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Saturday, January 26, 2019

ChockyChocky by John Wyndham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been a pretty staunch fan of John Wyndham already, so I am not all that surprised to find that I enjoyed Chocky. It's not about mass blindness and man-eating plants or about the great novel that was later turned into Stepford Wives. Indeed, this one keeps its focus tight upon a little boy whose imaginary friend isn't all that imaginary.

It's a fascinating concept, looked at psychologically, but it was the social consequences that made this really stand out. A nod at possession, the reason is quickly ignored for the more interesting conclusion.

Alien telepathy. I mean, hello! Since light is the speed limit, the only reasonably efficient method of exploration has got to be SOMETHING ELSE. Especially if you want to send real spaceships to other intelligent races, you need to make sure you're welcome. :)

But of course, filtering higher concepts and technologies through a kid can be somewhat... frustrating. I can perfectly see how fraught this particular first-contact scenario can be. And thankfully, it doesn't go the full-on Stephen King route. Almost everyone is rational and takes reasonable precautions and rationalizations. I mean, we are human, after all. We don't automatically throw our kids into mental asylums on a first brush with the uncanny or frankly impossible... Do we?

No, no. This is still a rational world in this short novel. Of course, if King wrote it, I would expect something with a death toll, a very, very angry alien, and a kid hounded by pitchforks.


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