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 War of the Worlds

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Triceratops
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PostSubject: War of the Worlds   Fri 09 May 2014, 15:10

"No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water."

The opening sentence of HG Wells' "War of the Worlds", the classic tale of alien invasion.

The story first appeared in Pearsons Magazine as a serial, running from the April to December 1897 issues. So popular was the story, that a revised version ( The Man on Putney Hill chapter was added; and the ending slightly changed, in the original, the narrator is recruited as a suicide bomber by a provisional government, and is on his first and last mission when he discovers the Martians already dead) was published by Heinneman in 1898. Since then the book has never been out of print.
In 1938, Orson Welles made a radio play based on the story, though set in New Jersey rather than Surrey, causing a panic among some listeners who mistook it for a real event. It has been filmed twice, though again the American producers set both films in the US. Jeff Wayne's musical version appeared in 1978, first as an album then as a stage show.
No doubt other interpretations will follow, but if you've never read it, pop into your local bookshop or library and get a copy.

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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Fri 09 May 2014, 15:18

Actually, you don't need to buy it or borrow it;

http://www.fourmilab.ch/etexts/www/warworlds/warw.html
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Fri 09 May 2014, 15:49

The US Army comes off second best in George Pal's 1953 film;

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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Fri 09 May 2014, 21:48

@Triceratops wrote:
The story first appeared in Pearsons Magazine as a serial, running from the April to December 1897 issues.

It's believed that Wells was inspired to write the story by the contemporary British-Sudanese War and the Italo-Abyssinian War. The European and Ottoman imperial powers were represented by the 'yet as mortal' Martians while the Africans represented the Earthlings. The British and Egyptians won victories at Ferkeh and Hafir in the summer of 1896 but the Italians had already suffered a humiliating defeat at Adowa in March of that year. This called in to question prevailing notions of European military superiority.

The conflicts of 1896 took place in East Africa and disease did not play a decisive role in the Italian defeat at the Battle of Adowa. However it was the concept of West Africa as being 'the white man's grave' (as popularised by F Harrison Rankin in the 1830s) which is also believed to have played a part in Wells' thinking at that time.
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Mon 12 May 2014, 10:47

@Vizzer wrote:
@Triceratops wrote:
The story first appeared in Pearsons Magazine as a serial, running from the April to December 1897 issues.

It's believed that Wells was inspired to write the story by the contemporary British-Sudanese War and the Italo-Abyssinian War.
 
The prevailing Imperialism of the late 19th century was certainly a factor in Wells' story, (from what I've read it was his brother Frank, while they were out for a walk, who first made the suggestion of the sudden arrival of a technically superior civilisation in leafy Surrey). Wells  asking his readership "how would you like it?"



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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Mon 12 May 2014, 12:58

Hmm. Six years from this to his "Land Ironclads" supposedly triggered in part by the Boer War, married with Diplock's "pedrails".

Story at http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0604041h.html
Paper model visualisation :


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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Mon 12 May 2014, 13:58

Yes, Mr Wells was quite prescient with some of his forecasts. The Black Smoke the Martians use in WOTW can be seen as a foreshadowing of the use of Mustard and Phosgene gas in the First World War, while The War in Air (1908) has the aerial bombardment of cities and The World Set Free (1913) introduces nuclear weapons.
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Mon 12 May 2014, 14:08

Generally regarded as the model for HMS Thunder Child, the torpedo-ram HMS Polyphemus built in 1881;

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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Mon 12 May 2014, 21:39

That's a good photo of HMS Polyphemus Trike. I've only ever seen pictures of it in dry dock. On the water it looks quite innocuous. Yet concealed from view is the potency lurking beneath the bow waterline.
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Mon 12 May 2014, 23:27

Actually almost totally ineffectual in her designed role. It wasn't till the 3rd iteration that an effective counter to the "jeune Ecole" / "mosquito fleet" of torpedo boats was arrived at - the "Torpedo Boat Destroyer" or "TBD" like this :



The description was shortened to "Destroyer" and it took over the role of the Fleet Torpedo Boat for the next half century.
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Tue 13 May 2014, 08:36

The big mystery is how Wells ever found time for writing at all. This from David Lodge in a 2011 newspaper article describing what he found when he delved into Wells' life while preparing a foreward for a new Penguin edition of "Kipps". What would the Martians have made of all this?

