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MrShorty

When the Tripods Came by John Christopher

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The Tripods trilogy (The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead, and The Pool of Fire) was written by John Christopher in the '60's It is a science fiction trilogy for teenagers that describes a resistance movement against an alien race in the process of taking over the earth. When the Tripods Came is a prequel to this trilogy that was written in 1990 to tell the story of how the tripods originally conqured mankind.

 

After failing to conquer mankind through brute force (perhaps as a ruse to encourage overconfidence in mankind), the Tripods use television to create a following amongst the world's peoples. As these "Trippie fans" become more enamored of the Tripods, caps are introduced to further the Tripod's control over people's minds. The story follows one family as these events unfold. The family "catches on" and has to avoid being capped while trying to travel from England to Switzerland, which seems to be the European country with the least Tripod influence.

 

Considering how much I have enjoyed the earlier books in the Tripods trilogy on a few different occasions, I was disappointed in this book. The plot felt somewhat forced and the character development seemed weak. As a fan of original trilogy, it was interesting to get some sense of the "backstory" that Christopher envisioned. For others who are fans of the trilogy, this is an acceptable prequel that suffers from many of the same difficulties that other prequels have. It is a fairly quick read, as it is intended for a younger audience.

 

The series as a whole, I think, is a good introduction to science fiction for younger readers (late tweens to teens). The overarching theme explores something that we as LDS often see in our theology -- is it better to be "capped", without free will or conflict or pain or suffering, or is it better to be free to make your own choices, even though those choices often lead to conflict, pain, and -- on a larger scale -- war between peoples.

Edited by MrShorty

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So i finished The White Mountains, and i liked it. It starts out not giving away much about the Tripods, and i kept wondering how they could have taken over the planet. They seemed kinda wimpy and vague and it's hard to tell what's going on. Seemed like their form of mind control was sort of different. These people all seemed to retain a lot of personality. But as you go along you get a better picture of them. And it will be interesting to read the next one and get an even better idea of the Tripods and what exactly is going on.

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I read and enjoyed the Tripods trilogy as a kid. It made a big impression on me and I often find myself recalling things from the books.

It was one of my early gateway experiences into full nerd-dom :D 

Then when Star Wars came out, it was all over for me. Abandon all hope of a normal life :D

Edited by tesuji

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Thanks for the recommend, MrShorty. I really enjoyed this series. The second was my favorite of the three.

On 11/1/2015 at 0:26 PM, MrShorty said:

The overarching theme explores something that we as LDS often see in our theology -- is it better to be "capped", without free will or conflict or pain or suffering, or is it better to be free to make your own choices, even though those choices often lead to conflict, pain, and -- on a larger scale -- war between peoples.

In regard to the above, i think it further muddies the water to consider that being "capped" in this story wasn't your usual sort of mind control--or perhaps at least what i would consider the usual. They didn't become completely mindless automatons who were the same everywhere. It was really more of a hypnosis that left humans with a worshipful attitude toward these aliens and otherwise left personality and free will fairly intact. Different countries or areas still had differences. The "vagrants" were treated very well in some areas and really horribly in others. So on the large scale, yes, they didn't have war anymore. But on a small scale, people were still able to make choices and treat other people horribly if they so chose. 

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