apocalyptic world in just a few pages. I loved all the details of it -- harsh and oppressive as it would be to live that life, it's a fantastic read for someone interested in post-apocalyptic dystopia.

It wasn't, really, all that new to me, the modern reader. Still, it felt like it was, somehow. It leaves one wanting more, too. The ending is open enough that goodness knows what could happen, and the reader is given plenty they have to work out for themselves.

Character-wise, I suppose it wasn't that strong, as the only characters who stood out to me strongly were the really central ones. Most of the group, I don't think I'll remember their names tomorrow. David and Rosalind do have a sweetness to them, but at the same time, if I think of what marked them out as people... David's uncle, who kills someone to keep their secret, and supports David and helps him despite his difference, he's actually perhaps the most memorable to me, in a way.

There is, by the by, a lot of moral ambiguity.

I'll be keeping my copy of The Chrysalids, for sure. I'll want to come back to it. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
I was very surprised to find this book as good as I did. In general I don't care for futuristic, sci-fi stuff, and this one does have its holes. However, the discourse on "image of God" and perfection and evolution and change was very good and still relevant. Almost theological and philosophical. I'm sure most of that discussion is over the heads of students who read the book (often gr9 or less academic senior students), but there's enough plot-action to entertain those who just read for story, not philosophy/message.

I think one of the holes that bothered me most is the telepathy that David has with his friends. How it works isn't well explained. How do they turn it on and off, yet allow it to be on in a way to understand each other's deeper thoughts? Also, their thoughts are described as pictures or images, yet the author conveys them by words. Their thought-dialogues are often complex and abstract -- how are images used to convey such intricate messages? Intuition and feeling type thoughts make more sense than images. But the concept in itself is interesting. Also interesting if you transcribe that method of communication to today's use of text-messaging -- communication across distance in a way that no one else knows (okay, there are some holes in the analogy) that you can turn on and off, but you've never had to meet the person for the communication to exist. Not quite the same, but for me, noticing the similarities added a contemporary angle to the story. ( )
  LDVoorberg | Apr 7, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 74 (next | show all)
Wyndham lumbers his characters with some verbose, pompous speeches about human nature, but his points are still interesting and as relevant today as when he wrote the book in 1955. It's also a ripping adventure.
added by andyl | editThe Observer, Alice Fisher (Dec 7, 2008)

» Add other authors (50 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Wyndhamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harrison, M. JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leger, PatrickIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lord, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malcolm, GraemeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powell, RobertNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, Richard M.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Priest, ChristopherIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salwowski, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
When I was quite small I would sometimes dream of a city -- which was strange because it began before I even knew what a city was.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Re-Birth is the US title of The Chrysalids.
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Book description
In the community of Waknuk it is believed mutants are the products of the Devil and must be stamped out. When David befriends a girl with a slight abnormality, he begins to understand the nature of fear and oppression. When he develops his own deviation, he must learn to conceal his secret.
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First pub. 1955. Science fiction takes place many centuries after a devastation nuclear war. Enclaves of life are cut off from one another by vast areas of radiation contamination.

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Two editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

Three editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141181478, 0141032979, 0141045434

NYRB Classics

An edition of this book was published by NYRB Classics.

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