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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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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?

I absolutely loved The Chrysalids as a child. Don't think I've read it since - would be interesting to revisit.

I read The Chrysalids in Year 10, for English, though the teacher never really gay us any class discussion. I took home my copy and read it in an evening. Next day I told my teacher I’d finished and asked,”What next?” His reply? “I don’t know. You weren’t supposed to finish it for three weeks!” I reread it in ebook a year or two ago. I still enjoyed it, though no - I didn’t interpret it as an LGBTQ text. Why do you think so? Did I perhaps miss something? Maybe I need to read it again.

An interesting point, though, about the positive and negative versions of the same theme.

I don't know that I can add much to what I said above. I very much doubt that Wyndham intended it as such, but it's common in LGBT experience to have a secret that parents and others disapprove of but that links you to otherwise unconnected people in a kind of community. I had no such community in rural Hampshire in the pre-internet '70s, but the fantasy was a very appealing one.