Publish Date: 1968
Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery
Page Length: Approximately 200 pages
"Chocky" by John Wyndham is a thought-provoking science fiction novel that explores the themes of human evolution, communication, and the conflicts that arise when new ideas challenge established norms. With an engaging plot and well-developed characters, Wyndham invites readers to ponder the possibilities of extraterrestrial influence on human intelligence.
The story revolves around Matthew Gore, a twelve-year-old boy living in a typical English suburban setting with his parents, David and Mary, and his younger sister, Polly. Matthew's life takes an unexpected turn when he starts to engage in conversations with an entity referred to as "Chocky." At first, he assumes it to be an imaginary friend, but as the novel progresses, it becomes evident that Chocky is something far more profound.
In the initial chapters, Chocky communicates with Matthew, discussing various scientific and philosophical concepts. Matthew's parents are initially bemused by his conversations but begin to grow concerned when his behavior becomes increasingly unusual. They consult a child psychologist, Dr. Joseph, who suggests that Matthew may be suffering from a form of psychosis. However, David, an open-minded man, believes there might be more to Chocky than meets the eye.
As the communication with Chocky becomes more intense, Matthew's knowledge expands rapidly. He demonstrates an exceptional grasp of advanced mathematics, biology, and technology. This development fills both his parents and the wider community with a mix of awe, fear, and skepticism. Meanwhile, Matthew's school starts to question his remarkable progress, leading to confrontations with his teachers and peers.
The second section sees the Gore family visit a renowned scientist, Professor Edmonds, seeking guidance about their son's mental state. Professor Edmonds also becomes convinced that Matthew is accessing knowledge and concepts beyond his age. Chocky maintains that she is an extraterrestrial entity, here to observe and learn about human beings. However, she insists that she means no harm and only wants to help humanity.
As the situation unfolds, conflicts arise between different characters' interpretations of Chocky's purpose and origins. Matthew, who has developed a deep bond with Chocky, experiences immense frustration as he struggles to convince his parents and the scientific community of her existence. Chocky's ability to predict accidents and strange occurrences ultimately convinces some of her authenticity, but others remain unconvinced.
In the concluding chapters, tensions intensify when Matthew, manipulated by Chocky's influence, manifests the ability to teleport small objects. Realizing the potential dangers of this power falling into the wrong hands, David and Professor Edmonds agree that steps must be taken to neutralize Chocky. They devise a plan to sever the connection between Chocky and Matthew using electroconvulsive therapy.
The novel ends with Matthew agreeing to undergo the treatment, marking the end of Chocky's influence. As the Gore family returns to their lives, the question of Chocky's existence still lingers, with unresolved debates pertaining to the nature of her origins and intentions.
Through its exploration of extraterrestrial communication and the impact of advanced knowledge on human society, "Chocky" invites readers to question the limits of human intelligence and consider the potential consequences of encountering entities from beyond our world. Wyndham effectively underscores the struggles encountered when new ideas clash with societal norms, highlighting the importance of open-mindedness and critical thinking in the face of the unknown.