OTD in 1938, Orson Welles broadcasts his radio play of H.G. Wells’s ‘The War of the Worlds’, causing anxiety in some of the audience in the United States. No one would have believed in the last years of the 19th century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied. Yet across the gulf of space, intellects vast and cool & unsympathetic regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.

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With H.G. Wells’ other novels, The War of the Worlds was one of the first and greatest works of science fiction ever to be written. Even long before man had learned to fly, H.G. Wells wrote this story of the Martian attack on England. These unearthly creatures arrive in huge cylinders, from which they escape as soon as the metal is cool. The first falls near Woking and is regarded as a curiosity rather than a danger until the Martians climb out of it and kill many of the gaping crowd with a Heat-Ray. These unearthly creatures have heads four feet in diameter and colossal round bodies, and by manipulating two terrifying machines – the Handling Machine and the Fighting Machine – they are as versatile as humans and at the same time insuperable. They cause boundless destruction. The inhabitants of the Earth are powerless against them, and it looks as if the end of the World has come. But there is one factor which the Martians, in spite of their superior intelligence, have not reckoned on. It is this which brings about a miraculous conclusion to this famous work of the imagination

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