John Wyndham was born 110 years ago

John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris, this was his full name, was born on July 10, 1903 in the village of Dorridge, England.

When John Wyndham was a child, his parents separated and he and his brother were sent to various colleges. After completing his studies, he tried various jobs and in 1925 started writing, science fiction but also detective stories.

In the following years he used various pseudonyms by combining two or even three of his names and his stories were also published on the American pulp magazines. His early novels were: “The Secret People” (1935), “Planet Plane” (1936) and “The Sleepers of Mars” (1938).

During World War II, John Wyndham served in the Ministry of Information and later in the British Army in the Royal Corps of Signals. After the war he returned to writing, also stimulated by the success in that field of his younger brother Vivian Beynon Harris. Initially, he thought to devote to stories closer to what we now call fantasy to expand his field but soon returned to science fiction, first with a few short stories and then decided to write a new novel.

The long break of the war allowed John Wyndham to mature as a writer. In this new phase of his activity he used for the first time the pen name under which he published his best works. That’w why he became universally known as John Wyndham. Initially, his earlier works weren’t even mentioned, so people thought he was a new author.

In 1951 John Wyndham reached a new fame with the first of the novels published under that name: “The Day of the Triffids”. In the following years he published three more novels that make up the quartet of his masterpieces: “The Kraken Wakes” (1953), “Re-Birth” or “The Chrysalids” (1955) and “The Midwich Cuckoos” (1957).

In the following years, John Wyndham published other novels, though none of them is considered at the level of his best one: “The Outward Urge” (1959), “Trouble with Lichen” (1960) and “Chocky” (1968). In those years, perhaps the author expressed his best in short fiction, with stories later included in various anthologies.

John Wyndham got married in 1963 to Grace Wilson. He died on March 11, 1969, leaving two novels published posthumously: “Web” in 1979 and “Plan for Chaos” in 2009.

John Wyndham was one of the greatest masters of British science fiction. He was able to skillfully mix the catastrophic tradition of his country dealing with it with a certain detachment and often a component of humor. A number of his stories have been adapted for cinema and television and decades later are still read around the world.

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