Books that have film Adaptations · Companion Books for TV / Film · horror lit · science fiction

The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham 

Got golden eyes…funny, but nothing against having golden eyes, is there?”

I chose to buy this book originally because I saw its 1960 film adaptation, entitled Village of the Damned. However, while I will certainly do a book vs film post on a later date over on my other blog, here I will write about the book itself.

I don’t think I quite knew what to expect when I began reading this book. By all accounts, is very different from the film.

What put me off to begin with is the complete lack of tension as the inner workings of Midwich are brought to the fore. The book also has several interlocking emblemetic themes within it. Not only is there a theme of invision from the strange Children, at the same time the fear is the invasion has something to do either with the Russians or with nuclear weapons.

Perhaps the original horror of the story has abated for me because I saw the film but the book itself focuses on the disparity between often innocent looking Children and the carnage they are committing.

Any dramatic tension also abates through excessive use of claggy language dressed up as exposition. The second half of the book is better because it shows the effect of the children’s tyranny on the village.

This book is also my first foray into the books of John Wyndham and for all my criticisms of the book it is quite good. At the same time I couldn’t help but laugh as English traditions such as tea and walks were not stopped by the uprising of the Children. Evidently, nothing gets between an Englishman and his tea.

MY RATING: ***.5 / *****

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