The Last Days of Thunder Child

The Last Days of Thunder Child
War of the Worlds - spin off adaptation novel.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Writing My Own Science Fiction Adaptation Story.


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How the seed of an idea germinated.
I've always wanted to view The War of the Worlds from another perspective. My new vision would remain in the same steampunk realm of Victorian Britain. I admired that era in history. I thought it would be exciting for a reader to see the apocalyptic world through another pair of eyes.
Many of us fantasise about escaping into a domain of science fiction. I still live in a schoolboy’s imagination where I can go on grand adventures and battle mythical Titans. Of course, I always defeat them. I also enjoy historical stories. The feel of being in the land of yesterday is stimulating. From an early age, my mind has always been full of fantasies. I was captivated by the notion of dystopian lands or themes with a turbulent and exciting past.
The War of the Worlds fits into sci-fi and historical genres. I freely admit to being biased towards this story on account of it being British based. I'm compelled by much that has a British feel. I also know there are fabulous and wonderful stories from across the world that deserve applause.
I remember enjoying The Day of the Triffids and The Chrysalids. Both the novels were written by John Wyndham. I read them during my English literature course. On the historical front, I had fallen madly in love with Lorna Doone. I thought R.D. Blackmore's compelling story was a joy. I never wanted it to end. I wanted to be John Ridd winning the affections of the fairest lady of my fantasy.
In my English literature class, the teacher (Mrs Foster) would get each pupil to read allowed for a few pages before selecting another student to continue. Gradually, we developed confidence as we read aloud. My English teacher was very good at encouraging us to be bold and clear when reading. Those pupils that were slow at first, began to read with seasoned ease after a short time. Sometimes the teacher would stop and explain issues that the author was trying to get across. Mrs Foster was also very articulate. When she spoke to the class we listened. She had total control of all us adolescent boys. Many of us fancied ourselves as Jack the lad. But not in Mrs Foster’s class. She was not a strict teacher and was never given to scolding us. She did not have to. This was because she had that infectious enthusiasm to get us into the books. It worked. We all lived inside the pages and chapters. We were encouraged to dive into these worlds and escape. My adrenalin would soar. My imagination knew no bounds. I wanted to live in a world of danger.
I’m certain the idea of writing my own story germinated in those English literature classes back in the seventies decade. A happy time when I was at my secondary school. It left me with a love of books. When I started work in the city of London, I always looked forward to commuting. I would have my book to read going to, and coming home from work.
When I first read The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, I started to imagine how I might be a Victorian British sailor from the time of 1898. This occurred when reading a particular episode that compelled me to dwell on the incident for a long time afterwards. Perhaps a little on the obsessive side. I was on board the HMS Thunder Child. I could see H.G. Wells’ horrendous portrayal of Britain in panic. The alien fighting machines shooting heat rays and blanketing the conquered land with sterilizing black smoke. In reality, I was sixteen and going work in London. The year was 1977 and the train was rolling along. I was a low-grade filling clerk in a Re-insurance company. I watched underwriters dealing with Re-insurance brokers from Lloyds. Yet I wanted to be sixteen and in the Victorian Royal Navy of 1898. In this illusion, I was low-grade sea cadet watching the powers that be deal with this uncanny situation. A surreal world where giant Martian contraptions stalked the Earth.


I wanted to know more about the HMS Thunder Child and her plucky crew. The intrepid ship was a monument of heroism. The most valiant vessel on Earth. Mythical, but real in my mind's eye. A reader could live in that danger and return to a cosy chair afterwards. How did the Victorian ship arrive at such a circumstance? Perhaps the crew had never seen such things as the Martian fighting machines. The HMS Thunder Child would be at sea. News of such alien abominations would come via strange semaphore messages. Imagine the surreal information coming from the shore stations. Invaders from Mars striding about and destroying the entire fabric of human civilization. Would you believe such outrageous fixations? The HMS Thunder Child would be alive with speculation and disbelief.
As readers of the original story, we would know these sailors would be destined to confront three Martian fighting machines. The huge monster tripods that will wade into the River Blackwater to attack a paddle steamer full of fleeing refugees. The small ironclad would steam to the rescue. The coal-driven engines would move her between the Martians and the escaping boat. The HMS Thunder Child against the monumental three. Each abomination, a colossal edifice of battle. That would be the final goal of the story. Everything must lead to the climactic conflict. The small section of the original story. A pastiche to lure an avid science fiction reader.

