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The Tea Tray of the Triffids

Have you heard of The Day of the Triffids?

Yes, as a movie.
Yes, as a book.
Yes, but couldn't say what it is.
No, I haven't heard of it.

Have you read The Day of the Triffids?


I have no idea when I first heard of The Day of the Triffids. I wouldn't be able to swear it was before I moved back to the UK. More likely, it was when some movie version of it was released. In any event, it wasn't staple reading for me, growing up as a science fiction reader in the U.S. I'm reading it now, with momentum from a local SF book club.

I don't remember why, over dinner last night with BSFA people, I mentioned I was reading it, but it was apropos of Englishness. Someone said it must be full of tea. At that point, characters had only drunk whisky. I promised I'd report back on the tea situation, so here I am: after innumerable alcoholic beverages and some coffee (made with more alcohol and canned milk), two of the characters finally have cups of tea approximately a third of the way into the book.*

A newly-met American last night had never heard the title, somewhat to my delight. C. was shocked to hear that it was possible to have avoided it. He grew up in England, you see, where it is a staple of people who grow up reading SF. I often say I become unread whenever I move countries, but it was nice to have such a specific scrap of evidence to back me up on it.

* For a full Triffids tea report, you'll have to wait until I'm done reading it.


( 49 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jan. 27th, 2011 10:46 pm (UTC)
I used to confuse it with the Tripods series. Which made a lot more sense when I was 10. (Are the Tripods also considered quite British? Now I'm trying to remember how much tea might have been in it....)
Jan. 27th, 2011 11:38 pm (UTC)
Baked beans in Tripods, I think. No Bean was in Tripods and baked beans raw was TV Triffids. The TV Triffids was a major hing in the late 70s and most Wyndham will have affected all Britishers born between 1950 and 1980
Jan. 27th, 2011 11:39 pm (UTC)
That was I
Jan. 27th, 2011 11:04 pm (UTC)
I read it when it was recommended to me, enthusiastically, by gp Booker, so it was known in the US, if not necessarily by everyone.

I would have thought that it would have come up in conversations years ago, in your pre-UK days, but evidently not.
Jan. 28th, 2011 01:17 am (UTC)
I suppose I was vaguely aware that someone had probably adapted it at some point (there must surely be a radio series somewhere), but the novel is also a real SF growing-up staple here - along with The Midwich Cuckoos (and the rest of Wyndham) and the John Christopher books (I don't know why they go together in my head, along with the radio serial of The War of the Worlds, but they do).

Funnily enough in the same part of my head I keep the Alan Garner omnibus I used to own (the Brisingamen books and Elidor; not the Owl Service, curiously), the Dark is Rising, and Tom's Midnight Garden. Apparently I have a particular place in my head for "influential British genre novels for children from the 1950s and 60s", which must say more about their remarkable style than about me, really.
Jan. 28th, 2011 11:07 am (UTC)
I've heard of it vaguely and thought it was the one of the good episodes of "The Twilight Zone", or something like that.
Jan. 28th, 2011 10:42 pm (UTC)
He grew up in England, you see, where it is a staple of people who grow up reading SF.

More than that. I was at school through the '60s and '70s, and it was a modern classic; we studied it in class at least once, possibly more than once (I did shift schools a fair bit). It might be going too far to say that everybody read it - but pretty much everybody of my generation was supposed to read it.
Jan. 28th, 2011 11:47 pm (UTC)
Unlike most John Wyndhams, which I adore, I was put off by the movie and have never bothered with the book.
Jan. 28th, 2011 11:52 pm (UTC)
Whereas this is now the only Wyndham I have read.
Jan. 29th, 2011 06:53 pm (UTC)
On TV as well, sometime in the 80s.
Feb. 3rd, 2011 03:32 pm (UTC)
I put not read but really not completed
I actually started reading the book once but never finished (I think it was at someone's cottage). My dad had read it and he is a British ex-pat. I've also seen bits of the infamous movie. I would have said the movie at least had a certain international notoriety.
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( 49 comments — Leave a comment )