The Day of the Jellyfish


Let’s be honest. We all like a good story about the destruction of the world. Now some are too silly. I’m thinking of ‘The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes’ and some are too depressing, like ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy, but there are loads of ones in between that are in the Goldilocks zone.

Remember John Wyndham? He hit the ball out of the park with ‘The Day of the Triffids’, ‘The Kraken Wakes’ (published in the US as ‘Out of the Deeps’) and ‘The Midwich Cuckoos’. If you read any of his stuff in school, they probably foisted one of his weaker books on you which was called ‘The Chrysalids’ (published in the US as Re-Birth).

G. Ballard destroyed the world in countless ways. So did John Christopher. For some reason the British Science Fiction authors of the fifties and sixties loved to destroy the world, with special attention to England. I guess it must have appealed to their readers.

Now a story, a real news story caught my eye, and I can’t decide if it would make a good ‘end of the world story’ or just a silly one. Jellyfish are taking over the oceans and it may be too late to stop them. Yes, jellyfish, which have no brain and are 95% water, are the next great crisis.

It turns out this isn’t a laughing matter. (Stop giggling.) The little buggers aren’t all that small. For example the Nomura jellyfish can grow to be the size of large refrigerator. In 2009 a Japanese fishing trawler capsized. Too many jelly fish in its net.

An explosive breeding of jellyfish is called a bloom. In 2000, a bloom of sea tomato jellyfish in Australia was so enormous — it stretched for more than 1,000 miles from north to south — that it was even visible from space. Let me repeat that – visible from space.

The pesky problems have clogged the water intake on Nuclear reactors on four different continents. In Northern Ireland they killed a hundred thousand farmed salmon. In the Black Sea they wiped out the fishing.

It might not be as scary as a Great White Shark, but I’ve been stung by a jelly fish and it hurts. At least it wasn’t a boxy jellyfish. This charming species which is also known at the sea wasp is widely regarded as one of the most deadly creatures on earth. They have been responsible for at least 5,568 deaths recorded since 1954.

Who feels like writing the novel? (All I want is acknowledgment for suggesting the idea.)

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