He believed in free love and practised it tirelessly. He was married twice to women he loved, but neither of whom satisfied him sexually, and had several long-term relationships, as well as innumerable briefer affairs, mostly condoned by his second wife, Jane. Of particular interest because of the scandal they aroused were his relationships with three young women half his age: Rosamund Bland, the secretly adopted daughter of Edith and Hubert Bland, who was actually fathered by Bland on Edith's companion and housekeeper, Alice Hoatson; Amber Reeves, a brilliant Cambridge undergraduate, also the daughter of prominent Fabians; and Rebecca West, whom he invited to his Essex country house in 1912 to discuss her witty demolition of his novel Marriage in the feminist journal The Freewoman, a meeting that led in due course to the birth of Anthony West on the first day of the first world war, and a stormy relationship that lasted for some 10 years. Reeves also became pregnant by Wells, by her own desire, with dramatic consequences. There were interesting liaisons with the novelists Dorothy Richardson (who portrayed Wells in her novel sequence Pilgrimage), Violet Hunt and Elizabeth von Arnim. Then there was Moura, Baroness Budberg, a Russian aristocrat who survived the Russian revolution as the secretary and probably mistress of Maxim Gorky and with whom Wells slept when staying in Gorky's flat in Petrograd in 1920. They met again after Jane's death in 1927. Moura was the great love of his later life and his acknowledged mistress, but refused to marry or cohabit with him. Wells has the reputation of being a predatory seducer, but in all the relationships I investigated, with the possible exception of the always inscrutable Moura, he was initially the pursued rather than the pursuer.

What fun it must have been to be a Fabian though (as long as one kept up one's practice in the martial arts):

According to Wells's own brief, slightly ashamed account in the Postscript, he "never found any great charm in Rosamund", but "she talked of love and how her father's attentions to her were becoming unfatherly", so he decided to protect her from incest by possessing her himself. In this he was encouraged by her natural mother Alice, "who had a queer sort of liking for me". Hubert got wind of the affair and used it to blacken Wells's character among the senior Fabians later that year at a critical moment in his campaign to reform the society. Relations cooled between the two families but there was no permanent breach until, at some subsequent date, Wells and Rosamund were intercepted by Bland on Paddington station in the act of going off together – "for a dirty weekend in Paris", according to her sister-in-law's later testimony. By some accounts the enraged father, an amateur boxer who used to spar with Bernard Shaw, thumped Wells before dragging his errant daughter home.
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Tue 13 May 2014, 14:42

@Vizzer wrote:
That's a good photo of HMS Polyphemus Trike. I've only ever seen pictures of it in dry dock. On the water it looks quite innocuous. Yet concealed from view is the potency lurking beneath the bow waterline.

This the one, Vizz? Just the job for bringing down a Martian Fighting Machine.

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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Tue 13 May 2014, 14:50

@nordmann wrote:

Wells has the reputation of being a predatory seducer, but in all the relationships I investigated, with the possible exception of the always inscrutable Moura, he was initially the pursued rather than the pursuer.

Wells is supposed to have had a scent (no, it wasn't Lynx) that attracted women to him.
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Tue 13 May 2014, 15:07

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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Tue 13 May 2014, 15:25

Back to Martians;

"Several farm waggons and carts were moving creakily along the road to Addlestone, and suddenly through the gate of a field we saw, across a stretch of flat meadow, six twelve-pounders standing neatly at equal distances pointing towards Woking. The gunners stood by the guns waiting, and the ammunition waggons were at a business-like distance. The men stood almost as if under inspection."

The 12 pounder field gun;


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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Tue 13 May 2014, 16:47

Another view of the 12pdr 8cwt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32s4qCCFnmk
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Tue 13 May 2014, 19:12

Gil, or indeed anyone else, ... why was the Royal Naval field gun competition at the Royal Tournament finally ended?

Wiki says nothing about why, only that it ended in 1999. Please don't say it was because of Mr Elfin Sayftee.
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Tue 13 May 2014, 20:28

MM, the field gun competition has been revived as part of the British Military Tournament, successor to the old Royal Tournament. http://www.britishmilitarytournament.com/the-history-of-the-british-military-tournament/
As far as I know, the R.T. ended because of declining ticket sales and so the field guns went with it.
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Tue 13 May 2014, 21:59

Ah .. I see ... I rather assumed the old Royal Tournament was still with us, like troopin' the colour, an' changin' the guard etc... but obviously not.

