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How to Survive The Day of the Triffids

Avoid Brighton

See the last three chapters (namely; fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen) of The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham.

Befriend a Farmer

Scavenging on the addled corpse of civilisation will sustain your family for only so long. Eventually you will have to learn how to cultivate crops, and manage livestock. It is worth noting that the highly nutritious oils contained within a triffid stalk, are an excellent source of cattle fodder.

Ignore Hollywood Disinformation

The early Sixties cinematic rendition of ‘Triffids’, portrays lead human Bill Masen, as an American naval officer, stranded in London at the time that alien creatures land alongside the ‘comets’. Masen then journeys across Europe to find submariners. Don’t bother watching this transatlantic rubbish. I’m surprised I made it though three-quarters of the film. The luckless Wyndham is said to have endured the whole thing in perplexed, yet disapproving silence.

It’s not just the dated special effects, (the abridged 1981 BBC production is far easier on the pallet, despite its modest budget), more the wholesale rehashing of concepts. Triffids are not visitors from Space. Intergalactic machinations play no part in the rise of our vegetative protagonists. Instead they are a side-effect of the Cold War ‘Science-Race’.

Take it Easy

‘There aren’t any ambulances these days’.
Coker, chapter twelve.

Always Fill Up

The horseless carriage is useful weapon against a triffid. Its poison can not penetrate windscreens, and the beasts can be effortlessly overrun. Nevertheless, when driving through a Blinding* of Triffids, the motorist would be prudent to remember the Triffid Highway Code:

Don’t let your window down. Triffids will whip their poisoned whorls at moving objects, especially noisy, mechanical constructions such as cars, lorries, and quasi-military vehicles welded in Brighton.

Refrain from lowering the (passenger-free) passenger-side pane any more than a centimetre or inch.


An insufficiently fuelled vehicle is an open invitation to the acute, predatory senses of a triffid, or indeed in the days just after a technological breakdown, the newly blinded. If your combustion engine splutters to a halt, alight immediately; a blind mob can open car doors, a triffid has patience.

* The unofficial collective noun for a Triffidian (Wyndham’s word, chapter two) assembly is not a ‘lash’ as sometimes claimed, but a ‘blinding’.
Move to a Small Island

Triffids lack aquatic prowess. Find an islet that is diminutive enough to be cleared of lanky, mobile weeds with the available manpower. Live out a frugal existence until your society, or perhaps another isolated community, discovers a biological remedy for this unnatural plague.

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  1. Josella

    I’m sure my old chum Zombiephile won’t mind me plugging the dedicated John Wyndham site edited by my brother Ticker Chrysalids-Harris (who may be using some ridiculous pseudonym).

  2. LondonBoy

    Avoid Hollywood disinformation…….and also ignore the recent BBC version with Eddie Izzard and Jason Priestly, it’s harrowingly bad.

  3. Josella

    Yes it certainly was a missed opportunity London Boy. I thought these triffids gained brawn but lost all their ‘brains’ and the countless small plot changes never added anything to the original.

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