Book Fortyone: The Chrysalids

The Chrysalids, John Wyndham

It is pure coincidence that I picked this off the to-read stack right after putting down To Kill a Mockingbird. Superficially these are insanely different novels. One is the story of a small southern town in the 30s struggling with racism and the other is about a post-apocalyptic colony whose hatred of mutants fuels their religious fervor. But really, in some sense the subtext of both books is about fear of the "other" and what that fear leads people to do and become. And both happen to be told through the voices of child narrators, making their similarities that much more striking. If I taught high school English I would certainly teach these two books back to back!

And in my very (very very very very) limited reading of science fiction, I've found that sci-fi is the perfect vehicle to give deeper insight into god and religion. Okay, the only other books I can cite in that category are The Sparrow and its sequel Children of God, but that's enough to make my point, right?


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