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review 2018-10-28 01:45
Competition for survival
The Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham

This one went into and explored many of the points that I thought Chocky would, which is doubly great because creepy kids are disturbing as hell, and because I can give Wyndham props for not repeating himself in hindsight.

 

There are differences with the pop-culture classic movie, as it always happens. Beyond the distillation over our narrator and Zellaby (which I imagine stems from a wish to transfer all the BAMF quality from the seemingly absent minded old man to a younger MC), the big fact is that the mind reading is not part of the original book. There is enough flash and imminent danger with the will thing. The hive mind is the cherry that makes the eerie otherness cake.

 

I loved how things proceed slowly, and this insistence of going about business as usual. When the mothers bring the babies back to town, you immediately go "Oh, fuck", and in their heart of hearts, you know every character kinda does too, but they bury themselves in self denial. And as the book comes closer to the end, you start thinking back to Zellaby's wondering if civilization had not been a bad survival idea.

 

Seriously, for all the old man seemed to everyone as digressing from the current point, he was very much clear-sighted.

 

I loved the sci-fi call backs (and the niggling for none going into the morally ambiguous). Some of the doubts it tries to posit (specially on evolution) are a matter of "science marches on" but I always end up finding the idea of outside influence entertaining. The social commentary (outside the references to sci-fi, that is after all a commentary on society too) was a mixed bag, some insightful, some blithely chauvinistic, and there is what is clearly a lesbian couple never addressed as such, so maaaybe fair for its time.

 

At any rate, I had fun reading it. And that's a good way to wrap up my bingo card and get my reading black-out. Just to wait for the calls now.

 

 

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text 2018-10-28 00:33
Reading progress update: I've read 180 out of 220 pages.
The Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham

‘Oh, yes… where was I?’
‘With H. G.’s Martians,’ I told him.
‘Of course. Well, there you have the prototype of innumerable invasions. A super-weapon which man fights valiantly with his own puny armoury until he is saved by one of several possible kinds of bell. Naturally, in America it is all rather bigger and better. Something descends, and something comes out of it. Within ten minutes, owing no doubt to the excellent communications in that country, there is a coast-to-coast panic, and all highways out of all cities are crammed, in all lanes, by the fleeing populace – except in Washington. There, by contrast, enormous crowds stretching as far as the eye can reach, stand grave and silent, white-faced but trusting, with their eyes upon the White House, while somewhere in the Catskills a hitherto ignored professor and his daughter, with their rugged young assistant strive like demented midwives to assist the birth of the dea ex laboritoria which will save the world at the last moment, minus one.

That's a "take that!" that has not lost it's being current.

 

 

Wrapping up my last read towards Bingo-blackout tonight.

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text 2018-10-26 13:20
Reading progress update: I've read 60 out of 220 pages.
The Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham

He lowered his pole from the vertical, and with the cage still dangling at its end, thrust it forward tentatively. The bird fell off its perch, and lay on the sanded floor of the cage. The corporal withdrew the cage. The bird gave a slightly indignant tweet, and hopped back on its perch.

 

I have a terrible sense of humour.

 

One not-so-young woman suddenly bought a bicycle, and pedalled it madly for astonishing distances, with fierce determination.

 

Appalling, really, lol!

 

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text 2017-09-26 23:48
Halloween Bingo 2017 - Chilling Children
The Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham

…we have lived so long in a garden that we have all but forgotten the commonplaces of survival…If you want to keep alive in the jungle, you must live as the jungle does.

 

The Day of the Triffids may be better known, but my favourite Wyndham book has always been The Midwich Cuckoos. It was the first book of his I ever read, and I thought it was decidedly unsettling. All the inhabitants of a quiet English village lose consciousness for 24 hours and not long after it is discovered that all the women of childbearing age are pregnant... 

 

And do the children grow up to be fine upstanding members of the community? Well when you've got white-blonde hair and glowing golden eyes, not to mention a hive mind, telepathic powers, and you can compel people to drive their cars into trees, or shoot themselves, you're not going to waste your time with the village amateur dramatic society are you?

 

The book was filmed in 1960 as The Village of the Damned (ignore the 1995 remake; it was crap).

 

 

And brilliantly parodied by The Simpsons with 'The Bloodening' .

 

 

 

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text 2017-09-26 22:22
Halloween Bingo 2017 - Chilling Children
The Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham

"Now the important thing about the cuckoo is not how the egg got into the nest, nor why that nest was chosen; the real matter for concern comes after it has been hatched - what in fact will it attempt to do next. And that, whatever it may be, will be motivated for its instinct for survival, an instinct characterized chiefly by utter ruthlessness."

 

 

 

 

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