Ships are sinking for no apparent reason, carrying hundreds to a chill, dark, underwater grave. Strange fireballs race through the sky above the deepest trenches of the oceans. Something is about to show itself, something terrible and alien, a force capable of causing global catastrophe. Humankind, having probed the uncharted vastness of the seas with men and machines, has found that it is not alone; a powerful and inexplicable presence lurks there. Has it mistaken our investigations for threats? Thus, the reader is tantalised into entering the story which begins with mysterious fireballs crashing into the sea at points which mark the deepest areas of the oceans.
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I admire Stephen King greatly and respect his opinion about books, so I decided to read the two Wyndham novels myself. Politicians, the masses, and the news media contest the credibility of scientific warnings until the matter becomes acute. Countries and governments dither over international cooperation and fear that one or another will gain a military or political advantage from the problem.
The collapse of international cooperation is mirrored by the disintegration of local government. In one scene that prefigures Katrina, Wyndham writes:.
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Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham ,. Mark Salwowski Cover Artist. Ships are sinking for no apparent reason, carrying hundreds to a dark underwater grave.
Strange fireballs race through the sky above the deepest trenches of the oceans. Something is about to show itself, something terrible and alien, a force capable of causing global catastrophe. Get A Copy. Mass Market Paperback , pages. Published by Penguin Books first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews.
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Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of The Kraken Wakes. Feb 06, Bradley rated it really liked it Shelves: shelf , sci-fi. I will probably always nod to Wyndham's Day of the Triffids as a crowning piece of SF, but The Kraken Wakes takes on a very similar tone, albeit very different problems. The two both have a heavy focus on science and rationality in the face of unfathomable problems.
Triffids had mass blindness turning most of humanity into meat for ambulatory plants while Kraken shows us just how lame we are against deep-ocean dwelling aliens despite nukes I especially loved I will probably always nod to Wyndham's Day of the Triffids as a crowning piece of SF, but The Kraken Wakes takes on a very similar tone, albeit very different problems.
I especially loved the full logical exploration of options, possibilities, and solutions We don't like the idea of giving up our naval superiority? Oh, well. Let the escalations begin. And they go far beyond mere escalations. Some of the novel has the tone of War of the Worlds, while other parts feel like any number of global-warming disaster novels or movies! Don't be fooled into thinking this is a Captain Nemo novel.
The whole world is affected and the death count is truly awesome. In that respect, it's very much in tune with Triffids! View all 7 comments. May 27, Apatt rated it really liked it Shelves: pres-sf , sci-fi.
The allegation is that Wyndham tends to write books where the middle class white protagonist is not much inconvenienced by the catastrophe affecting the general populace. He just holes up somewhere nice, smoking his cigars until it is all over. I have always felt this is unfair as his central characters get into plenty of scrapes in the books I read.
Having said that, the first half of The Kraken Wakes really does seem to justify this denunciation. It starts off very cosy and shuffles along amiably until all hell breaks loose in the novel's second half.
The basic storyline is that some mysterious fireballs from outer space fall into deep oceans and soon ships start disappearing in the middle of their voyage. The word "alien" is not used in this book but yeah, bloody aliens are at it again.
The book is quite nicely structured with the occasional jumps in the timeline to up the intrigue factor. There is an obvious tonal shift from the first half of the book to the second. Initially the first person narrative is written in rather jovial vernacular language. The two main characters Mike and Phyllis Watson are journalists through whose eyes we see the events of the novel.
They are a lovely couple, always ready with their cute bantering and terms of endearment, some of their lovey dovey dialogue made me a little nauseous. In the meantime the scientists and the military spend half the book barking up the wrong tree.
I was getting a little tired of the cosy jocularity until the middle of Phase 2 when the aliens proceed with their land incursions.
The war with the aliens takes up the rest of Phase 2 with humanity giving a pretty good account of ourselves though the war continues. In Phase 3 the aliens engineer a major global disaster and civilization has broken down. This is the most thrilling part of the book, as despair sets in and the cosy atmosphere is suddenly gone. The situation looks grim for mankind and even our middle class protagonists are in danger.
Though I like the more epic feel of the story as the war with the aliens goes on for several years rather than just over a wild weekend, and life on Earth is never the same again afterwards. By the end of the book my faith in John Wyndham is entirely restored. I feel like the lighthearted tone of the earlier part of the book is a misstep for the story Wyndham wanted to tell, once the tone shifts into darker apocalyptic territory he is firing from all cylinders.
