Wanderers of Time
16 February 2015 Leave a comment
Author: John Wyndham
Summary: John Wyndham wrote strong, imaginative fiction years before fame came his way, and this is a collection of some of his pieces from those days.
Already remarkable are his sense of movement, his sense of invention, his sense of style. The title story of this collection foreshadows frighteningly such later novels as The Kraken Wakes and The Midwich Cuckoos with its suggestion of a time when man is no longer the dominant creature on Earth.
And The Last Lunarians and Derelict of Space show how well he researched his material, long before space ships had struck out for the moon and the idea of inter-planetary travel had become commonplace.
This is truly another fascinating piece of evidence of John Wyndham’s remarkable talent as seer and storyteller.
Rating: ★★★★☆ 4/5
Review: I feel trite saying it, because i say it after every Wyndham book i read, but there is nothing this man writes that i don’t love. I’m sure i’m not capable of fully explaining why, either. There is just something in a combination of his writing style and the subject matter that are just perfect to me.
This is a collection of some of his early work, when he was writing as John Beynon and being published in American science fiction magazines. Pulp fiction it may have been, but it is still damn good. I enjoyed each of the five stories in the book, and would be hard pushed to pick a favourite.
Wanderers of Time, with its collection of time travellers and their broken machines, stranded in a desert land roamed only by robot creatures, had me hooked the moment we find out what’s inside of those robots. Derelict of Space was for me reminiscent of Firefly and illegal salvaging, because although none takes place in the story, i can see how modern fiction like Firefly could have been influenced by these kinds of stories. Child of Power seemed very much Wyndham’s personal prelude to Chocky, as well as having some foresight of The Midwich Cuckoos. As much as i did enjoy the story, i think Wyndham developed his ideas to much gain in the other novels. The Last Lunarians was a story i couldn’t stop reading. The very knowledge that something wasn’t right, that something bad was going to happen, and seeing that unfold, kept me turning the pages. The Puff-ball Menace is so obviously the same ideas Wyndham used for The Day of the Triffids, but i would say it also has a darker aspect to the plants, in some ways. I really thought the story was going to end on a depressing note (was looking forward to it, in fact), but instead we’re left on a both a hopeful and hopeless ending.
Wyndham creates these worlds so easily. He doesn’t necessarily provide a lot of information–he provides just enough. He doesn’t describe the entire world, he describes aspects pertinent to the story at hand, to the characters at hand, and leaves you to fill in (or not) the rest as you wish. I think because of this, because he stops short of giving too many details to these worlds, it makes it easier to imagine them being this world. The world we’re living in now in the not too distant future, in the far flung future, or even just tomorrow. And that gives a sense of connection and recognition to every story–even the ones set in space.
These stories and concepts just interest and intrigue me immensely. They’re fun, but they’re suspenseful. They’re obviously fictitious, but they’re easily relatable. They’re just bloody good.
This is the ninth book i’ve read from my Classics Club list.
This knocks three squares off my Bookish Bingo: Set in the future, set outside of Earth and about time travel.