Thursday, January 25, 2007

#2 - When The Tripods Came, John Christopher

As a sign of things to come, I forgot Iceland's Bell at A.'s place one night and ended up reading When The Tripods Came by John Christopher in 3 hours. I'd already read the other three books and enjoyed them immensely (I read them when I was 21, might I add), even moreso when I was watching the atrocious remake of War of the Worlds, during which they flat-out stole a scene from the end of the first book and used it as the finale for the film. Feeling like you're more creative than Speilberg is pretty nice, sometimes.

... Sometimes....

The premise behind When The Tripods Came is this: Tripods attack the planet, and we totally whomp their asses. We start to get cocky and make fun of them, and then they come and take over the whole planet using subliminal, television-based, mind-control, which doesn't seem that unfeasible in the context of the book (or in the context of television). Christopher wrote this in 1988, a full twenty years after the original trilogy had been published, in retaliation to some questions a certain Brian Aldiss raised about the original books, namely the way the tripods looked around for stuff. In the trilogy it was explained that when they were pretending they're Nazgûl, searching for, oh, I dunno, runaway main characters or something, they used regular old spotlights and shone them in the woods, looking for any hint that their prey was in there. Aldiss, the most important fiction author ever to lay his hands on a pen, said that there was no way he would believe that the tripods could take over the planet if they didn't even have infrared technology to look for things with, and then he crossed his arms and looked around at his peers. Smugly.

Christoper answers Aldiss' questions in a feasible, sound manner, a thorough round of so-theres applied, and never wrote anything again. Oh wait, he wrote A Dusk of Demons and A Bad Dream, but after that he never wrote anything again, clearly pleased with the way his magnum opus turned out.

A good read, especially after you've read the original trilogy. It is, admittedly, a children's book, but it's really fun and intelligent, and gives an accurate portrayal of what could (potentially) happen should we get invaded by beings from another planet.

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