But it is good to see a successor has taken its place, and supported by the services' charities too. But I am now left wondering what other "institutions" have changed since I left the UK (2002).

I suspect quite a lot actually. pale
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Tue 13 May 2014, 22:44

Still talking 12pdrs, naval guns and all that ....

Of course the relief of Ladysmith wasn't just about a few jolly Jack Tars running around with a light field gun. These are the actual guns being hauled to Ladysmith:




And here are the real artillery professionals with a proper big field gun - the Royal Horse Artillery - getting into position during the Boer War:

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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Tue 13 May 2014, 23:15

It was actually the inadequacy of the normal artillery (totally outclassed by the Boer's "Long Tom" Krupp guns that led to Powerful & Terrible's 4'7" being mounted on makeshift field carriages - like this


Take a look at "Joe Chamberlain" etc at 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QF_4.7-inch_Gun_Mk_I%E2%80%93IV

If the 2nd Boer War hadn't occurred, it is quite likely that the 13pdr and 18pdr would not have been developed - the consequences in 1914 could have been more than a tad unfortunate.
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Wed 14 May 2014, 07:20

@Triceratops wrote:
Scandal;

http://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/books/165911/The-sordid-secret-life-of-HG-Wells


Oh, thank you for that, Trike. I know one really should not laugh  Embarassed  at others' unconventional private lives, but I'm afraid I did.

Poor Hedwig Gatternigg - how dreadful to have offered herself in all her splendid nakedness on Wells' hearth rug (well, naked that is apart from her stockings, stilettos - or whatever the equivalent was back then - and the mackintosh), only to be rejected in favour of the Secretary of State for India. No wonder she flipped so badly. Final humiliation to be "bundled" off to Charing Cross Hospital by the hall porter and two policemen, presumably still in her seduction attire.

May I just add something about some members of the Bloomsbury group - another lot of eccentric, sex-mad Fabians - then will let you all get back to artillery and Martians and such.

The poet Roy Campbell and his wife became friendly with Vita Sackville-West. The friendship became somewhat strained when Campbell discovered that his wife was having an affair with Vita: "It was then that we entered the most comically sordid and silly period of our lives. We were very stupid to relinquish our precarious independence in the tiny cottage for the professed hospitality of one of the Stately Homes of England, which proved to be something between a psychiatry clinic and a posh brothel."

When Campbell was in London he told C.S. Lewis of the affair he replied: "Fancy being cuckolded by a woman!" According to Cressida Connolly: "Roy was a proud man, and this remark so punctured his pride that he returned to Kent in a towering rage. A terrified Mary took refuge at Long Barn, where Dorothy Wellesley sat up all night with a shotgun across her knees."

Campbell had a meeting with Vita Sackville-West about the affair. Afterwards he wrote: "I am tired of trying to hate you and I realize that there is no way in which I could harm you (as I would have liked to) without equally harming us all. I do not dislike any of your personal characteristics and I liked you very much before I knew anything. All this acrimony on my part is due rather to our respective positions in this tangle."

It was agreed that the affair would come to an end. However, Mary found the situation very difficult and wrote to Vita: "Is the night never coming again when I can spend hours in your arms, when I can realise your big sort of protectiveness all round me, and be quite naked except for a covering of your rose leaf kisses?" When Roy Campbell went into hospital to have his appendix out, the relationship resumed.

Virginia Woolf was also very jealous of the affair. She wrote to Vita: "I rang you up just now to find you were gone nutting in the woods with Mary Campbell... but not me - damn you." It is believed that Woolf's novel Orlando was influenced by the affair. In October 1927 Virginia wrote to Vita: "Suppose Orlando turns out to be about you... and the lusts of your flesh and the lure of your mind (heart you have none, who go gallivanting down the lanes with Campbell) - suppose there's the kind of shimmer of reality which sometimes attaches to my people... Shall you mind?"


Nutting in the woods with Mary, having gallivanted down the lane with her. The mind boggles. But I suspect Wells would have loved it.

OK - back to the sanity of the Martian invasion and big guns.


Last edited by Temperance on Thu 15 May 2014, 07:24; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : It took two policemen to remove the hapless but determined Hedwig, not one as I originally stated.)
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Wed 14 May 2014, 09:40

" Guns were in rapid transit from Windsor, Portsmouth, Aldershot, Woolwich--even from the north; among others, long wire-guns of ninety-five tons from Woolwich."

