Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chocky, by John Wyndham

(hb; 1968)

When Matthew Gore, adopted eleven-year old son of David and Mary Gore, begins exhibiting odd behavior -- asking strangely adult/scientific questions, drawing in a skewed manner unfamiliar to children, and rescuing his nine-year old sister, Polly, from drowning when he doesn't know how to swim -- his parents are understandably alarmed.

Turns out that good-natured, obedient Matthew is being haunted by an invisible friend (who's more than an invisible friend), Chocky, who's driving Matthew to act strangely. Chocky, according to Matthew, is a visiting alien -- an androgynous one, who can only visit "certain kinds of [human] minds".

Larger problems stemming from Chocky's unseen presence become apparent: Mary, Matthew's mother, is worried that her adoptive son is "possessed"; this alarm heightens when the world at large -- via Matthew's teachers, his highly-publicized rescuing of his sister from drowning, and other events -- make him a national figure.

Matthew's father, David, narrates this tale in a simply-stated, semi-chatty, warm manner, charting the duration of Chocky's mostly friendly, uber-curious, only-heard-through-Matthew visitations.

Charming, short (it runs 183 pages), afternoon-read of a novel. Check it out.

On January 9, 1984, Chocky became a television mini-series in the UK. It lasted six episodes. James Hazeldine played David Gore. Carol Drinkwater played Mary Gore. Andrew Ellams played Matthew Gore. Glynis Brooks provided the voice of Chocky. Penny Brownjohn played Phyl. Zoe Hart played Polly Gore.

Two sequel six-episode mini-series followed.

Chocky's Children, the second mini-series, began airing in the UK on January 7, 1985. Andrew Ellams reprised his role of Matthew Gore (from the previous series). Angela Galbraith played Aunt Cissie. Michael Crompton played Luke. Glynis Brooks reprised her voice-role of Chocky. Annabel Worrell played Albertine Meyer.

Chocky's Challenge, the third mini-series, began airing in the UK on September 29, 1986. Annabel Worrell reprised her role of Albertine Meyer (from the previous mini-series). Prentis Hancock played Arnold Meyer. Glynis Brooks once again reprised her voice-role of Chocky. Illona Linthwaite played Dr. Liddle.

Not surprisingly, Steven Spielberg has bought the film rights to Chocky. (This information comes from a September 25, 2008 article posted on the website Digital Spy. Another, more cautious article, posted on the Cinematical website, mentions that Spielberg may direct the film, but he also has a few other films that he's publicly attached his name to.)

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