So 3 stars for the first half of the book, and 5 stars for the second, that averages out to 3. View all 15 comments. Jan 09, Manny rated it it was ok Shelves: science-fiction. There's a law of nature, still waiting to be discovered, which states that the probability of a tune or a bit of bad poetry getting stuck in your head is in inverse proportion to the quality of the piece in question.
I read this book almost 40 years ago, and every now and then the following piece of doggerel resurfaces and annoys my conscious mind: Oh I'm burning my brains in the back room Almost setting my cortex alight To find a new thing to go crack-boom And blow up a xenobathite Isn't it just There's a law of nature, still waiting to be discovered, which states that the probability of a tune or a bit of bad poetry getting stuck in your head is in inverse proportion to the quality of the piece in question.
I read this book almost 40 years ago, and every now and then the following piece of doggerel resurfaces and annoys my conscious mind: Oh I'm burning my brains in the back room Almost setting my cortex alight To find a new thing to go crack-boom And blow up a xenobathite Isn't it just horrible?
You'd hope that the person who made it up would be grabbed by a slimy marine monster's tentacles, dragged screaming to the water, and slowly drowned. But who says there's no justice? That's exactly what happens.
View all 9 comments. Recommended to Bettie by: Laura. Shelves: radio-4 , spring , play-dramatisation , re-visit , sci-fi , paper-read , summer Performed with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in a terrifying modern retelling of alien invasion and global flooding. The floods have recently devastated parts of Britain. But what if the flood waters never subsided? What if an apparent meteor shower was actually the invasion fleet of an alien race, incubating in the ocean deeps until they were ready to begin their war of attrition against the human race?
What if we were trapped on a drowning planet? Val McDermid is a long-time fan of Wyndham's work and retells this dramatic novel in light of contemporary fears of climate change. Recorded with a live orchestral accompaniment from the BBC Philharmonic. Composer Alan Edward Williams worked with Val to create a brand new 50's B movie inspired orchestral score that takes on the role of the unseen Kraken during the performance.
Episode 1: Radio reporters Mike and Phyllis Watson are drawn into the story when a Northern Lights cruise spots five fireballs landing deep in the ocean. With other global sightings, social media is agog, for a while. But governments don't lose interest when Twitter does. And when naval expeditions link up with scientists to investigate the deeps there are more shocks in store.
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I admire Stephen King greatly and respect his opinion about books, so I decided to read the two Wyndham novels myself. Politicians, the masses, and the news media contest the credibility of scientific warnings until the matter becomes acute. Countries and governments dither over international cooperation and fear that one or another will gain a military or political advantage from the problem. The collapse of international cooperation is mirrored by the disintegration of local government. In one scene that prefigures Katrina, Wyndham writes:.
The Kraken Wakes
This time we could undoubtedly make out a lighter patch. It was roughly oval, but indistinct, and there was nothing to give it scale…. Rising faster than we are. Getting beyond our angle of view. Gone somewhere up above above us. Simultaneously, there was a brief, vivid flash on the screen, and it too went dead. The sound of the winch outside altered as it speeded up….
Terror from the Deeps: The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham (1953)
It started with fireballs raining down from the sky and crashing into the oceans' deeps. Then ships began sinking mysteriously and later 'sea tanks' emerged from the deeps to claim people. For journalists Mike and Phyllis Watson, what at first appears to be a curiosity becomes a global calamity. Helpless, they watch as humanity struggles to survive now that water - one of the compounds upon which life depends - is turned against them. Finally, sea levels begin their inexorable rise. The Kraken Wakes is a brilliant novel of how humankind responds to the threat of its own extinction and, ultimately, asks what we are prepared to do in order to survive.
The Kraken Wakes is an apocalyptic science fiction novel by John Wyndham , originally published by Michael Joseph in the United Kingdom in , and first published in the United States in the same year by Ballantine Books under the title Out of the Deeps as a mass market paperback. The title is a reference to Alfred Tennyson 's sonnet The Kraken. The novel describes escalating phases of what appears to be an invasion of Earth by aliens, as told through the eyes of Mike Watson, who works for the English Broadcasting Company EBC with his wife and co-reporter Phyllis. A major role is also played by Professor Alastair Bocker — more clear-minded and far-sighted about the developing crisis than everybody else, but with the habit of telling brutally unvarnished and unwanted truths. Mike and Phyllis are witness to several major events of the invasion, which proceeds in a series of drawn-out phases; it in fact takes years before the bulk of humanity even realise that their world has been invaded.