When I first read this, I had no idea what "wire guns" were. Turns out it was a method of constructing the barrel of an artillery gun using wire wound in compression between the inner and outer tubes of the barrel.
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Wed 14 May 2014, 09:42

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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Wed 14 May 2014, 09:50

Oh, the jolly japes of the bohemian upper classes; Jeremy Kyle, thou shouldst be living at this hour................... What a programme that would have made. Who would you have booed, and who cheered?


Anyway, to return to the Martians:


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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Wed 14 May 2014, 10:35

Jeff got the lyric slightly wrong when he quoted the narrator (do we ever get to know his name?) quoting Ogilvy;

"The chances against anything manlike on Mars are a million to one," he said.
(Chapter One: The Eve of the War)
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Wed 14 May 2014, 12:47

"About eleven, the next morning's papers were able to say, a squadron of hussars, two Maxims, and about four hundred men of the Cardigan regiment started from Aldershot."

"Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim Gun, and they have not"
Hilaire Belloc


The Maxim machine-gun, (subsequently the Vickers-Maxim, then the Vickers gun) invented by Hiram Maxim, was the world's first true machine gun as opposed to the multi barrelled rapid fire guns which had preceded it. As such, it was the essential weapon of colonial expansion as it allowed a handful of men to generate an overwhelming volume of fire against a numerically larger enemy. Of course, by 1914 all the European armies had them.

Maxim Gun detachment of the KRRC during the Chitral Campaign of 1895;
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Wed 14 May 2014, 13:06

@Meles meles wrote:
 But I am now left wondering what other "institutions" have changed since I left the UK (2002).

If BBC programs can be classed as 'institutions' then Top of the Pops ended in 2006 while Blue Peter was dropped from BBC One in 2012.
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Wed 14 May 2014, 13:38

Of course, by 1914 all the European armies had them. wrote:

But, if memory serves, in 1914 Germany was turning out nearly as many in a month as the entire stock held by the British army.
Was this just a reflection of a 'It's just not cricket to use these on decent European chaps, old boy' mind set or were there other reasons for the British not to exploit this weapon?
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Wed 14 May 2014, 14:22

@ferval wrote:


But, if memory serves, in 1914 Germany was turning out nearly as many in a month as the entire stock held by the British army.
Was this just a reflection of a 'It's just not cricket to use these on decent European chaps, old boy' mind set or were there other reasons for the British not to exploit this weapon?

I had a quick look at some sites  ferval, the German Army had 12,000 machine guns in August 1914. Each battalion of the German Army had an attached machine gun company equipped with 6 Maxim 08 machine guns compared to 2 machine guns per battalion in the BEF.

The British Army was, in 1914,a small professional force compared to the conscripted European armies, and the manufacturing base was simply not organised for mass production of weapons. Not just machine guns but munitions of all types.
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Wed 14 May 2014, 16:58

@Triceratops wrote:
@ferval wrote:


But, if memory serves, in 1914 Germany was turning out nearly as many in a month as the entire stock held by the British army.
Was this just a reflection of a 'It's just not cricket to use these on decent European chaps, old boy' mind set or were there other reasons for the British not to exploit this weapon?

I had a quick look at some sites  ferval, the German Army had 12,000 machine guns in August 1914. Each battalion of the German Army had an attached machine gun company equipped with 6 Maxim 08 machine guns compared to 2 machine guns per battalion in the BEF.

The British Army was, in 1914,a small professional force compared to the conscripted European armies, and the manufacturing base was simply not organised for mass production of weapons. Not just machine guns but munitions of all types.
To the extent that they had to get Enfield P1914s built in the US because there weren't enough Lee-Enfields to go round (lucky for the Americans - it was rapidly adapted to fire their .300 ammunition, and most of Pershing's men were armed with it in 1918 - and many of the guns were used by the Home Guard in WWII). Even the "Scott" adapted 4.7"s made an appearance - used in the campaign to seize German South West Africa.
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Wed 14 May 2014, 20:15

"The central problem here is that Kitchener and his subordinate field commanders still dreamed of a battlefield where men showed individual dash, heroism, courage and initiative so while British factories produced fewer than 400 Maxim guns in 1914, German factories produced 500 a month under licence."
       
Trevor Royle from The Machine gun and Skye's Band of Brothers which I don't believe has been shown south of the border yet.
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Thu 15 May 2014, 08:57

@ferval wrote:
"The central problem here is that Kitchener and his subordinate field commanders still dreamed of a battlefield where men showed individual dash, heroism, courage and initiative so while British factories produced fewer than 400 Maxim guns in 1914, German factories produced 500 a month under licence."
       
