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Some observations on John Wydham's 'The Chrysalids'


This novel is a work of science fiction. John Wyndham wrote books so that people would be able to better understand the world we live in and the future we would inhabit.

I have found the novel immensely useful for what one might call “internal visualisation” if you feel that you can communicate telepathically and send pictures and sounds, smells even, into minds of other people via thought-waves, this book is for you.

The scene is set in a bleak world where any type of deviation from a strict norm, defined as an image of God, is ruthlessly eliminated. How true has this been of the modern world, where differences from our perceived norms or ideals are often tyrannised or attacked.

The young heroes of the novel, who have to flee from the district where these norms are strongly and cruelly enforced, are able to communicate via “thought-shapes” – telepathic transfer of picture or images- and this is a definite deviation. One of the girls is found to have a secret deviation, six toes on the one foot, I think. The central chatter is a young boy who remarks on the first pages, “people in our district had a very sharp eye for the odd, or the unusual, so that even my left-handiness caused slight disapproval”.

It's an exciting and stimulating read and these are just a few words about what spoke to me most memorably in the novel. I wish I had known of 'The Chrysalids' earlier, it certainly would have been useful when I wrote my long essay, 'An Enduring Case of Schizophrenia' , which appears on the National Perceptions Forum's website: www.perceptionsforum.org.uk

Take Care.

Andrew L