In Chocky, pioneering science-fiction master John Wyndham confronts 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 teachers to answer, Matthew's 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 ending with a surprising and impassioned plea for better human stewardship of the earth.
About the Author
John Wyndham is the pen name of John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris (1903-1969), the son of an English barrister. The boy's parents separated when he was eight, and after attending various boarding schools, he lived off family money while trying his hand--unsuccessfully--at careers such as law, commercial illustration, and advertising. In 1924 he turned to writing, and within a number of years he was selling short stories, mostly science fiction, to pulp magazines in America, as John Beynon or John Beynon Harris. During World War II, he served behind the lines in the British army, and in 1951 he published The Day of the Triffids, his first novel as John Wyndham, to tremendous success. Wyndham's six other novels include The Kraken Wakes and The Midwich Cuckoos, and The Chrysalids (published as an NYRB Classic). Margaret Atwood is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays, including the 2000 Booker Prize-winning The Blind Assassin; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize and the Premio Mondello; The Robber Bride, Cat's Eye, The Handmaid's Tale, and The Penelopiad. Her latest work is a book of short stories called Stone Mattress: Nine Tales (2014). Her newest novel, Madd-Addam (2013) is the third in a trilogy comprising The Year of the Flood (2009) and the Giller and Booker Prize-nominated Oryx and Crake (2003). Atwood lives in Toronto with the writer Graeme Gibson.