The 1984 television adaptation of John Christopher`s Tripod series was culturally significant as it illustrated the fears of a nation. British television had also adapted the work of Terry Nation, Nigel Kneale and most pertinently John Wyndham.
Wyndham was born in Knowle, Solihull and it is easy to perceive how the well manicured lawns and hedges of his childhood home could be turned into nightmarish zombie plants. With the Soviet threat looming, an increasingly paranoid populace with an overactive imagination could breathe life into such a world.
Similarly a post-apocalyptic world as envisioned by Christopher could have easily materialised itself into a quiet village in the West Midlands. Tripods animated my imagination.
If the most potent elements of a creative work are those left unseen and unstated, then The White Mountains – the first of John Christopher’s Tripods trilogy – should be intoxicating to the point of coma. Actual white mountains, for a start, are at a premium, only fleetingly glimpsed at the book’s conclusion. Even the Tripods themselves are restricted to fleeting cameos. But the existence of both – offering tantalising refuge and dire peril respectively – overshadow and drive the events of this languidly atmospheric novel.Musty Books: “The White Mountains” by John Christopher (1967) — The Haunted Generation