Archive for May, 2022

The Kraken Wakes

Sunday, May 15th, 2022

By John Wyndham

The Short Take:

This 1953 sci-fi is terrific and I’m glad Penguin Random House has re-issued it. Earth’s invaders aim for the ocean instead of the land–which makes sense since most of Earth is water. The plot covers about 10 years and incorporates financial, international trade, and political angles. What makes this particularly interesting is that climate change plays a central role in the fate of humanity.


Wyndham is considered to be one of Great Britain’s best sci-fi writers ( best known for Day of the Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos). This is the first one I’ve read but it won’t be the last. He is known for incorporating social commentary in his works, and what applied 70 years ago still applies now.

Published at the height of the Cold War, the reactions of the Soviets at every earthly change sound like a spoof and are highly amusing. Another interesting aspect is how public reaction to possible dangers ebbs and flows. People adjust and move on. One scientist who early on predicts what is happening is widely disparaged–unwisely as it turns out. And everyone has faith in the ultimate success of scientists and engineers, even after multiple failures on their part; that is a refreshing change from modern times.

A Little Plot:

Newlyweds Mike and Phyllis are honeymooning on a cruiser when they see five fuzzy red objects sink beneath the ocean surface. When they return to land–and their jobs as radio reporters–they discover others have seen similar phenomenon, with the red objects always sinking into oceans at their deepest parts. It’s a short term wonder and reason for fear, then people forget about it. Bad idea.


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May 2022