Rediscovering John Wyndham
John Wyndham isn’t exactly a household name these days, but from 1951 to 1957, he wrote some of the most popular science fiction in the world.
Wyndham was a writer of big conscience and high ideals. While much of sci-fi at the time was preoccupied with the exotica of other worlds, he pioneered a style of science fiction that grounded its stories in the rapidly changing technological and cultural landscape of Earth. Environmental collapse, dystopic scenarios, the anxiety over genetic manipulation, all these things figure prominently in his most popular novels. He specialized in the all-too-real apocalypse, the doomsday logically derived, and if this feels humdrum or done-to-death, keep in mind that it was him who laid the foundations that others have climbed on. His 1951 novel Day of the Triffids was an inspiration for Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, a film that arguably reignited and repackaged our modern obsession with zombies. Margaret Atwood has stated that Wyndham was an influence on her own hugely influential novel The Handmaid’s Tale, and Stephen King, whose work The Stand is a post-apocalypse classic, was an early fan.
Wyndham’s works were hard to get for a long time because they'd gone out of print, but now they're being re-released. Three are available now, with two more to come, all with matching cover designs, perfect for filling out the shelves of a true sci-fi afficionado.