Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Freaky Baby

The Midwich Cuckoos (1957)

by John Wyndham

Stuffy English people, Hysteria, Tea Cosies, Those creepy blonde children with the glowing eyes you see getting spoofed all the time in The Simpsons

The Gist: One day a small town in England somewhere goes whump and all falls asleep and stuff. Anyone who walks within a five-mile radius of the place hits the ground. Which is frightfully inconvenient you see. Then they all wake up and they’re fine. Except when they find out later that all the women in the town of childbearing age are pregnant. Even the ones who’ve never made whoopy before. Yes I know I’m mixing the lingo of fifties Britain and fifties America but hush your mouth.

And then what happens?: Wyndham makes it about everything except the story itself. He whips up these great plotlines but then just uses them to poke a stick at lots of other things. “Civilisation is total decadence”. Discuss. “Women are inherently arrogant as they know they shall always be required in nature”. Rebuttal? “Would you love a thing what you don’t know where it came from?”. And he scatters it all about like confetti and it’s these questions that stay with you a lot longer than the image of a blonde-headed freak-child. Though they are effing weird.

Read it for: You've seen a thousand things that are derived from the storyline, but the likelihood is none of them have been done better than this.

But really don’t read it: If you’re pregnant.

Level of Crazy: 9. No go refer to a pregnant woman as “the host”.

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