Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Why Did Thunder Child Attack the Martian Tripods?



Science Fiction Lovers Indulge This Thought.

Imagine, if you will, how it would have been to be a Victorian sailor from retro British times of 1898. You are on board HMS Thunder Child and the ship is picking up strange semaphore messages from the shore stations. Invaders from Mars are striding about and destroying the entire fabric of our nation. Would you believe such outrages things? The entire ship would be alive with speculation and disbelief. These sailors were destined to see three and confront the colossal edifices in battle.

As an impressionable young lad, I always found myself pondering such things.

I would walk about in my dream thinking, “If I was in that story, I would do this or that.” I found myself wishing for all sorts of adventures.

When I read H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, I remember getting a tremendous lift out of the short excerpt when an ironclad called H.M.S. Thunder Child attacked three Martian tripods in the River Blackwater to save a paddle steamer full of refugees. 


It was not more than half a page and the uplifting and brave event was short lived. Yet it achieved great admiration from me as a young and impressionable avid reader. Anyone who has read War of the Worlds or listened to Jeff Wayne's musical adaptation will know. 

In my mind's eye, I wanted to know more about the crew and the bold ironclad. I found myself reinventing a small section of the story from a whole new perspective. I wondered what it would have been like to be on such a ship that cruised into legend, blazing away at the Martian abominations in defence of mankind.





The Last Days of Thunder Child.

(Science Fiction Fan's Pastiche Story.)






Have you ever enjoyed H.G. Wells War of the Worlds, an all-time classic Science Fiction story written in 1898? It tells of a Martian invasion that begins in Britain in the County of Surrey just South West of London. Close to a town called Woking. In fact, if you ever visit the town there is a statue of a Martian tripod in the shopping centre. If you have read this story, you will know of the ironclad H.M.S. Thunder Child that is forced to defend the paddle steamer full of refugees. Do you wonder what it would be like to join the crew a few days before the event? You could follow the brave men on their terrible journey around the coastline and up the River Blackwater to Maldon and the final confrontation with three Martian tripods?



From Mars, the meteorites shot through space bound for Earth and conquest over all life forms that live there. The Martians were unfeeling towards mankind as humans are to sheep or other lesser creatures.



The meteorites land in fields and woodland. After a time, there emerges the terror of mankind. Colossal tripods, before which, humanity flees as the onslaught of the fighting machines begins. People are destroyed by heat rays and black toxic gas. Those that survive are forced to flee the pursuing devastation.



Aboard H.M.S. Thunder Child, the crew are blissfully unaware of the savage terror. Only the new Captain knows and only upon the journey, at sea, do the crew begin to learn the unbelievable news from semaphore stations.



Fear grips the population and hordes of refugees make for the coastline to flee the country. Their world is gone and only death and destruction follows. Ships of all nations and sizes must aid the mass evacuation...




Amid all of this, the mighty little ironclad, H.M.S. Thunder Child must play her role to the full and rely on the bravery of a small crew.


War of the Worlds pastiche
Britain in 1898.

The Martians really came and this is the alternative history of that dreadful event. Join the crew of HMS Thunder Child as she prepares to embark upon her doomed voyage, before her demise and courageous battle with three Martian tripod fighting machines at the River Blackwater in the county of Essex, England, UK.

Captain McIntosh and his brave crew can hardly believe the semaphore messages sent from the shore stations. The news is so uncanny and fantastic that none can accept the stories of Martians falling from space. All hands of HMS Thunder Child must keep a dreadful appointment with destiny as they cruise towards the dire outcome awaiting them.

The War of the Worlds first terrified audiences in book form in 1898, as the first-person narrative tells us the adventures of an unnamed protagonist and his brother as Martians invade Earth. But there were other characters with stories to tell.


C. A. Powell delves into H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds and offers fans of the original novel a brand new perspective on the invasion of Earth. In The Last Days of Thunder Child, we see this classic through the eyes of the Royal Navy crew members of HMS Thunder Child and the land-based Ministry of Defence. With this pastiche novel, you will have an even greater understanding and appreciation of the original classic. 

Find out what happens and read: The Last Days of Thunder Child By C.A. Powell






Prepare for the voyage of HMS Thunder Child as she cruises towards her destiny.







What makes a book what it is?

Modern-day Science fiction has a lot of things that the writers of the past had to quite literally makeup. Computers, communication devices and space travel are all real. Somehow, though the creativity of the writers of science fiction today still pushes the boundaries of imagination that few other genres manage to do. However, it is not just science fiction, or more likely science fact, writing that has pushed the envelope when it comes to good storytelling.

