Monday, May 26, 2008

14, 15, 16 The Tripods Trilogy by John Christopher

The Tripods trilogy picture

Got these through the 50 books network. Jarrett found the first one and sent it on to the Lantzvillager, who passed it on to me with the second one as well. I found the third (in a special reprint with a new forward from the author) at the bibliotheque nationale. I am compressing all 3 in one post because my two predecessors did a better job than I in providing the overview of the plot of each book. In short, it is the story of a young man brought up in a post War of the Worlds earth, where humans are kept docile by a "capping" ceremony done to them when they reach puberty. Giant metal tripods patrol pastoral and sparsely-populated human lands. The young man avoids the capping and discovers a cell of rebels. He joins them and works to take down the alien oppressors.

I found these books to be fast, a bit shallow, but thoroughly enjoyable. I think the lack of depth is actually the lack of "boring stuff" that most 13-year old boys would not find interesting. In that view, these books are extremely tightly structured. It does get richer, though. I found Christopher's portrayal of the aliens nuanced. At first, you hate them, but you also get enough of a glimpse of them that you can't hate them. Since their behaviour very much reflects our own human colonization (of other humans and animals), you can't ultimately hate them without hating humans. Christopher is smart like that. He doesn't let his readers off easy, which is great for adolescent boys who just want to kick some alien ass (though there is a good amount of that as well).

The period where the heroes are in the alien city is quite disturbing and frightening as well. It's all been quite well thought through. The other thing I enjoyed was the pastoral nature of the world. The lack of technology and competition for resources kind of makes the alien-controlled earth a medieval fantasy land, which Christopher does a great job of describing. He throws out enticing details like food in a market stall or modes of dress that efficiently add richness to the atmosphere.

These really are fantastic books and I strongly recommend them for anyone looking for a gift for a young reader (probably better skewed towards the males).

Lantzvillager's review of the first and second books (I guess he hasn't finished the trilogy yet!)

Jarrett's review of the first, second and third books


Jarrett said...

and the circle is complete...

Buzby said...

If you review them as one they only count as one.

Olman Feelyus said...

Start making rules when you get up to double-digits, beeyotch! :)

beemused said...

damn, this trilogy sounds really good. but it seems you're already revealed too much, plot-wise, in your supposedly minimalist summary.