Samuel Youd, better known to science fiction fans as John Christopher, author of The Tripods, died on Friday night aged 89.
He is one of the classic sci fi writers I have never read. Like so many others I have always intended to read The Tripods trilogy after enjoying the tv adaptation in the 1980s which, unfortunately, was never completed. Series one and two were broadcast, series three though commissioned and scripted, never went into production. Doctor Who fans of the era will remember that this was a time when the BBC started to shun the science fiction genre and began a slow process of euthenasia for everybody’s favourite Timelord.
For people of my age, it was the other highlight of Saturday afternoons where we would watch in horror as the insidious tripods moved silently across the landscape not really doing much. And that was what was so terrifying we didn’t know why they were here and yet their power was clear: humanity lived in a state of medieval technology, “capped” with a mind control device at age 14. When our protagonists journey to the white mountains ended, we saw the resistance settlement there in flames.