Fantasy stories such as Harry Potter and Percy Jackson have much of what Tolkien wrote about in the Lord of the Rings and that C S Lewis wrote about in the impressive and still hugely popular Narnia novels. Readers now as they did then need escapism, something to take them out of the humdrum or stressed out world we live in. Readers need to somehow believe that there is perhaps an alternative existence and hope they can close their eyes and wake up in a dream.

Jules Verne took readers on amazing adventures, under the sea and to the centre of the earth as well as to the moon. His stories were born out of a love for adventure and travel. The only one of his adventures that has not become a reality is to the centre of the earth. But still, we have not sent a man to the core as yet. The best writers tell stories of adventures in places in faraway places with the impossible being just part of the story in the fact that it is just or maybe somehow could happen. Modern-day Clive Cussler stories have much of the adventure contained in a Jules Verne story. True they are aimed at a more mature audience but for the reader, his books are believable escapism with a perfect blend of possible, impossible and who knows if it could be possible. Raise the Titanic? It has been done with other ships so why not?

But what is it that makes a writer write a book that enthrals a generation of readers?

The popularity of Narnia and Middle Earth are still as popular today as they were in the mid-1900s when they were conceived and written. There was something in them that made each page come alive and something that is as real today as it was then.

The reason why the books were and are so popular is adversity. When Tolkien’s and Lewis’ books were written, the world was in a state of turmoil. The depression was ending when Tolkien published the Hobbit in 1937 and World War II had just ended five years prior to the publication of the Lion, the Witch and the wardrobe. People needed cheering up, times for most people times were hard, there was no TV, cinema was a treat and money was scarce for many forms of entertainment.

Books and reading became an affordable and enjoyable pastime that has remained today. Modern books in paperback or hardback outstrip sales of e-books despite the convenience of a Kindle but nonetheless, books are still popular. It could be said that many modern authors are heavily influenced by other writers and this is not surprising and despite this great stories still emerge even if there is a hint that we may have heard the story before.

 Yes, we live in a tough world but it is nowhere near as dark and worrisome as it was in times past. The world is not at war, countries are not being invaded and while the economy could be better, it is nowhere near as bad as it was in the 1930s. Writers of science fiction, fantasy and adventure have to dig a little deeper to find their inspiration and make a book a best seller, they need to find some adversity that the world can understand.

People want to read, they want good stories, and there are many great and lesser-known authors today who enthral readers.  Harry Potter did a good job of getting kids to read and for many struggling writers the story behind J K Rowling gave them the courage to write. The reason for the success of Harry Potter was that it was a story like nothing before. Witches, Wizards and Muggles took the world by storm and the success is a story all on its own. It worked because of originality, some crazy almost believable storyline and it stretched the imagination of the reader to the perfect sweet spot.

Other authors can inspire writers and always will but it takes some form of adversity to create an original best seller. J K Rowling had long train journeys and nothing to do and Harry, Ron and Hermione popped into her mind. Rowling’s characters and the theme was unique, other writers try to “write a book like” another author, Rowling didn’t.  While a story may well be enjoyable, it is perhaps a little predictable, the sense of trying to be a Mark Twain, Edgar Rice Burrows or C S Lewis and the fact someone is aspiring to this level is just too difficult to ignore. Those who imitate a style or rewrite the same or similar plot will sell, the escapism will always work but for success originality is the key, taking readers to new places in between the pages of their minds.

Writers over the generations have taken readers to places they could never imagine and places they would be too scared to imagine. Edgar Rice Burroughs took readers into the Jungle Tarzan and to Mars with John Carter, two extremes that were and still are in many cases impossible to live in reality. His stories are still popular and fresh today.

Not many people will know that Robert E. Howard a writer of what is commonly called Pulp Fiction died at the age of 30 in 1936.  Howard was a prolific author of many books and stories that inspire thousands of authors every day.  Howard took people out of this world in some of the most well-read and well-known stories and themes specialising in Sword and Sorcery stories and ending his final years before his suicide writing westerns. Howard’s influence today in much of the fantasy and adventure stories is close to impossible to deny, he was a master who died too soon.

The combination of the influence of other writers and some form of adversity makes for good reading. If a reader can relate and the imagination is pushed into a sweet spot of almost real readers will turn the page. It is hard to think where we would be today without the writers of the past who have blazed a trail for the writers of tomorrow who dare to dream and then put it down in words.





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