July 16th, 2018


Of Cuckoos and Chrysalids

The Chrysalids and The Midwich Cuckoos. These were the only two John Wyndhams I really loved as a child, although I read and quite enjoyed some others. It occurs to me now that they share the theme of a small group of telepathic children, mistrusted, feared and reviled by wider society. Cuckoos is the negative version, framed by a adult point of view in which the children are deserving of death. Chrysalids is the positive vision, in which the children are the basis of a possible new beginning for humanity, outgrowing and then escaping the dogmatic strictures of their elders. It was of course that book that resonated most with me, especially with its emphasis on keeping one's condition a secret. (The Cuckoos, by contrast, were happy enough for people to understand and tremble at their power.)

Well, I dare say that the fantasy of having secret powers is common enough among all children; but I wonder whether anyone has done a reading of The Chrysalids as an LGBTQ text?