The novel, The War of the Worlds, written in 1898 has been in print from first publication until today without interruption. H. G. Wells, author of such other novels as The Invisible Man and The Time Machine, presents a story about a war where an alien race of beings from the planet Mars turns their eyes towards Earth, a planet filled with resources and natural beauty, still untainted by pollution and toxins. Writing in journal format, Wells turns a simple science fiction story into a fearful prophecy of total war where civilians would become targets while burnt earth strategies would become the norm. Man’s dependence upon technology and communication would be nullified and humanity’s dominance of the world they live in would be no more.
The tale is a foretelling of things to come that peculiarly showed how an alien invasion was a figurative metaphor of how man’s inhumanity upon man would make the 20th century one of the most destructive in world history. With the world’s dependence on technology for a more pampered life, it also would bring with it dangers that were only forewarned in 1898. And the irony of the story is that what would stop the Martians would be bacteria, Earth’s smallest and tiniest organisms.
Dark Discussions, in this first part of a three part arc, discuss the novel, its importance to genre fiction, and the writer who came up with a story which at the time was an astoundingly original idea. Further discussion includes the first great interpretation of the story by Orson Welles’s Mercury Theater, a radio theater presentation that brought about a panic to those who listened thinking it to be an actual news bulletin. Orson Welles shows how in 1938 he would become one of the greatest actor/director’s in history while bringing his cohorts at the Mercury Theater (including composer Bernard Herrmann) to the attention of the world.