Deviations & The Chrysalids

If people remember the British writer John Wyndham (1903-1969) at all it will be because of the Day of The Triffids a wonderful low-key science fiction novel about what happens when certain very large plants (Triffids) are developed, grown and harvested….Wyndham also wrote other great novels such as The Midwich Cuckoos (filmed as The Village of The Damned) amd The Kraken Wakes (about interstellar entities that take to The Deep causing maelstroms and tidal waves / tsunami’s , putting up the price of air travel because everyone ‘s scared to travel by sea, and then They or their Allies begin to invade coastal regions….)

But the Wyndham book most applicable to Statisticians, is The Chrysalids (Michael Joseph 1955, Penguin 1958). A post apocalyptic society scared of mutations, any mutations, in plants, in animals, and particularly in humans, known as Deviations.

‘Blessed is the Norm’,  ‘Watch thou for the Mutant’. So when young David befriends Sophie, who turns out to be a Deviation, because she has six toes (“éach foot five toes, and each toe shall end with a flat nail”);…well you’ll just have to read it. A very thoughtful book indeed.

Author: Dr Dean McKenzie

I hold a BA(Honours) in Psychology from Deakin University, and much more recently, a PhD in Psychiatric Epidemiology (Classification & Regression Trees) from Monash University (2009) I have many years experience applying classical (e.g. ANOVA), contemporary (e.g. quantile regression) and data mining (e.g. trees, bagging, boosting, random forests) to psychological, medical and health data using Stata, IBM SPSS, Salford CART and open source Weka, as well as in statistical consulting, and advising people of many different levels of stats experience