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markk

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War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies, 1861-1865
James M. McPherson
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Nicholas Tarling
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Martin Brecht
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A true SF classic

The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham

When I was a kid I was a huge fan of science fiction. While my tastes were somewhat narrow, I read quite a few books within the genre that I enjoyed to various degrees. Yet even as I look back on some of them fondly through the rose-tinted view of nostalgia and even re-read some of them with pleasure, there are almost none that I continue to enjoy as much as John Wyndham's book. It's an early classic in the field of post-apocalyptic SF novels, and one that offers an entertaining consideration of how humanity would survive a civilization-ending crisis. What makes this book stand out form the rest, though, are the triffids themselves, as they represent a unique contribution to the genre. In many ways they prefigure the zombies of the zombie apocalypse tales that are so popular today: an ongoing, numerous, flesh-eating threat with which the survivors must cope. They may not be central to the story, but their constant presence at the fringe is perfect in terms of both their challenge and as a recognition of their limitations as a plot device. It never ceases to amaze me how well it holds up even today, even as so many of its successors in the field disappear from print. If that is not evidence of the novel's status as a classic I don't know what is.