Please join us at Malvern Books for Fantastical Fictions, an odd-monthly event focusing on the literary fantastic across genres and cultures. This month host Rebecca Schwarz will discuss the novel Chocky by pioneering science-fiction master John Wyndham.
Worth noting: if you buy Chocky for the discussion, you’ll get 10% off the list price!
In Chocky, Wyndham takes on an enigma as strange as anything found in his classic works The Day of the Triffids or The Chrysalids—the mind of a child. It’s not terribly unusual for a boy to have an imaginary friend, but Matthew’s parents have to agree that his—nicknamed Chocky—is anything but ordinary. Why, Chocky demands to know, are there twenty-four hours in a day? Why are there two sexes? Why can’t Matthew solve his math homework using a logical system like binary code? When the questions Chocky asks become too advanced and, frankly, too odd for Matthew’s teachers to answer, his parents start to wonder if Chocky might be something far stranger than a figment of their son’s imagination.
Chocky, the last novel Wyndham published during his life, is a playful investigation of what being human is all about, delving into such matters as child-rearing, marriage, learning, artistic inspiration—and it ends with a surprising and impassioned plea for better human stewardship of the earth.
John Wyndham (1903–1969) was the pen name used by the British science-fiction writer John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris. He began writing for money in 1925, mostly for American periodicals. After working as a government official and corporal operator in the army during World War II, he began writing science-fiction novels. His many works include The Day of the Triffids, The Kraken, The Midwich Cuckoos, Trouble with Lichen, Web, and The Chrysalids (NYRB Classics).