Trevor Royle from The Machine gun and Skye's Band of Brothers which I don't believe has been shown south of the border yet.

It's no longer on i-player and hasn't appeared on youtube yet., just some snippets available;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03z2d1g
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Thu 15 May 2014, 09:38

Not perhaps a Heat-Ray, WW1 saw the appearance of the flamethrower;



The illustrated model is a British Army, Livens large flame projector.
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Thu 15 May 2014, 09:45

Time Team excavated one in Mametz.




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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Thu 15 May 2014, 10:01

I remember watching that episode, Nordmann.
..............................................................................

A representation of the Martians themselves;



Octopi from space. Incidentally, another race of cephalopods with a taste for humans appears in Wells' short story The Sea Raiders
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Thu 15 May 2014, 11:51

In the USA "War of the Worlds" had a sequel which at the time was almost as popular. Like "WotW" it appeared first as a serial, commissioned by and published in the New York Evening Journal between February and April 1898. Unashamedly cashing in on Wells' book's success the sequel, written by Garrett P. Serviss, brought the fight against the Martians to their home planet. Bizarrely the hero who led this counter-invasion was none other than Thomas Alva Edison!

"Edison's Conquest of Mars" was more Rice Burroughs than Wells in style, and the real-life version of the eponymous hero was quick to publicly distance himself from the work (though he had given permission for his inclusion in the story and apparently was secretly delighted with the venture). Despite (or maybe because of) such a national champion's inclusion the story had no lasting literary impact. However ultra sci-fi aficianados will acknowledge its three great "firsts" for that genre - the first ever battle in space, the first use of a space suit for EVA operations, and (Flash Gordon take note) the first ever ray guns!



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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Thu 15 May 2014, 12:53

A long time ago I read a couple of Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom novels. Due the  thin atmosphere on Mars, the female Barsoomians had evolved  very well developed chest muscles.
.............................................................

Earth bacteria, which won the day in WOTW, may have been accidentally transported to Mars on board Opportunity and Spirit

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacillus_safensis
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Thu 15 May 2014, 14:49

Orson Welles defends his 1938 radio play which caused a panic in America;



Nobody actually died as a result of Welles' broadcast, which was not the case in Quito in 1949, when another radio broadcast resulted first in a panic, then in a riot when the audience realised they had been tricked and set fire to the radio station, between 6 and 20 people lost their lives.
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Fri 11 Jul 2014, 14:23

If there ever is an alien invasion, they can always be baptized;

http://www.openminds.tv/pope-approves-of-baptizing-martians/27552
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Mon 11 Aug 2014, 16:11

Horsell Common, scene of the landing of the first Martian cylinder;

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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Mon 11 Aug 2014, 16:18

Another view of Horsell Common;

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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Tue 12 Aug 2014, 15:10

Old photographs of Weybridge and Shepperton, as Wells would have known them (before he had his Martians destroy them)

http://www.francisfrith.com/locations/weybridge/photos


http://www.francisfrith.com/locations/shepperton/photos
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Tue 12 Aug 2014, 16:23

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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Wed 13 Aug 2014, 12:33

Written in 1897, the same year that WotW was first serialised, The Crystal Egg was a short story by Wells, often seen as a prequel to the events in WotW.

http://www.online-literature.com/wellshg/2878/
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Wed 13 Aug 2014, 12:47

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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Mon 16 Feb 2015, 12:24

The Spielberg film from 2005 was on TV last night.



In this version, the Invasion is set in modern day New Jersey, presumably as a tribute to the Orson Welles radio programme. Those whining kids had me supporting the aliens.
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Mon 23 Nov 2015, 14:49

The latest addition to the ceratopsian WOTW collection, an Osprey publication;



rather strangely moves the action to August, when the book clearly makes it June. There are one or two other niggling minor, and to my mind, unnecessary changes. Though having said that, it is still quite entertaining.
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Fri 04 Dec 2015, 18:56

Spine tingling excitement!!!!! Gollancz have announced that Stephen Baxter will write the official sequel entitled The Massacre of Mankind to be published in January 2017 when the copywrite on the original runs out on 31 December 2016.

WOTW sequel
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PostSubject: Re: War of the Worlds   Fri 18 Dec 2015, 09:27

TV adaptation  on the cards;

WOTW-TV
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