Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Joint Review: The Midwich Cuckoos

Once again I welcome my guest reviewer, Sarah who this month is looking at a classic spooky story...actually, after reading her review I was so intrigued I borrowed her copy and started reading it myself! As such I've added a little commentary to Sarah's review...so the italics are my thoughts.

The Midwich Cuckoos
- John Wyndham

Publisher: UK - Penguin Books

Aliens land in an isolated British village and impregnate all of the women. Nine months later strange children with glowing eyes and intense intelligence "Midwich Cuckoos," emerge to undertake the conquest of the world

Hello once again fellow Mel-followers!  Now, you know I am definitely a fantasy girl, but I must admit I have a deep affection for all things John Wyndham.  My favourite of his is The Kraken Wakes (a must-read), and so it was inevitable that I'd eventually get round to reading The Midwich Cuckoos. 
<I've read Day of the Triffids and The Chyrsalids and enjoyed both. I think John Wyndham is one of those writers I keep forgetting about! I must read more of his books...>

The story is told by Richard Gayford, an unusual narrator as he is often not at the centre of the action, so tells the story chronologically, but often in hindsight.  The story concerns an insular, nodescript village into which an alien race simultaneously impregnates every woman (by design? in desperation?).  The children, when they arrive, are very different and soon set the village, and eventually the world, in turmoil.
<The village sounds like a very quiet place - something both the locals and government seem determined to keep that way even after the incredible events that occur. It reminded me a number of a number of villages in the UK. The normailty of the village does make an interesting counter-point to the strange events that occur during the Dayout.>

What I love most about Wyndham's books, are even though they were written several decades ago, they do not really age - the stories could just as easily fit into our world as they could when they were conceived.  Yes, this story is a bit 'gappy' in places, and relatively simply concluded, but there are definite moments of menace and Wyndham is, as ever, thoroughly thought-provoking.  If you've never read a Wyndham book I wouldn't start here, but it's definitely a book to get round to.  Easily consumed in a day! 
<The slow pace adds to the atmosphere. There is a lot of talking, rather than action as you think about how to treat someone so different from 'everyone' else but yet still looks so human. Why do the children scare people so much? It is very creepy and while I agree the resolution was simple enough - it was the only way it truly could end.>

One for all fantasy and sci-fi readers, 8 out of 10.
<Recommended for fans of HG Wells and Margaret Atwood. 8 out of 10>


  1. Hi Sarah :)
    I like this joint review, even if it was not mean to be one ;)

    But that cover is just so very bad

  2. Yep - a terrible cover. Took me ages to figure out the relevance of the illustration to the story as well!

  3. Review hog Mel, lol :-) Yes, cover isn't inspiring really, is it????

  4. Oh I like the double review. Fun!

    Oh this does sound deliciously creepy. I will have to check this one out!