@coolonespa, actually Steve there is a 1995 American remake of Midwich Cuckoos (Village of the Damned) which falls way short of the original in my humble opinion. Hollywood drafted in the best their Sci Fi casting had to offer with Christopher Reeve (Superman) as the teacher and Mark Hammill (Luke Skywalker) as the local pastor. It’s not bad, but I think some traditional English products simply don’t translate into American. Clip here:
Interesting fact: in the British original due to limited budget, the kids’ hair was dyed a uniform dayglo orange. Outraged mums and dads of the young child actors were so shocked by this the company invested in platinum wigs for the children instead. Also the film “28 Days Later” is largely based on Wyndham’s “Day of the Triffids”. Finally, every heroine in every Wyndham novel is loosely based on Wyndham’s one and only lifelong partner and later wife. John Wyndham was also a lifelong fan of Radio 4’s “The Archers”.
@coolonespa more that there’s an entire treasure trove of filmic possibilities from the three main short story collections, “Jizzle”, “Seeds of Time” and “Consider her Ways” . Britain’s (more edififying) answer to “The Twilight Zone”. Interesting fact gleaned from that biography of his I just read , the American version of the original “Village of the Damned” differs from the British one, using special effects the USA had the kids zapping people with laser beams emitted from their eyes, an effect considered to be too gruesome for the sensibilities of the British audiences. Wyndham also claimed the filmscript had missed the point of his book by portraying them as pure evil, given they were only an alien trace trying to integrate and survive.
Link here to track down Wyndham’s many inter war and post war short stories published in American Sci- Fi magazines, many free downloadable pdfs:
“Hidden Wyndham ~ Life, Love, Letters” by Amy Binns. Time for a biography methinks, this one on the life and times of John Wyndham Lucas Parkes Benyon Harris…quite a mouthful to announce at the Literary Guild Society dinner, hence his compressed pen name of John Wyndham (and alter ego Lucas Parkes with whom he co-wrote some of his books). To my knowledge, this is the only biography available about John Wyndham , prolific author of “Day of the Triffids”, “The Chrysalids” , “Midwich Cuckoos” ( filmed as Village of the Damned), “Chocky” and around 200 short stories of visionary science fictions which are really New Scientist meets the Twilight Zone, Wyndham exploring many areas way ahead of their time including UFOs, parallel universes, string theory, quantum consciousness, dopplegangers, time travel etc. shortly after World War 2 in which he served.
ne point as a “middle-aged, red-headed, irascible Celtic woman”. I don’t believe she could have achieved what she has done if she weren’t so formidable. What also shines through her writing is her humanity, her humour and her respect for the dead.
Highly recommended read.
I’ll certainly keep my eyes open for that one, @GeminiJen . I’m currently reading James Patterson’s ‘The Store’ – and I really hope it is
‘only fiction’ – but wouldn’t be surprised if we are almost at this stage. Think a cross between 1984 and Stepford Wives!
Sue Black: All that remains. A life in death
[From the book blurb] Professor Dame Sue Black is one of the world’s leading anatomists and forensic anthropologists. Her expertise has been crucial to many high profile criminal cases; and in 1999 she was the lead anthropologist for the British Forensic Team’s work in the war crimes investigations in Kosovo. She was one of the first forensic scientists to travel to Thailand following the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 to provide assistance in identifying the dead.
I’ve just finished reading this book. It’s been on my To Read pile since I heard her talk [promoting this book] at the Edinburgh Book Festival in 2018, an event chaired by Val McDermid. I suppose I was expecting a book about death to be at best sad, at worst macabre….which may be why it took so long to reach the top of my pile!.. Sue’s book is neither. There is tragedy, but there is also humour in stories as gripping as the best crime novel. I wasn’t surprised to read how many famous crime writers had sought her advice, and how they had joined forces in support of fundraising for what subsequently became the Val McDermid Mortuary at the University of Dundee. Nor was I surprised to read about the considerable interest from individuals signing up to donate their bodies to the Mortuary after death!
Sue describes herself at one point as a “middle-aged, red-headed, irascible Celtic woman”. I don’t believe she could have achieved what she has done if she weren’t so formidable. What also shines through her writing is her humanity, her humour and her respect for the dead.
Highly recommended read.
I’ve bought up all Alice (AL) Kennedy’s other four short story collections for a matter of pence, with perhaps the exception of the jubilant Jhumpa Lahiri, I have never come across such a writer who gives voice to the unspoken, shape to the intangible, in life sketches of the externally ordinary but internally disaccociated, can’t put it better than that. Her characters are to be found in shop queues, bus stations, parks, swimming baths, pubs, offices and even army camps. There are scorpion stings in many of these tales, marauding mundanity in others Funny, frightening, all in one. She has the uncanny knack of allowing you inside someone else’s mind in the first few paragraphs, enabling you to tune in to the mindset of that particular misfit or misanthrope and their often bizarre behaviour and activity. Alan Bennett’s “Talking Heads” is the nearest comparison I can make, I don’t know why many of these tales haven’t been adapted to short small screen dramas.
Thanks for the heads up Steve – will keep my eye out for them in our local charity shop.