Sunday, July 22, 2007


This is a lovely little story, copyrighted 1953 to the author, John Wyndham, about PISCATORIAL SPACE MONSTERS and how they melted the polar ice caps, in order to drown all the land creatures and take over the world. Nice simple plot line, nice convincing characters, well-written (British, you know), with the nice Lovecraftian touch that the reader never gets to see the critters, even on the rare occasion that one of their craft is captured. Jolly good stuff.

One thing I especially like is that you can never know for sure whether they are really SPACE MONSTERS, or whether they were simply malevolent FISH who were lurking at the bottom of the sea ALL ALONG. The falling star/landing craft might be, as the humans say, RED HERRINGS.

Another thing I like is that you are never sure, even by the last page of the book, that they are GONE FOR GOOD. They might be only LYING IN WAIT.

I like also that this book COULD make a good movie, but probably WON’T. It would be too difficult for a modern-day casting director to find modern-day actors and actresses who could manage the difficult characterisations. Those are SO 20TH-CENTURY and this is a new day, producing movies unfettered by complexity or dramatic tension. This means that the mental pictures you create by reading the book yourself will NEVER be disrupted by afterimages of a film starring, say, Keanu Reeves as the sensitive hero, struggling to hide his American accent as he barks orders into a cellphone, and Ricki Lake as his plucky wife, not even bothering to hide hers as she shrieks at him to change the battery, already, they’re losing signal.

I like that to my knowledge, nobody has even tried to make this into a movie or TV show. That makes this story IMMUNE TO REMAKE-A-MANIA! It’s a dang good thing, too…the only old piece of dreck they haven’t remade into a movie yet is The Facts Of Life, and I think I’m NOT THE ONLY ONE living in fear of the day someone finally gets financial backing for that dread project.

I seem to have strayed from my point. I also like the cover art on this Penguin edition. It shows a big cruise liner hanging almost vertically in the water, wrapped in electric bolts like the arms of a Giant Squid and dragging the boat underwater as a mysterious shape, like that of a tremendous Tadpole, lurks beneath. Pretty cool.

This is great bedtime reading for the kids, even. You will need to break the chapters up into smaller pieces for that purpose. You can handle it. This is just the sort of story that brings PISCATORIAL LOVE to the forefront of an impressionable child’s mind.


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