The original science fiction story of the Victorian age was H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. It terrified readers across the globe. It was a sensation that captured people’s imagination. Even today we love to read the story set in Victorian Britain during the height of empire. A nation consumed by its own vanity and self-belief that there could be no other colossus apart from the mighty British Empire of industry and commerce. Everything paled to insignificance. Britain was great and there could be nothing greater.
Other empires of other nations had existed once. They did the same thing. Empires rise and fall throughout history. However, we Brits never dreamed or even indulged such an idea that it could happen to us. That was until a writer boiled the notion in words – prepared it and served such a feast upon an unsuspecting audience as a science fiction story.
This seller of dreams and notions was Herbert George Wells – a product of that vain empire. He decided to destroy the global domain in his imagination and every reader too. The story is a poignant now as it was back then over a hundred years ago.
An unforeseen enemy that made a mighty empire’s huge navy redundant. For the foes were from Mars and they fell from the sky directly onto the soil of the kingdom’s heart. It was an era of steam and steel culminating in great feats of engineering. Iron ships with great guns that floated and traversed the seven seas of planet Earth. No one had considered outer space and extraterrestrial life.
Very rapidly our glorious kingdom falls into chaos and dystopia. Refugees are fleeing in their millions before the onslaught of the alien monstrosities. Death and destruction are reaped upon Britain as one by one, cities and towns fall before the Martian advance. In one part of the story, we are presented with a minor diversion whereupon a Victorian ship confronts three of the alien fighting machines in the River Backwater of Essex, England. One small token of the failing empire’s might, but we get nothing more than a short-lived victory. A moment of hope and triumph dashed in a valiant confrontation. The incident is over before it can be properly digested, but there remains a faint echo of hope and resolve.
What would the crew of the battleship have been like?
How would they have come upon such a situation?
At sea, how could the crew imagine what the mainland was enduring?
How could they believe such things were so?
Martians were not real!
The British Empire could not fall!
Read the adaptation story set in the age of iron and steam. Look through the eyes of the disbelieving crew as they cruise around the coastline and receive nothing more than semaphore messages that are so fantastically outrageous, none can believe the reports.
Interest grows by the hour as the determined crew of HMS Thunder Child cruise closer to their ominous destiny – a reckoning with three alien fighting machines from Mars.
Read the adaptation science fiction story set during the age of iron and steel: The Last Days of Thunder Child.