The Kraken Wakes

In the 1950s movie monsters and alien destruction more often represented the horrors of international politics than the fear depicted on the surface. The Invasion of the Body Snatchers is perhaps the most cited example of this: the metaphor being the replacement of real Americans by communist pod creatures without self-will or a yearning to be free.

John Wyndham’s The Kraken Wakes is another good example. Here, an unexplained bombardment from space leads many years later to monster squid creatures in sea tanks sinking shipping, gobbling small villages, destroying the ice caps and causing the oceans to rise and take over the land.

Yes, you can fit the narrative into a communist warning but I found it far more interesting to compare Kraken to the current political situation in the United States .. the West in general.

I started thinking this as I was chuckling over the representation of the Soviet Union in the novel. No matter what the West does, the Soviets announce that it is a move to discredit or to threaten the Soviet Union, and if a new theory or procedure is suggested, the Soviets insist that they invented it first. The Soviets were little more than a comic element in the novel, and they were pathetic liars.

Then consider the title: The Kraken Wakes. Where have we heard this recently?

No, I don’t think Wyndham was sufficiently prescient to envision a destructive Republican Party seventy years in the future but is it too far fetched to imagine that a deluded GOP operative might consider The Kraken Wakes as a viable model for Republican politics?

The ending to Wyndham’s story is also curiously apropos. Yes, like in The War of the Worlds, the aliens are vanquished but not before they effectively destroy the polar ice and flood much of the known world.

As Phyllis muses:

I was just thinking – Nothing is really new, is it. Once upon a time there was a great plain, covered with forests and full of wild animals. I expect some of our ancestors used to live there. Then, one day, the water came up and drowned it all – and there was the North Sea.

Will Ron DeSantis look back wistfully when the entire state of Florida sinks beneath the rising waters of climate change?

What are your thoughts on this?

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