‘The Midwich Cuckoos’ by John Wyndham

The Midwich Cuckoos

When the inhabitants of a sleepy English village mysteriously fall asleep, the authorities take charge, trying to discover how and why it happened. But aside from a few mishaps, no-one appears to have suffered any ill-effects and the incident takes on the significance of an urban myth. However, nine months later, all the women are found to be pregnant, and after the children are born, strange things begin to happen…

I first read John Wyndham’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.

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  4 comments for “‘The Midwich Cuckoos’ by John Wyndham

  1. 14/04/2018 at 2:46 PM

    I remember this book, Colin, I re-read it a few years ago and enjoyed it a lot. It isn’t my favourite of the John Wyndham books but it is good. I loved Day of the Triffids, the Chrysalids and Trouble with lichen.


    • 14/04/2018 at 2:49 PM

      Glad to hear it – I’ve already got the ‘Chrysalids’ and ‘Trouble with Lichen’ on my TBR bookshelf, along with ‘The Kraken Wakes’.


    • 19/07/2019 at 6:09 PM

      I see that I listed the same books in the same order here. Good to know I am true to myself. I preferred The Kraken Wakens to this one.


      • 19/07/2019 at 9:39 PM

        Interesting, I think Midwich Cuckoos is great, though not as good as Triffids.


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