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.