Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Book review: When The Tripods Came

Long, long ago I was in Cub Scouts. And as a Cub Scout I got the magazine Boys' Life. Every month they'd have a one page cartoon that was based on a book. To read the whole story could take years. About the time I started getting them they'd started with the illustrated version of "The Tripods". For years I thought I'd missed a lot of it. But I recently saw all four books in the trilogy (the author went back and make a prequel) at the Friends of the Arlington Library book sale and snatched them up. My Krode was with me and it turned out he had digital versions of the Boys' Life series. I'd only missed a couple of pages.

The books are apparently rather popular in England. Popular enough to have a TV show based on them. Not popular enough for them to finish the show. There have been tales about a series of movies based on the books in the works.

The first book "When the Tripods Came" takes place roughly now. It tells the tale of how the Tripods first came to Earth and took over. They're really no match for our military so they create a TV show which latches on to susceptible minds and makes them huge fans of the Tripods and willing to follow orders. The show is translated into all languages and shown in every country. Viewers start to leave their homes and form communes. Then they spread out and start trying to get people to wear caps that have the same effect as the TV show.
The characters that the book focuses on flee England and face the rampant xenophobia the crisis has generated. They end up with the Swiss in the last refuge on Earth. As it falls they move into the mountains.

It's 150 pages and targeted at probably 5th grade readers. But it's not insultingly bad. Just a short, simple story that leads into three more similar books.

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