Consider Her Ways and Others | John Wyndham

If your only experience with Wyndham was being forced to read The Crysalids in high school, it’s time to pay this science fiction master another visit. In addition to rereading all of his major books (The Day of the Triffids, The Kraken Wakes, The Chrysalids, The Seeds of Time, Trouble with Lichen, and The Midwich Cukoos), I’ve been reading through his lesser known forays such as Chocky, The Outward Urge and Web. I recently continued this journey with his collection of short stories entitled,Consider Her Ways and Others.

As with most collections, there are highlights and lowlights. The novella, “Consider Her Ways” is the shining light here. It’s a disorienting horror story about the future of men and women with a distinctive Wyndham twist at the end. Many of the stories in this collection deal with time travel, Wyndham’s bread and butter, in some form.

Wyndham falls short when he stretches too far from his base such as “Oh, Where, Now, is Peggy MacRafferty?”, a cultural satire where prospective movie starlets are groomed and modified to the point where they are all indiscernible.

The final story, “A Long Spoon,” was a clever surprise. It’s quite a twist on the old idea of selling your soul!

These stories are well worth reading.

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2 Responses to Consider Her Ways and Others | John Wyndham

  1. Steve Staab September 5, 2013 at 10:29 pm #

    Finished the novella “Consider” today and checked the web for comments on it. I found the story in Damon Knight’s “Science Fiction Argosy” from 1971 and am not real familiar with Wyndham despite heavy sf reading over the last four decades. It is indeed a terrific story with an early feminist slant; I would say it’s ahead of its time for the genre. Anyway, I think the story makes an interesting contrast with Tiptree’s “The Screwfly Solution”, another piece that can perhaps be interpreted in feminist terms (I must state here that neither story is didactic and maybe I read too much into them). I also found your current review of the Ellison interesting, since when I read it way back in the 70s I thought the book too terrifying to keep in the house! I have since replaced, though not reread, it. Finally, I see you are conversant with Fred Pohl’s work, and I’m sure you are saddened by his recent passing as am I and many others; we miss him already. Thanks for listening, and goodbye from Sioux Falls, SD.

  2. Stephen Barkley September 9, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I’ve always loved old science fiction, especially short stories and novellas. Wyndham’s one of my favourites. I only have a couple books of his left in my “to read” pile.

    Everyone reads material through their own lens. My lens is informed by my Christian faith and role as a pastor. Ellison, therefore, was definitely a challenge! In one sense, his commentary on idolatry is masterful. In another sense, the material made me want to drop the book in disgust a few times!

    Yes, sad news about Pohl. He was one of the masters of the genre, for sure.

    Happy reading!

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