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The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
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The Chrysalids (1955)

by John Wyndham

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,474932,169 (3.92)261
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» See also 261 mentions

English (93)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (95)
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
The heavy-handed evolutionary philosophy gets a bit much--okay, way too much, and you think of a bunch of dusty English baby boomer granddads saying things like "change is life" and "ripeness is all" and being indulged in their outmoded opinions on like immigration--but oh it is laid over the rippingest of yarns. ( )
  MeditationesMartini | May 22, 2018 |
I may have read a Wyndham novel when I was at school, but I’m not entirely sure. I do remember reading one of his collections a few years later – if only because the cover art was a blurry photo of an Airfix model of a Colonial Viper from Battlestar Galactica. From what I recall, the stories were pretty bad. But Wyndham occupies a peculiar position in British sf – considered an important writer in the history of the genre by many, but also widely accepted by the mainstream. Some elements of his novels have even entered British culture, such as the Triffids. The Chrysalids, however, is set in Canada, although it might as well be set in Kent. The Earth has been depopulated by nuclear war, and much of it lies in ruins. In Labrador, in a small farming community, the narrator and seven other kids can all talk to each other telepathically. But they keep it secret, because mutations are ruthlessly culled (if animal) or exiled (if human), although the latter do sometimes have a tendency to turn up dead. Unfortunately, the secret gets out when the narrator is in his late teens/early twenties, Chiefly thanks to his very young sister, who is an extremely powerful telepath, so powerful in fact that she can just about hear the thoughts of people in New Zealand… which comes in useful as New Zealand is apparently a near-utopia for telepaths, and they’re sending a mission to Labrador to rescue the mutant teenagers. But not before the teenagers have been chased into the badlands and have witnessed a battle between the farmers and the mutants. Of course, radiation doesn’t cause hereditary mutation, we know that now, although perhaps they didn’t in the 1950s. The whole “keeping the genome pure” thing is also policed using religion, leading to some all too plausible – and sadly common, even now – Bible-backed bigotry. The narrator’s father is an especially big arsehole in that regard. And yet… it all feels very Home counties. For all the regard in which Wyndham is held, he’s never been an important figure in my map of science fiction, UK-only or Anglophone; and I’ve yet to be convinced he should be considered as important as he is. ( )
  iansales | Jan 12, 2018 |
Post-apocalyptic world where deviation is pushed to the fringes. A small group of people deviate in an invisible way and must escape. ( )
  brakketh | Oct 19, 2017 |
Distopian view of the far future in a post-nuclear world. A frightened, god-fearing community destroy anything varying from the norm. A group of young people realise they have mental powers that set them apart.

Thought-provoking about ignorant prejudice, and what society demands as normal, questioning our fear of change, embedded in a fascinating adventure story. ( )
1 vote LARA335 | Sep 21, 2017 |
One of my favourite books of all time - read it as a child many years ago. The theme of acceptance is even more relevant especially given current political events. ( )
1 vote EvaW | Feb 7, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 93 (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 (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wyndham, JohnAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harrison, M. JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herring, MichaelCover artistsecondary 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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Epigraph
Dedication
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.
Quotations
There was the power of gods in the hands of children, we know: but were they MAD children, all of them quite mad?
The essential quality of life is living; the essential quality of living is change; change is evolution: and we are part of it.
No one would dream of mentioning [childbirth] openly until the inspector should have called to issue his certificate that it was a human baby in the true image. Should it unhappily turn out to violate the image and thus be ineligible for a certificate, everyone would continue to be unaware of it, and the whole regrettable incident would be deemed not to have occurred.
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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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Wikipedia in English (1)

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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Penguin Australia

3 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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