Go Back   SFX > SFX > The SFX Book Club

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-12-2012, 11:06 AM
Dave Bradley's Avatar
Dave Bradley Dave Bradley is online now
Group Editor-In-Chief
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Future Publishing, Bath
Posts: 3,494
Default Book Club 85: THE TRIPODS by John Christopher

Hello again, fellow literanauts

In SFX 232, author Jonathan Green will be looking at John Christopher's series of young adult novels that began with The White Mountains in 1967. If you remember the TV adaptation but have never read the books, it's time to pick them up!

Wikipedia page

Amazon availability

Let us know what you remember about these classics or, if you're reading them afresh, how you found them almost 50 years after publication. The deadline to get your comments into SFX 232 is 18 December 2012.

Have fun! Dave
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-12-2012, 11:28 AM
hammard's Avatar
hammard hammard is online now
Master Of The Universe
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 3,997
Default Re: Book Club 85: THE TRIPODS by John Christopher

Is this going to include When The Tripods Came?

If so, would people suggest reading it before, after or during the main trilogy?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 18-12-2012, 10:41 AM
Dave Bradley's Avatar
Dave Bradley Dave Bradley is online now
Group Editor-In-Chief
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Future Publishing, Bath
Posts: 3,494
Default Re: Book Club 85: THE TRIPODS by John Christopher

Hey folks. It's been quiet (because of Christmas I guess) so we'll continue to take your comments on this for another couple of weeks even though we've begun work on the next one (The Princess Bride). Cheers! Dave
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 18-12-2012, 11:44 AM
captrooper captrooper is offline
Owner Of A Lonely Heart
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1
Default Re: Book Club 85: THE TRIPODS by John Christopher

read this in high school english ,but that was 20 twenty years ago but remember teacher being a bit put out as a bunch of us read on ahead and finished book 1 and then when ahead and read books 2 and 3 too.
Don't know what i would think of it now but my 15 year old self really enjoyed it, remember it being it being quite a romp.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 19-12-2012, 07:18 PM
Craig Oxbrow's Avatar
Craig Oxbrow Craig Oxbrow is offline
Ruler Of Mars
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Edinburgh
Posts: 566
Default Re: Book Club 85: THE TRIPODS by John Christopher

The books have the obvious advantage of the last part actually having been made...
__________________
I sometimes write about Doctor Who and/or RPGs.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 21-12-2012, 08:54 AM
Rompa1978's Avatar
Rompa1978 Rompa1978 is offline
God Of The Stratosphere
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Southampton, Hampshire
Posts: 422
Default Re: Book Club 85: THE TRIPODS by John Christopher

Quote:
Originally Posted by hammard View Post
Is this going to include When The Tripods Came?

If so, would people suggest reading it before, after or during the main trilogy?
normally start with 'When the Tripods Came', but by no means do you have to read that first before you start on the Will, Henry and Beanpole saga.

In fact I would read the original trilogy first and if you have nagging thoughts about the Tripod Universe, then read 'When The Tripods Came.'
__________________
I've brought you a gift. It's a crystal. Nothing more. But if you turn it this way and look into it, it will show you your dreams. But this is not a gift for an ordinary girl who takes care of a screaming baby

MY TWITTER : @Cantell1994 (Turingfan) https://twitter.com/Cantell1994
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 21-12-2012, 09:10 AM
Rompa1978's Avatar
Rompa1978 Rompa1978 is offline
God Of The Stratosphere
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Southampton, Hampshire
Posts: 422
Default Re: Book Club 85: THE TRIPODS by John Christopher

I absolutely loved this book and its saga. I would not use the generic term Cosy Catastrophe for this series, yes there are survivors living an agricultural/serfdom existence, but this is all ignorance of the real danger that is approaching through the heavens towards mankind.

I first read this series books when I was actually quite old, 23. It was (may still be?) out of print in the UK for a while and I order the box set from America. I was young (5-6) when the BBC series was on TV and used to terrify me, but it being in the back of my mind made me sought out the original books. I used to read them on the commute from Southampton to Brighton; I finished a book a day, and found them to be really exciting and entertaining. There is a part in the second book, (City of Gold and Lead) when I was extremely nervous for the protagonist and I missed my stop.

I highly recommend reading the series and the ending still leaves questions about the future of mankind. Did anyone else who read this before Spielberg’s War of The Worlds – 2005, picture the Tripods to look like the ones in Steven’s film? Though, the influence of H.G. Wells Classic runs openly through the series of books.
If you liked this I highly recommend by the same author, ‘The Death Of Grass’ (Lord of the Flies for adults)
__________________
I've brought you a gift. It's a crystal. Nothing more. But if you turn it this way and look into it, it will show you your dreams. But this is not a gift for an ordinary girl who takes care of a screaming baby

MY TWITTER : @Cantell1994 (Turingfan) https://twitter.com/Cantell1994
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-01-2013, 11:49 AM
hammard's Avatar
hammard hammard is online now
Master Of The Universe
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 3,997
Default Re: Book Club 85: THE TRIPODS by John Christopher

Okay finally got round to reading them (Xmas has been a bit barmy this year, hope I'm in time) and have to day I rather enjoyed it in a rompish way.

