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The Midwich Cuckoos Audio CD – Unabridged, 1 Oct. 2011
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Midwich was a quiet English village where nothing ever happened. But then one night, a curious occurence resulted in the village being cut off from the outside world for a day - and the inhabitants were unable to remember anything. When all the women of child-bearing age subsequently become pregnant, it is clear that something very strange is happening. And when the babies are born - all blonde, all golden-eyed, all telepathic - the villagers become even more afraid... This chilling apocalyptic thriller was adapted as the classic 1960 science-fiction film, Village of the Damned, which starred George Sanders and Barbara Shelley.
6 CDs. 6 hrs 29 mins.
- Publisher : BBC Physical Audio; Unabridged edition (1 Oct. 2011)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1445877244
- ISBN-13 : 978-1445877242
- Dimensions : 13.8 x 1.5 x 14 cm
- Customer reviews:
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The Kraken Wakes
The Day of the Triffids
The Midwich Cuckoos
Wyndhams style has been described as logical fantasy, and that is a very good description, and what makes it so compulsive. The narrative is always in the first person, and always starts with the mundane. Slowly at first, with increasing momentum, decisions are made and the die are cast, believable, but by small increments, you are led to the inevitable conclusion, a conclusion, you, the reader, would probably take were you there at the time.
If Wydham has any faults, it's a slight tendency to sweeten the endings, like a teaspoon of sugar for a bitter medicine, which I find a little irritating, but, the book that stands out in this respect is The Midwich Cuckoos, you the reader are left in no doubt, the question is, would you?
After all, there is only one way of dealing with cuckoos...
Note to TV producers - please will someone adapt a book by sticking to the original storyline an setting it in the time it was originally placed - the reason the books remain bestsellers is that the stories are so good that you don't have to muck around with them!
Rant over and back to the point...
This book stands the test of time - it builds up a sense of menace quietly and keeps you absorbed to the end - if you haven't read it before, please do so now!
I first read John Wynham’s classic tale as a teenager, after seeing the 1960 film version (with the suave George Sanders as Zellaby). Though the movie wasn’t a patch on the book, my memories of that first reading still featured Sanders, so I decided to revisit the original and see if the tale of alien beings scaring the pants off an ordinary community, could still leave me fascinated and thoughtful.
Though peppered with proper English chaps and jolly-hockey-stick-type women, the story is magnificent in the way it builds tension with each small revelation. The narrator thoughtfully takes a back seat much of the time, leaving local brain-box Gordon Zellaby to explore the possibilities and threats presented by the Children. With his theoretical monologues, he does at times rather dominate the action, which can be a little wearing. However, while nothing much happens in comparison to modern tales of alien invasions, the unhurried progress of the invaders and their gradually-revealed world-domination plans, is still a cracking good yarn.
I didn’t really get the scary sense of menace from the Children or slow build up to a chilling climax that maybe a modern day writer would have achieved. In the book, the Children all look very similar, often indistinguishable from one another, but that obviously wouldn’t be possible for the TV series where they are all of diverse ethnic origins.
The book is also narrated by a rather faceless character in the village. Apart from the fact that he was out of town on the night of the unexplainable incident and was vaguely acquainted with a military man investigating the incident, he doesn’t have any major part in the story and it seems odd to have such a bland character telling the story. I would have preferred it to be told from a third person point of view.
Would I have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t watched the TV series? Possibly, it’s a classic after all, but I would have still found it a bit long winded.