31 August 2010

John Wyndham, Chocky, 1968

There’s still some uncertainty over Chocky’s original publication date: Penguin claims it was first a novel in 1968 but John Clute points to an earlier appearance in Good Housekeeping in 1963 – it certainly exhibits a domesticated gentility suitable for such a magazine. This Penguin Modern Classics edition comes with an introduction by Brian Aldiss that maybe goes into a bit too much detail, as if readers of this particular edition will almost certainly have read it before. It’s an undemanding and straightforward read that ultimately reveals the identity of that extra voice in young Matthew’s head, with perhaps only a fleeting mention of the troubling matter of schizophrenia and no mention at all of Multiple Personality Disorder which, given Matthew’s Harley Street treatment, would at least have been considered more than the outdated diagnosis of ‘possession’. This seems to indicate that the science has been excised as much as possible, making it one for the list of recommendations of science fiction for people who don’t read science fiction.  PY


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