The Kraken Wakes
is probably the most different of John Wyndham's still read novels. Which perhaps helped me to recognise what makes him stand out in the field of sci-fi. He's a brilliant combiner of elements of both horror and sci-fi to create a chillingly realistic novels with intelligent thoughts and ideas behind them. While he may take inspiration from Verne and Wells (he refers to them within his actual novels in clever metalinguistic intertextual devices) he writes works which are original in their entirety and fascinating. That said The Kraken Wakes
is probably not the best place to begin reading any of Wyndham's novels. I'd start with The Chrysalids, The Midwich Cuckoos or The Day of the Triffids.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this book for me is that there was no actual Kraken in it. At least the version I read. I read the blurb about fireballs falling into the oceans, ships disappearing and a world-wide catastrophe (John Wyndham loves those, he'd no doubt be writing a story about 2012 if he were still writing now) and thought: okay so extraterrestrial threat and a Kraken rising up and destroying civilisation, yes? Well actually the Kraken in the title was a metaphor for other things rising up out of the ocean. However despite this disappointment it was still a brilliant read that reminded me of a mix between Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and (curiously) The White Mountains.
Either way I highly recommend that anyone interested in classic sci-fi read this novel. It has creatures rising up out of the ocean to battle land dwellers. It questions the control of government and its influence in the media and how it covers and conceals from its people. Is a government there for the people instead of the people there for the government? I strongly encourage this as an addition to the John Wyndham bookshelf shelf you sci-fi fans will now have to be building.