When the time was right.
One day, I decided I would go further with my pretence. I would go aboard the legendary ship and invite others who might wish to come along. I would write a pastiche story dedicated to The H.M.S. Thunder Child. I began to imagine the captain and other ranks. I looked through history books and decided the ship would look like HMS Devastation. I knew my aim for the story. I had an end before the adventure had started. Now I needed a beginning and a compelling storyline between start and finish. There were so many rudimentary ideas. With these basic concepts, I begin to write things down. As I did, more thoughts began to manifest and soon my appetite for the tale began to take control.

I Needed a New Perspective.
The classic sci-fi tale could be shown from a new and unique perspective. I wanted to re-create the dystopian world of Victorian Britain in chaos. Being on board the HMS Thunder Child would be a magnificent way to offer a fly on the wall account. Watching from the sea as though one could be a spectator from a safe distance. A new viewpoint through the eyes of the Royal Navy crew. The pastiche novel had to convey a greater understanding and appreciation of the original classic.

The Pastiche Project

Step1The Tale Begins to Develop
The book was an enjoyable venture and many fine ideas fell into place. The delightful indulgence took the best part of a year. A little here and there. It became my hobby. A forbearance that took up much of my free time. A tolerance that I easily allowed for myself. It was like being an artist trying to paint a landscape. Except my panorama was with words and it could move. The whole endeavour was wonderful and very absorbing. Gradually I got to the finishing line of my written work contribution.
Step 2. The Next Phase of the Story’s Creation
No matter how pleased we should be with ourselves we must stop and think. We are pleased because we have got all of our wonderful words down on a canvas of creation. We must get a liberated assessment. Especially if the writer is an independent author. There will be many mistakes and a good critic will wade in and unpick every sentence.
I knew that the next step for my story would require proper editing. I put my project before a board of qualified editors. They began to bid for the editorial work of my story. These bids came with an overall price and some sample pages to show what the editorial work looked like.
Step 3Choosing Your Freelance Editor
It is important to know that good online editorial agencies have a list of qualified editors. These people must have all the relevant qualifications. The agencies will check these and only recruit freelance editors that make the grade. It is important to know that there are a lot of predators out there.
I selected an editor after some sample pages came back. There were many that were good and choosing from so many fine bids was hard. I was spoilt for choice. Then the professional editorial work followed, chapter by chapter. There were many errors that I had missed time and again. I was pleased that I had accomplished the written work but realised I could not see the wood for the trees. Each page seemed to be a sea of red. Nothing escaped scrutiny. I got my page in red and the edited one side by side. Although I was shocked by the many errors, when I read the newly edited version, I was thrilled by how better the story flowed. I would advise any independent author to get good editorial work done.
Step 4I Needed a Front Cover to Capture One’s Imagination.
After the editorial work came the front cover. Again, there were so many artists that put in bids for this work. There were lots of wonderful samples. I felt guilty having to choose one and reject so many other fabulous bids. I think the completion of the cover design caused my excitement to reach a new and undreamed of height. This was it. The moment had arrived.
Finally.
My adaptation was done. A science fiction and alternative history pastiche of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. The Martians did fall from the sky in 1898. I could offer science fiction lovers a chance to join the crew of the HMS Thunder Child as she embarked upon her incredible voyage. Walk her decks before her courageous battle with three Martian tripod fighting machines. An action that takes place on the River Blackwater in the county of Essex, England, the UK. The golden age of Queen Victoria's Empire. An alternative British Empire in a more dreadful circumstance. An empire that is vanquished within days.


Paperback or Kindle

The USA = The Last Days of Thunder Child.
The UK   = The Last Days of Thunder Child


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