The story takes place in an undefined future where society has reverted to a pre-industrial stage. The world is ruled by huge three-legged robots. At a certain age every child gets an implant that removes all its creativity, curiosity and passion, turning them into compliant, mellow sheep.

Before he receives his implant the hero of the story escapes with his friend (a Samweis Gamdschie-like sidekick). On their journey through the in-fact post-apocalyptic world they discover that the world was once way more advanced and that the robots are alien oppressors.

  • 11
    +1 just because I'd never seen the German transliteration of Samwise Gamgee before. :)
    – mskfisher
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 12:53
  • @mskfisher: lol, thanks! Didn't even noticed it was a transliteration...
    – Einer
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 13:04

2 Answers 2


Book: The Tripods by John Christopher.

The story of The Tripods is a variation on post-apocalyptic literature, wherein humanity has been enslaved by "Tripods" — gigantic three-legged walking machines, piloted by unseen alien entities (later identified as "Masters"). Human society is largely pastoral, with few habitations larger than villages, and what little industry exists is conducted under the watchful presence of the Tripods. Lifestyle is reminiscent of the Middle Ages, but small artifacts from the Modern Age are still used, such as watches.

Humans are controlled from the age of 14 by implants called "Caps," which suppress individuality and free will. Some people, whose minds are broken by the Caps, become vagrants. According to The City of Gold and Lead, Masters begin to believe that humans should be capped at an earlier age "because some humans, in the year or two before they are Capped, become rebellious and act against the masters", but this cannot be done, because Capping must wait until the braincase has stopped growing

TV Series: The Tripods

Earth has been conquered by an alien race known as the Masters using their giant Tripods. When humans reach the age of sixteen, they must undergo a process known as capping which places their mind under the control of the conquerors. In 2089, having learned the truth, cousins Will and Henry Parker embark on a journey to the White Mountains in search of a group of free men.

  • 2
    Yeah, thanks! Great! Love this place :-)
    – Einer
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 9:02
  • 4
    Great book series! For the time the TV Series was The Bomb, but in re-watching... well you judge: youtube.com/watch?v=-hYJumW_G8E Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 10:21
  • 4
    The TV series was incredibly popular here in Germany (in part of course because there where only three TV channels to choose from and SciFi series were pretty rare) - if you ask any german fourty-something with at least a passing interest in SciFi about his fav series from his youth chances are that he'll become all starry-eyed and recount the plot of The Tripods. Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 10:48
  • 5
    Since german is involved here, for completeness the german title is "Die dreibeinigen Herrscher"
    – PlasmaHH
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 13:49
  • 2
    I remember it because it was serialized as a comic over the course of several years in "Boys' Life" magazine, the official magazine of the Boy Scouts of America. Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 14:55

The "Tripods" TV series was based on John Christopher's trilogy: 1. "The White Mountains" 2. "The City of Gold And Lead" 3. "The Pool of Fire"

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.