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Monday, January 11, 2016

The Midwich Cuckoos (1957) by John Wyndham

The Midwich Cuckoos has twice been made into a movie called The Village of the Damned.
Book Review
The Midwich Cuckoos (1957)
 by John Wyndham

  In America, most people will be familiar with the movie versions, both called The Village of the Damned.  I'd never heard of Wyndham before I picked up the 1001 Books project, now I know that he is the first rate English science fiction writer of the late 50s and 60s, following in the tradition of H.G. Wells.

  Like the movie, The Midwich Cuckoos is about a small village where the population awakes after lying unconscious overnight to discover that all 60 eligible women are pregnant.  Nine months later, 30 boys and 30 girls are born, all with golden eyes. As they grow up, the villagers discover certain...qualities that the children have that make them extremely dangerous.  Although a largely conventional sci-fi narrative, Wyndham expertly deploys the fear of "alien contamination" that was such a prominent feature of cold war discourse (think of Doctor Stangelove and his "precious bodily fluids") in a fantastic context.

  The Midwich Cuckoos was tough to locate and no longer in print in the United States.  You'd think there would have been a movie version from the second making of The Village of the Damned but nah.

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