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Day of the Triffids---inspiration behind Maximum Overdrive?

Discussion in 'Maximum Overdrive' started by vivazebool, Nov 16, 2016.

  1. vivazebool

    vivazebool Well-Known Member

    Right now, I'm finishing the last couple chapters of Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. As I read it, there are some thing that remind me of Maximum Overdrive. It makes me wonder if Stephen King drew some inspiration from this novel when he adapted Trucks into the classic 80's horror romp Maximum Overdrive.

    First of all, the green comet light in the sky. Of course, in MO, the comet light does nothing to affect you, but in Triffids, the green comet light makes you blind.

    In Maximum Overdrive, the trucks are pre-existing things, created by man and used for man's advantage. After Rhea-M, however, what once served man uses the affects of the comet as a means to take advantage of and dominate mankind.

    In Day of the Triffids, the triffid is a fictional plant that human's discovered and cultivated for their oils and juices. Then, after the green comet light, after everyone is blinded, the triffids take advantage of the situation and begin to attack humans strategically. Do you notice a parallel between how the machines and the triffids were once "enslaved" for man's uses?

    Also, the novel doesn't give an explanation of why the comet happened or where the triffids came from. Near the end, Bill and Josella discuss theories of what the comet really was and where the Triffids actually came from. In the same way, King doesn't explain why the trucks were taking over the world, but rather, Billy (Day of the Triffids and Maximum Overdrive both have a main character named Bill) discusses his theory: "It's a broom..."

    Also, near the end in Day of the Triffids, the characters talk about going to the Isle of Wight. In Maximum Overdrive, the characters talk about escaping to an island.

    Lots of parallels. And of course, I'm just theorizing. But it appears that maybe Stephen King drew some inspiration from John Wyndham here and paid his book Day of the Triffids some homage.
  2. You might be right :) I read somewhere (might have been in an interview, might have been here - probably on one of the UTD threads) that SK has read sooooooo many novels by soooooo many authors that he's often unsure of where his inspirations come from. I suspect the parallels weren't purposeful but you never know :)

    John Wyndham was so imaginatively creative, he inspired many authors. A few of us on the What are you reading thread have mentioned wanting to reread The Day of the Triffids, The Kraken Wakes/Out of the Deeps, and The Chrysalids/Re-Birth.

    Langoliers is my favorite sci-fi novel by SK, have you read it?

    Welcome to the SKMB :) I love your avatar! :)

    Edit: I just noticed you're not new to SKMB, I just havn't seen your avatar. I tend to identify people by their avatars lol.
    Gerald, Mel217, vivazebool and 2 others like this.

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    ...don't know if it was an homage or not, but he has previously mentioned on many occasions, how the movies and writings that he took in as a young'un-helped influence his writing.....
  4. vivazebool

    vivazebool Well-Known Member

    No Bounce, No Play: I've been a member of this group for almost ten years...it has just been awhile since I've been active. Thanks for saying hello. Yes, I've read The Langoliers and also own the DVD. It's a great story. Thanks for the compliment on my Avatar. I loved The Bill Hodges Trilogy.
  5. I loved the Bill Hodges Trilogy too. I almost wish SK hadn't written the trilogy though. After I read it, I tried re-reading a couple detective mysteries by other authors that I had loved before reading BHT and I don't love them anymore :( SK is too good of a detective mystery writer!!! I hope he writes more of them... and writes faster!!! :)
  6. vivazebool

    vivazebool Well-Known Member

    He makes you feel like his characters are your best friends. That's why other writers aren't your favourites anymore.
  7. That's true :) Some of SK's characters are actually better friends than some of my real life friends... and they never ask to borrow money lol.
    Neesy, Spideyman and GNTLGNT like this.
  8. Ceefor

    Ceefor Well-Known Member

    The Day Of The Triffids is a great book.
  9. Gerald

    Gerald Well-Known Member

    I think, like many writers, he takes inspiration from many sources, including other authors. There are actually probably few if any authors who are completely original, all of them are inspired by the ones that came before them. Even authors who started new literary genres like Poe are influenced by earlier colleagues (Poe was a literary critic, and a lot of stories begin with a quote from someone else's work).
    Lovecraft joked: 'There are my Poe pieces and my Dunsany pieces, but, alas, where are my Lovecraft pieces?'

    Unfortunately for Trucks it seems SK never wrote about the inspiration behind it - Night Shift doesn't have notes on the stories yet, like later short story collections.
    It is possible Wyndham was on his mind, but if he intended it as an homage he would probably have put a fragment from Day of the Triffids at the beginning of the movie, or in the story collection - like he put a fragment of Arthur Machen in Just After Sunset, as the inspiration behind 'N.'

    To me it feels most like Night of the Living Dead, with trucks (and other machines) coming to life instead of the recently deceased. In Romero's dead films there is talk of going to an island too.
    It also reminds of Matheson's Duel (which he later did a direct homage to with Throttle). Matheson's I am Legend was a big influence on Romero's Night of the Living Dead.
    I feel more than any writer Richard Matheson is a direct influence on SK.
    GNTLGNT, Spideyman and Neesy like this.

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