In this series, we bring you the genre novels you really should have read by now…

chrysalidsfirsteditionTHE CHRYSALIDS by John Wyndham
aka Re-Birth (US Title)
First Published: 1955

Genre: SF, YA
Subgenre: Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian

“It seemed a very small toe to cause such a degree of anxiety. But there was often a great deal of grown-up fuss that seemed disproportionate to causes.”

Synopsis: Meet our narrator, David Strorm. He takes us to his childhood in rural Labrador, perhaps thousands of years hence, where his father is a prosperous landowner. A proud and devout man, the elder Strorm is ever watchful for signs of “Deviation”, for it says in Nicholson’s Repentances that “Only the image of God is Man”, and there are a whole bunch of strictures about the disposal of any living thing, whether it be animal, vegetable or even a child, that differs even a little bit from the norm. When David is ten, he meets a little girl called Sophie, and learns that she has two extra toes but is otherwise perfectly lovely, causing him to question whether Deviations are all bad. Especially when David is hiding a Deviation of his own… in his mind…

Why It’s Must-Read: It is pure, unadulterated genius, and a progenitor of all the dystopian YA that is so popular nowadays.

On Stage: David Harrower’s play was especially commissioned by the Royal National Theater.

In Other Media: Multiple audio books and radio plays.

In Popular Culture: Jefferson Airplane’s song “Crown of Creation” quotes lines from the book almost verbatim.


About the author


Rachel Hyland is Editor-in-Chief of Geek Speak Magazine and, she is pretty sure, the one true queen of Fantastica, raised in obscurity to protect her from the dark lord Sinisterium. If you see her magic sword, get in touch via twitter: @rachyland or Instagram: @rachelseesdeadpeople. The fate of the many worlds may just depend upon it.