Saturday, October 29, 2011

The War of the Worlds Martian fighting machine battling with the warship Thunder Child

October 30, 1938, Orson Welles broadcasts his radio play of H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds.

The War of the Worlds Martian fighting machine battling with the warship Thunder Child.

To their intelligence, it may be, the giant was even such another as themselves. The Thunder Child fired no gun, but simply drove full speed towards them. It was probably her not firing that enabled her to get so near the enemy as she did. They did not know what to make of her. One shell, and they would have sent her to the bottom forthwith with the Heat-Ray.

She was steaming at such a pace that in a minute she seemed halfway between the steamboat and the Martians—a diminishing black bulk against the receding horizontal expanse of the Essex coast .

Suddenly the foremost Martian lowered his tube, and discharged a canister of the black gas at the ironclad. It hit her larboard side, and glanced off in an inky jet, that rolled away to seaward, an unfolding torrent of black smoke, from which the ironclad drove clear. To the watchers from the steamer, low in the water and with the sun in their eyes, it seemed as though she was already among the Martians.

They saw the gaunt figures separating and rising out of the water as they retreated shoreward, and one of them raised the camera-like generator of the Heat-Ray. He held it pointing obliquely downward, and a bank of steam sprang from the water at its touch. It must have driven through the iron of the ship's side like a white-hot iron rod through paper.

A flicker of flame went up through the rising steam, and then the Martian reeled and staggered. In another moment he was cut down, and a great body of water and steam shot high in the air. The guns of the Thunder Child sounded through the reek, going off one after the other, and one shot splashed the water high close by the steamer, ricocheted towards the other flying ships to the north, and smashed a smack to matchwood.

But no one heeded that very much. At the sight of the Martian's collapse, the captain on the bridge yelled inarticulately, and all the crowding passengers on the steamers's stern shouted together. And then they yelled again. For, surging out beyond the white tumult drove something long and black, the flames streaming from its middle parts, its ventilators and funnels spouting fire.

She was alive still; the steering gear, it seems, was intact and her engines working. She headed straight for a second Martian, and was within a hundred yards of him when the Heat-Ray came to bear. Then with a violent thud, a blinding flash, her decks, her funnels, leapt upward. The Martian staggered with the violence of her explosion, and in another moment the flaming wreckage, still driving forward with the impetus of its pace, had struck him and crumpled him up like a thing of cardboard. My brother shouted involuntarily. A boiling tumult of steam hid everything again.

The War of the Worlds Martian fighting machine battling with the warship Thunder Child

Drawing by the Brazilian artist Henrique Alvim CorrĂȘa. Henrique Alvim Correia. Description: Brazilian painter, draughtsman and illustrator. Date of birth / death: January 30, 1876 - July 7, 1910. Location of birth / death: Rio de Janeiro - Brussels. Work location: Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Brussels, Lisboa.

This Image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1923 are copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1923 are now in the public domain.

Henrique Alvim Correa [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This file is also in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris) in this case Henrique Alvim CorrĂȘa (January 30, 1876 - July 7, 1910), and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from December 31 of that year.

TEXT CREDIT: The War of the Worlds Volume 3274 of Collection of British Authors: Tauchnitz Edition. Author: Herbert George Wells. Publisher: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1898. Original from: the University of Virginia. Digitized: Sep 4, 2009. Length: 288 pages. Subjects: Fiction › Science Fiction › General, Fiction / Science Fiction / General Fiction / Science Fiction / Space Opera.

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