There is nothing much original in the concept, all coming out of the 19th Century. The Tripods are essentially Wells' Martians, The Caps are an evolution from the fear of mesmerists, the move back to a preindustrial society is very similar Erehwon (they even suggest it may be like that with the concept that man might have made machines that conquered them).
In fact the majority of the book feels like a ripping yarn from a Boy's Own Adventure Annual. An almost entirely male cast (the original three being 2 teenager rivals from a well-to-do rural family and a french Da Vinci) go hiding through the countryside, ruined cities, see jousts, compete in sports days, fly around in balloons and generally have a rather spiffing time. Yes they are fighting an evil occupation but there is never any real sense of menace. These creatures fall down pits, can be stopped by basic explosives, are extremely arrogant and can't even concieve of resistance groups. At the same time, the resistance groups feel less like Red Dawn's Wolverines and more like the Harrow debating society at the UK finals. Most of the time any character they hint may die will turn up to have miraculously survived a few pages (won't spoil which ones).

The exception to this are scenes inside the city which are more like Patrick Troughton era Doctor Who. Unfortunately, more The Krotons or The Dominators than The War Games or Tomb of The Cybermen. In these we see a well organised civilization but, like with the 2 former examples, you are amazed that these fools could conquer anyone. They seemed to use essentially a Derren Brown mind tirck via TV, which just seems to show how stupids human are (well ain't that true ).

In the end it goes through all the usual tropes like aliens being unable to understand human failings and defeat by an everyday item. However, it doesn't stop it from being an entertaining and rather fun adventure.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 13-01-2013, 12:01 PM
MudCrab MudCrab is offline
Owner Of A Lonely Heart
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Oz, the one with the Dropbears, not the wizard.
Posts: 7
Default Re: Book Club 85: THE TRIPODS by John Christopher

Bugger - I really need to look into this section more often.

I was just looking at one of my bookshelves today and thinking I haven't actually read any fiction for weeks and had basically decided I should re-read my copy of The White Mountains I picked up from a book sale months ago.

Repeat after me - in 2013 I will not be such a slack arse, in 2013 I will not be such a slack arse...
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 30-01-2013, 03:25 AM
MudCrab MudCrab is offline
Owner Of A Lonely Heart
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Oz, the one with the Dropbears, not the wizard.
Posts: 7
Default Re: Book Club 85: THE TRIPODS by John Christopher

I re-read The White Mountains this week for the first time in about 28 years or so having picked up copies of the 1982 Beaver Books edition with the lovely Chris Moore covers that continue from book to book.

Looking back now that I am older and, well, older... I am surprised at how short these books are. White Mountain comes in at 153 pages (about 40,000 words?) and having read a lot more since my first time in the mid 80s I find myself a bit cynical about how many of the check boxes the plot ticks.

You have the Chekhov brand hand grenades they discover and carry along just in case they might become useful later (which now I type it, suddenly makes me wonder if the trio are not actually characters in a computer RPG... :-) ), a proto love interest that leads to tragedy and a form of betrayal, and more importantly for any Young Adult story, grown ups that cannot really be trusted.

So I find myself reading this book and being grumpy and old thinking to myself that it really isn't as good as I remember it to be, completely missing the point that the 12 year old version of myself completely loved it to the extent he borrowed books two and three from a teacher's own bookshelf to finish the story arc.

And what did that 12 year old think? Did he wonder about the old world discoveries our three friends discovered and cryptically try and describe? Did he plot the journey and deduce the ruined city was Paris? Was he shocked when the nice young French girl was revealed to have already been capped? Was he breathless when they finally fought with and defeated a tripod using the eggs they were clever enough to take with them?

You can bet your first editions he did, and take a safe side bet that 12 year old me was also shattered when in book 2 it was finally revealed what had happened to Eloise the French girl.

True I look at it now with the harsh eye of someone who has read this plot many times before and with the eye that was wondering if the jealously Will was showing over the friendship between Henry and Jean-Paul was actually intended to be hinting at just a little bit more 'complex', but the books should be considered based on their target audience age group.

With that I think they are wonderful books. The 12 year old me was gripped by them. The older me may now reconise all the tropes and be poking some holes in some of the world building but overall these books have aged really well and I really hope that in the future when the Tripods do come, that a new generation of young teens will find a copy and love them as much as I did.
Reply With Quote
Reply
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.