The author of The Day of the Triffids was John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris who was born on 10 July, 1903 in Knowle in Warwickshire. He spent the early part of his childhood in Edgbaston, Birmingham. When he was eight, his parents separated and the rest of his young life was unsettled, moving through different boarding schools.
When he left school, he did not know what career to pursue, venturing into many areas before eventually settling upon writing. His first science fiction story was “Worlds to Barter”, published in the May 1931 edition of “Wonder Stories” (credited to John Beynon Harris). He toyed with several pseudonyms in subsequent contributions, including John Beynon, John Harris and Lucas Parkes.
During World War II, he started as a goverment official in the censorship department before joining the army in the Royal Corps of Signals. Afterwards, he returned to writing, amending his style until his first big success, “The Day of the Triffids” was published in 1951.
He married an old friend, Grace Wilson, in 1963 and died on 11 March, 1969.
His major works are:
|Year||Book||Also known as|
|1936||Stowaway to Mars||Planet Plane|
|1951||The Day of the Triffids||Revolt of the Triffids|
|1953||The Kraken Wakes||Out of the Deeps|
|1956||The Seeds of Time|
|1957||The Midwich Cuckoos||Village of the Damned (films)|
|1960||Trouble with Lichen|
|1961||Consider her Ways|
The Day of the Triffids
Wyndham came up with the idea for “The Day of the Triffids” when he was walking home late one night and saw some raspberry canes waving in the wind against the sky. In a 1968 interview, he recalled “The trees and hedgerows were blowing across the road and I thought, by gosh, those'd be nasty things if they could sting you.”
It first appeared as “Revolt of the Triffids” in an American journal “Colliers Weekly” in January and February 1951. This was an abridged serialisation of the full novel in which the triffids naturally germinated on Venus.
There is a precursor to “The Day of the Triffids” in his short story “The Puff-Ball Menace” published in “Wonder Stories” in 1933. In it, a hostile country plants a dangerous fungus in Britain which breeds voraciously and kills people.
The character of Michael Beadley was based apparently on John Hadon Bradley, Wyndham's headmaster at one of his boarding schools.