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The Kraken Wakes

The Kraken Wakes felt very much like a H.G. Wells story. Mysterious Fireballs fall to earth, then ships start disappearing over the deep ocean. Predictably, humanity reacts to this disappearance by dropping nuclear bombs into the depths, and then a classic, though rather more subtle than usual, story of alien invasion unfolds.

As I said, The Kraken Wakes has the same feeling as the War of the Worlds, from the alien invasion right down to the fictitious news reporter recounting the story as their eye-witness account of events. Whereas the quality of Wells' writing often lagged far short of his imagination, however, Wyndham's prose is very, very good and at times borders on the exceptional. The pacing is slow, but in a way that feels representative of what would actually happen and slowly builds up tension, and the dialogue for the most part sounds exactly like that of real people talking to one other. It's a very understated excellence; never showy and rarely beautiful, but wonderfully executed nonetheless.

At times, the story of the world drowning (at least in part) due to human stupidity felt rather too close to home and it was an undeniably bleak read. It's a book that I think will stay with me for a long time, however, and I am now wondering why I've put off reading Wyndham's work for so long. Highly recommended.